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 find the qualifications, credentials and current status of every College member on a public register at Find a Teacher. (Try it—it’s a pretty neat tool.)
- There’s information readily available if you want to know more about the ethical and practice standards that guide Ontario teachers.
- If you have a concern about a teacher, there is an excellent resource on their website that explains what to do.
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 subjects are your strongest/most challenging? Why do you think that is?
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!
Follow Andrea at a peek inside the fishbowl