a peek inside the fishbowl

17 Nov, 2015

Parents! How much do you know about the Ontario College of Teachers? (Sponsored*)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Fishbowl patrons

This is probably the best time of year to take a moment and reflect on where our kids are at in terms of their education. Post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas craziness… at this point the kids have had ample time to settle into to school routine, get to know their teachers, and re-learn a few things they may have forgotten over the summer. (e.g. ALL THE MATH.)

And so, we have The Talk. I try not to frame it as The Talk, just gently bring school-related topics up at the dinner table. As a parent, I want to know what my kids are learning and whether they are thriving. Are they getting what they need? Could they use some additional help? Are they bored, inspired, excited about learning?

It’s more than just asking “how was school today” too, right?

Here’s where I have to confess that we are not as hyper-involved as many parents out there about what my kids are doing at school. First, we aren’t involved in parent-teacher councils. Second, our kids do their homework without direct supervision (although we do hear about their grades after the fact). This being said, I was very glad to find out that there are resources out there available to me, and in some particularly important areas of our kids’ school lives at that.

So, how much do you know about the Ontario College of Teachers? It turns out I had a lot to learn, and there’s a lot of information I didn’t even know was out there.

The Ontario College of Teachers regulates the teaching profession. It’s the body that licenses our public school teachers, sets professional and ethical standards, and approves teacher education programs. Ultimately it exists for the benefit of our children. The College also helps set the standard for great teaching practices by making sure teachers have the right tools in hand.

Good stuff for parents to know!

You can also sign up to receive The Standard, a College e-newsletter and read some great profiles in Professionally Speaking, the College’s official magazine. (Basically, tons of stuff I had no idea was even there before now.)

So if you’re going to have The Education Talk with your kids around the dinner table tonight, how about posing your questions this way:

Tell me more about what you’re learning right now.

  • What’s cool/exciting/boring?
  • What subjects are your strongest/most challenging? Why do you think that is?

Sarah in the playground

I also like to ask my kids to rate things on a scale of 1-10. It’s more likely to get them talking and expressing opinions, which is sometimes hard to do, especially when they’re young.

I’m secretly hoping all of this will give me a bit of extra information ahead of the next parent-teacher meeting. It’s definitely worth a look!

* This post is sponsored by the Ontario College of Teachers, who want parents to know more about the great resources on the College’s website!


2 Responses to "Parents! How much do you know about the Ontario College of Teachers? (Sponsored*)"

1 | Mathematix

November 17th, 2015 at 1:50 pm


I’m glad you raised this. We are for the first time struggling with a problem teacher. Our son was always an A student. This year I gave him some room to do his own homework (Gr 9) and to take some ownership for results. He recently broke down and told me – in tears – that he just didn’t understand anything in math and that the teacher speaks like he didn’t care if anyone was listening or understanding. The whole class is stressed and struggling. Should I raise it with the teacher this week (Teacher night on Thurs)? Or just go (anonymously) to the principal directly? I don’t want hell for my child if the teacher is not professional.

2 | andrea tomkins

November 17th, 2015 at 4:12 pm


That’s a tough one! Personally I would voice my concerns with the teacher first. If you’re not getting satisfactory answers – or a good feeling about it – then move up the chain of command. It’d be interesting to know if the whole class is truly struggling, or if it’s your son’s perception. Maybe the principal can compare the class average with another grade nine math class?

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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