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Ontarians describe their favourite teacher in one word — 164 ways

October 04 2016

The Ontario College of Teachers releases results of its Just One Word campaign to celebrate World Teachers’ Day

October 4, 2016 – Inspiring (15%), caring (7%) and kind (5.5%). Ontarians used these words, or derivatives, repeatedly to describe their favourite teacher — that one individual who encouraged them to work harder, reach further and achieve more.

The results are in from the Ontario College of Teachers’ Just One Word (#just1word) social media campaign, which aims to help celebrate World Teachers’ Day on October 5.

“When we think of words and teachers, we immediately think of the ethics — care, respect, trust and integrity — that reflect all of our members,” says Michael Salvatori, OCT, Chief Executive Officer and Registrar for the Ontario College of Teachers. “Our members are amongst the best in the world and we wanted to honour them by having their students — past and present — share stories about them. An inspired student never forgets.”

Recognized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), World Teachers’ Day is an international celebration of educators. The occasion recognizes that teachers must be empowered to build quality education and sustainable societies.

“We’re proud to add our voice to strengthen the global conversation on quality education,” says College Council Chair Angela De Palma, OCT. “This campaign reminds us that everything we do as teachers can have a positive effect on the lives of our students in the classroom and beyond, in the moment and for years after.” 

Campaign highlights

Other popular descriptors include: encouraging (4.9%), compassionate (3.2%) and motivating (2.8%). Passionate (2.5%) and awesome (2.2%) were also top of mind. The results are varied because Ontarians had so many positive things to say. More than 700 people commented. However, many respondents felt that Just One Word wasn’t enough and instead, shared longer, more detailed stories. Here are a few randomly selected comments:

  • “I’d say she was caring and always believed in me :) She was one of those teachers who truly loved to teach and I’m just so thankful I got to be her student. We still talk to this day almost 11 years later.”

- Rebecca Robinson 

  • “He was my music teacher back in high school. He saw a raw talent and nurtured it. He was dedicated and fun, but didn’t take no for an answer. He pushed us all and made us all into amazing musicians. I thank him for his kindness and his encouragement. He helped me to believe in myself. I cannot find just one word as one word does not suffice.”

- Kimbo Ann 

  • “Inspirational is the word I would use. It was nearly 50 years ago, but he was the very best teacher I have ever had and was the first to instill in me the idea that learning could be fun and interesting. He inspired me to take a positive approach to learning and to other things in life. I owe him everything just for that.”

- Jurgen Braunohler 

About the campaign

Using only social media, the College asked Ontarians to describe their favourite teacher (past or present) in Just One Word between September 15 and 28. The results are being shared via the College’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest channels and on its website before and after World Teachers’ Day (October 5). All creative can be seen at oct.ca.

Read about more inspiring teachers by visiting the Remarkable Teachers section of our magazine Professionally Speaking.


The Ontario College of Teachers licenses, governs and regulates the profession of teaching in the public interest. It sets standards of practice and ethical standards, conducts disciplinary hearings and accredits teacher education programs affecting its more than 243,000 members in publicly funded schools and institutions across Ontario. The College is the largest self-regulatory body for the teaching profession in Canada.

This news release is available in French.

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For more information: 

Brian Jamieson
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Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 655

Olivia Yu
416-961-8800, ext. 620
Toll-free 1-888-534-2222, ext. 620

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