Professionalism updated February 23, 2011
Occasional Teachers' Responsibilities
As an occasional teacher, your appearance and demeanour should present a positive role model to students. You should maintain a professional appearance at all times by dressing "business casual" (NO blue jeans! NO shorts!). You are responsible for the safety and education of the students in your care. You are to assume the normal, regular supervision duties and workload of the teacher you are replacing.
The Education Act
The Education Act and regulations that govern regular teachers cover occasional teachers, as well. This Act is the main statute governing elementary and secondary level education in Ontario.
Excerpts from the Education Act, Regulation 264
It is the duty of a teacher and a temporary teacher:
a) to teach diligently and faithfully the classes or subjects assigned to the teacher by the principal;
b) to encourage the pupils in the pursuit of learning;
c) to inculcate by percept and example respect for religion and the principles of Judaeo-Christian morality and the highest regard for truth, justice, loyalty, love of country, humanity, benevolence, sobriety, frugality, purity, temperance and all other virtues;
d) to assist in developing co-operation and co-ordination of efforts among the members of the staff of the school;
e) to maintain, under the direction of the principal, proper order and discipline in the teacher's classroom and while on duty in the school and on the school ground.
In addition to the duties assigned under the Education Act, the responsibilities of daily occasional teachers include:
1. Arrive early as you are required to be in the classroom to receive students 15 minutes prior to the 1st scheduled class of the day and 5 minutes prior to the 1st scheduled class in the afternoon. Upon your arrival, please report to the office and identify yourself and the assignment. In case the original assignment is no longer available, you should be re-assigned other occasional teaching duties (Article 15.01). If this does not occur - DO NOT GO HOME! - call the Dufferin-Peel Occasional Teachers' Bargaining Unit (OTBU) office immediately.
Arriving early gives you an opportunity to become familiar
with the classroom(s), teacher's plans, additional pertinent
information, school facilities, and have any questions
answered. The secondary school's office staff should provide
you with keys for the washroom and classroom(s), assignment sheet, and
a folder/binder with the teacher's plans, relevant school phone numbers
and procedures (i.e. fire, lockdown, Scantron attendance cards,
etc.). Check the teacher's mailbox for plans, attendance
cards, etc. before going to the classroom.
2. Locate the classroom, workroom, staff washroom, staff room, and other rooms you may need through the day. A school map may be provided to you or there may be one in the classroom with the teacher's plans.
3. Upon arriving to the classroom, locate the teacher's day plans, a class list, attendance, a seating plan, the school's occasional teacher information sheet(s) [entry/dismissal, inclement weather, planning time, lunch, fire drill, and lockdown procedures, bus students, special students in the classroom, etc.], duty/on-call schedules, instructional resources/manuals and notes about special students in terms of potential medical or behavioural information. If you can not find the plans or information you require, inform the office immediately, or in the secondary schools, ask the Department Head about Emergency plans.
4. Take the time before school starts to familiarize yourself with the classroom:
- read the teacher's day plans and perform any necessary task that will help you to execute the lessons to be taught, for example, photocopying, reading information in a textbook and/or subject manual. You are expected to follow the teacher's plans as closely as possible. Sometimes it may be necessary to make amendments to that daily plan because of time constraints. If you do have to make an amendment to the plan, ensure that you leave a polite, factual note for the absent teacher.
- follow the established classroom routines, rules and expectations (where to meet students at arrival times, prayers, and procedures for attendance, washroom, getting drinks, lunch, recess and snacks) as closely as possible in order to maintain consistency for the students.
- read any information left which may identify the names of students with special needs (severe allergies, asthma, etc.). It is a good idea to identify those students as soon as they enter the classroom. Make sure you are aware of the procedures in regards to these students. If a student needs medication, make sure it is given to the student by a school administrator/designate. You should also inquire regarding any side effects to the medication.
- review any behaviour plans that exist to ensure you maintain consistency for those students involved.
- review the in-school support program and identify the names of students with high needs who require support such as special education and ESL. Ensure that you know when students are leaving the classroom, for what purpose, to where and for how long by having a sign-out/in sheet and having the students indicate the times.
- please ensure you know how to use the school telephone system from the room.
5. Introduce yourself to the staff members working near you, or in the same division. You may want to find out if there are any special events happening in the school, such as fire drill, school assembly, or pizza day.
6. Secondary students who are late 1st period must present a
note from home (to be attached to teacher's plans), but must report to
the office for an admit slip, if late after 9:00 a.m. (times may vary
in schools). During other instructional periods, note the
student's name and the time the admit slip covers.
7. Notify the office of students being sent to the office for such reasons as illness or discipline, or if the class is going outside for gym. For secondary, leave a note on the board so late students can locate the class.
8. Report any accident or unusual occurrence to the Principal/designate or office. Keep a diary for yourself, as well.
9. It is Board policy for all visitors, including parents/guardians, to report to the office. The school office will notify you if a student is leaving the school before dismissal time. Secondary students must have a release slip issued from the office for appointments such as guidance, or to be dismissed for the day. If a visitor (parent/guardian) arrives at the classroom door without going to the office first, you should direct them to the office before allowing the student to leave the classroom.
10. Use your planning time to prepare lessons to be taught, and/or mark any work assigned for the day, unless otherwise directed by the teacher. In secondary, mark work as requested by the teacher. Time permitting, you could also start to write the note for the absent teacher. (see #13 below).
11. End your day on a positive note. Ensure that students fill out day planners with homework expectations, distribute newsletters or any notes that need to go home, and leave the room the way you found it (board erased, chairs tucked/placed on desks/stacked in room, ensure desks and floors are free of garbage).
12. Supervise students at all times. DO NOT LEAVE STUDENTS UNATTENDED! They are your responsibility until they are dismissed at the end of the school day and have left the classroom.
13. Document and keep a copy of incidents that transpire during the day which seems even slightly out of the ordinary. Keep your notations to the facts and write down the essential Ws - who, what, when, where, why, and witnesses.
14. Leave a positive, factual note of how the day went. The note to the classroom teacher may include:
- anecdotal comments about the day and the students;
- a list of students who were helpful;
- a list of students who were absent or late; in secondary, record the late student's name, the time period the admit slip covers and the reason(s) cited for absence or lateness;
- make reference and attach any notes sent in by parents/guardians';
- a list of students who brought in money and for what;
- indicate what work was completed and what still needs to be finished;
- if you were unable to follow a prepared lesson provide an explanation as to why and a copy of the lesson you gave;
- indicate material with which students had difficulty;
- indicate work you corrected;
- if you did not receive the scheduled planning time, indicate this in your note;
- an explanation of any changes to the daily plan/schedule (for example, unexpected assembly, fire drill, lockdown);
- date the note and sign your name (You may want to keep a copy of the note for future reference).
15. Remember any information received regarding teachers and
students should be treated as confidential.
16. Please leave the room clean and tidy, the way you found it. Return AV equipment to its place before leaving for the day. In secondary, doors should be locked and all folders returned to the teacher's mailbox, unless requested otherwise by the teacher or office.
17. Return all keys, money collected, etc. to the school office and say goodbye to the school secretary and/or administrators as a courtesy.
Duty to Report any Abuse and/or Neglect
Amendments to the Child and Family Services Act requires that
any person who performs professional or official duties with respect to
children is obligated, under the law, to report to the Catholic
Children’s Aid Society any abuse and/or neglect – or suspected abuse
and/or neglect – of those children.
That means that our members are required by law to report directly to the Catholic Children’s Aid Society. As an occasional teacher, you should seek assistance from the school administrator if you suspect any abuse or neglect of a student or if a student discloses it to you. Failure to report could result in a conviction subject to a fine of up to $1000.