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Demystifying Education Acronyms Part 1: A New Teacher's Mini Glossary

Demystifying Education Acronyms Part 1: A New Teacher's Mini Glossary

Starting your teaching journey can be a thrilling experience, but it can also feel slightly overwhelming, especially with the number of acronyms thrown your way. In the world of education, acronyms are a language of their own, and understanding them is crucial to navigating the profession effectively. For new teachers or soon-to-be educators, we've put together a mini glossary of some common acronyms to help you get started.

  1. OCT - Ontario College of Teachers:

    • The Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) is a pivotal institution in the world of education in Ontario, Canada. As a new teacher, you'll encounter this acronym everywhere - in job postings, qualification requirements, and professional conversations.
    • The OCT is the regulatory body responsible for overseeing and regulating the teaching profession in Ontario. After completing your teacher's college program, you'll submit your documentation to the OCT to obtain your teaching license in the province.
    • OCT membership requires an annual fee, which helps ensure that you remain certified. Your qualification and professional status can be verified through the OCT's website, where any qualified teacher in Ontario is searchable by their full name.
    • The OCT website is your go-to resource for various aspects of your teaching career. It offers valuable information, resources, and benefits like discounts from partnering businesses for Ontario teachers.
  2. AQs - Additional Qualifications:

    • Additional Qualifications (AQs) are professional development courses available exclusively to OCT-certified teachers, emphasizing continuous professional development for teachers. These courses allow teachers to specialize in specific areas of the curriculum, enhancing their skills and qualifications.
    • Completing AQs can also advance your position on the pay grid, offering a tangible benefit to your career. They are listed on your "Certificates" page when you log into your OCT account.
    • Another form of AQs is the Additional Basic Qualifications (ABQs). ABQs enable teachers to gain additional qualifications in a particular division or subject area on top of their initial qualifications from teacher's college. For example, a teacher qualified in Intermediate/Senior can take a Junior ABQ to expand their teaching scope to grades 4 to 12.
  3. OT - Occasional Teacher:

    • Many new teachers begin their careers as Occasional Teachers (OT), also known as supply or substitute teachers. OTs step in for the regular classroom teacher when they are absent due to illness, appointments, or other reasons.
    • To become an OT, you must apply to and interview with your school board. Once selected, your name is added to the Occasional Teachers' list, signifying that you are qualified to fill in as a substitute teacher when needed.
    • Being on the OT list is a significant step in the early stages of your teaching career, and it means you've been vetted and approved by the school board to supply teach in your area. To learn more about the benefits of being an Occasional teacher you can check out this article by Professionally Speaking
  4. LTO - Long Term Occasional:

    • As an OT, you can also work towards earning a Long Term Occasional (LTO) position. An LTO occurs when a permanent teacher is off work for an extended period, such as several weeks or months. During this time, someone from the Occasional Teachers' list can step in and cover the teacher's absence.
    • Once the LTO period ends, you typically return to the OT list, but this experience can be valuable for your career development.

It is important to note that the specific processes and terminologies may vary among school boards and regions. Some boards may have an 'Eligible to Hire list,' which includes Occasional Teachers vetted and ready to be considered for permanent contract positions. To stay updated on hiring processes in your area, reach out to your school board's employee services directly.

Stay tuned for more articles where we'll delve into other commonly used acronyms in the education sector, such as "Special Ed" and the "Teacher Appraisal Process." If you've come across any other acronyms that you'd like us to explain, feel free to comment or send us a message at Your journey in education is a rewarding one, and understanding these acronyms is just one step toward a successful teaching career.

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