A matter of pride

Does “Payal Mahajan, OCT” read better than “Payal Mahajan” was my first reaction to the introduction of a professional designation/title for teaching professionals in good standing in Ontario, Canada.

Recently the Council of Ontario College of Teachers granted all certified teachers the professional title of OCT  (Ontario Certified Teacher). Professional designation for teachers is rare across most of the world, with Ontario, Canada being the only other country outside of mainland UK that confers such an honor on its teaching community. Similar recognition is also proposed for teachers in other Canadian provinces.


Professional designation is a formal recognition of the expertise and skills of a profession and provides its members greater credibility and standing in society. Coming from a regulatory body, it carries more weight and respect than an academic or a job title, indicating “accountability to the profession” while at the same time underscoring the professional distinction between the teachers and those who assist in the delivery of the curriculum in Ontario schools. For those like me, it will transform `teacher` from a common noun to a proper noun. Its significance lies in the fact that it will make the profession more respectable and distinct, with built-in assurance of quality.

The recognition of the professional standing of the teaching community in this manner sends a clear message that Canada is proud of its teachers and their contributions. It implies, in no unequivocal terms, that the person so recognized is a credible educator whose qualification and training, has been approved and whose antecedents have been verified in order to protect the interest of the vulnerable children.

For some, it may be the case of what’s in a name, a rose by any other name…..

For others like me, it is la cause de faire la fête.

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