101 Bloor Street West
Toronto ON, M5S 0A1
P: 416-961-8800
Toll Free (Ontario Only): 1-888-534-2222
F: 416-961-8822
info@oct.ca

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Questions and Answers

1. “In order to support student mental health, I believe we need to value and develop self management and self awareness capacities in our students. However, in order for this to happen we need teachers who value, and are developing those same capacities in themselves. We need to develop Educators who are emotionally and socially intelligent as well as intellectually and academically knowledgeable. My question is -would the college find value in considering the benefits of mindful awareness training for educators as a basis for developing these skills with an integrated framework that promotes well being and would it consider helping individual teachers, and especially young trainee teachers to be able to deeply value the importance of their role, and to help them develop practical ways to sustain themselves.”

Mental health is important for everyone, both teachers and students. We all have to be mindful to model appropriate wellness and destigmatize environments. Teachers’ mental health is outside of our mandate.

While we validate and support the importance of teachers’ mental health, training and other teacher education courses fall under the purview of other organizations, such as federations.

2. What's the most important challenge facing the College in the near future?

Serving the public interest and maintaining the public’s confidence are challenges we face. We are at an arm’s length distance from the government. We want to serve the public interest so that parents can be confident their children are being taught by high-calibre individuals and professionals.

We are positioned like other self-regulatory bodies. We need to be transparent and upfront with our decisions so that we can inspire public confidence. This means more than just protecting the public interest. As we go forward, especially during the governance review. Our members must understand our role and mandate and how we must act as the regulatory body. We are striving to be seen as a collective body – as one profession.

3. How does the College support the mental health of teachers?

Our mandate is to protect the public interest, which is why our advisory focuses on supporting students’ mental health. Though a healthy teacher will help students.

By releasing the advisory and sharing it through our outreach, we are planting the seed. We are getting the message out there. We are not the solution, but we can be the one that nudges teachers towards looking after their own mental health.

4. Could we have a compulsory Guidance course "once per week" from grades 1-12? Using a degreed Guidance Specialist?

We could look at this through the development and review of Additional Qualifications (AQs). There is a whole process in regulation as to when cyclical reviews happen. If there’s a need, it would be directed through the AQs.

5. What about teachers' privacy concerning health issues whether physical or mental? How do you get access to that information?

We don’t collect physical and mental health data on members.

The only time we would have data is if a member is in the Fitness to Practise or disciplinary stream. And it would need member consent to be shared. Any hearings that occur are closed to protect the privacy of the member.

6. How can we support the mental health of non-Canadian students, for example international students who attend boarding schools who often do not have counseling staff? Often, students at international schools are not minors, how do we help these young adults? What resources are available?

This doesn’t technically fall into our mandate, but as an overall profession, it is a part of our responsibility. The community at large has resources that are available, for example, students can reach out to community supports that is, Kids Help Phone.

Also, our advisory provides a tool for self-reflection, “Do I keep my communication with parents and students professional, culturally appropriate and open?”

The last part of the advisory asks OCTs to reflect who in their community can be the connector to more resources.

7. Just wanted to say that the mental health panel was very strong. Wishes it wa accessible on the YouTube channel.

You can see the recorded session of this meeting on our website.

8. What can be done about student violence against teachers and other students in the classroom?

While it is outside of our mandate, we would suggest that you refer to our Professional Advisory Responding to the Bullying of Students. It talks about how OCTs are an effective intervenor in bullying.

There are other agencies that advocate for teachers. We suggest reaching out on this subject to your employer and federation.

9. If you had more resources where would you want it to go?

If there was more money, we would direct it to continue ensuring a fair and timely judicial process for members.

101 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON, M5S 0A1, P: 416.961.8800 / Toll Free (Ontario Only): 1.888.534.2222 / F: 416.961.8822 / info@oct.ca

© 2019 Ontario College of Teachers

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