Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Professionalism in the age of Internet


Just wanted to share a PSA to remember it is important to be cautious about what we post on social media, about how we speak out on social media and so forth because under the CECE Code of Ethics and Standards for Practice we can all be held accountable for violating those standards by the College even when you are NOT AT WORK or engaged in your scope of practice - for example one of the CPL groups on Facebook where ECE often vent has over 14,000 members and you just do not know who is reading/watching or taking potential screenshots of the professionalism, conduct and potentially negative opinions of the field of the ECE within here. 
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If you read the CECE newsletters there was a recent disciplinary actions filed against a member of the College for behavior that happened AFTER HOURS between two colleagues who had chosen to socialize outside of work and an altercation happened that ended up being reported to the College and the person was found in violation of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and disciplined as a result.

The reality is that whether we individually agreed with it the College of ECE is something that MANY in the field, the AECEO membership and OCBCC and other early years advocates and so forth, have all advocated for DECADES to see happen - actively petitioning the government to help make it happen by changing the laws. creating new laws and providing start up funding to get it up and going as the first step in ECE being recognized as the professionals we are. Seriously as a new grad in 1990 this was the 'goal' talked about by professors and it took over 20 years from it to be an idea to be a reality - cause the change in our sector is SLOW.

Like it or not it is now been made a legal requirement under the Early Years Act to have a college that oversees and regulates the ECE sector so all the venting and complaining in the world is not going to charge the reality that the College is not going anywhere. So IMO we need to find a way to accept this as a professional requirement to practice now on top of the diploma and do our best to let the anger/negativity go because it honestly does not serve us - it creates a mindset of this field sucks where we stop remembering the things we love about the field and our WHY for entering it. 
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IMO it also does not send the message to the public that may be reading our comments or overhearing us at Starbucks that we are ARE professionals who understand the importance of having a regulatory body to protect the PUBLIC, to build their trust and respect in knowing that there is an organization that oversees the profession and holds practitioners to a higher standard than was previously exhibited and can actually prevent someone from practicing entirely. The time where substandard ECE who managed to pass college but do not have the actual skills or motivation to thrive in the sector were able to just jump from centre to centre after being fired with no way to 'communicate' to future employers that they should NOT be practicing. Sadly police checks ar NOT ENOUGH because you can not belong in this field and still not have broken a law yet that would show up on one. Sadly even references are NOT enough because no one is going to leave the person who FIRED them as a reference and most organizations have a liabity rule where they will not disclose it anyway even if they did leave them as a reference. At the end of the day THAT is the role of the College - to protect the public from substandard ECE who managed to graduate with the diploma but should not be practicing and to raise the bar on professional conduct of those it regulates. The college was NEVER about what it could actually do for US but rather how we can show the PUBLIC that we are professionals with high standards of practice who are deserving of the respect and resources of other professionals doing similar work.

Sadly we still have a LONG way to go to actually accomplish that much of which is our own fault because not enough of us are standing proud to be a member of said regulated profession and as a result most of the public does not even KNOW nor CARE that we are regulated. At the end of the day IMO if we want to be better paid and have more buy in from the public to FUND that for us we need to be doing a better job of SHOWING them everything we actually have to DO to practice ECE. Ask any parent if teachers are regulated they KNOW about the Teacher's College. The same cannot be said for US :( 
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I also know that many members, myself included, are frustrated by the cost of membership in relation to our low wages - a very valid concern and that is something we can actually work to advocate to change while still remaining professional about the College and its role in public safety. As members we VOTE on who is going to represent us on the Colleges Board - so vote for someone who is going to actively champion ways to reduce the cost of membership and create policy where membership is reduced if retired/on parental leave/ medical leave! Perhaps relocating outside of GTA to lower the enormous cost of rent and other expenses in that region is the first place to start ... living in a digital era with remote work and remote meetings there is NO reason that the College has to be located where it is and for the amount of money the College spends on RENT alone the College could BUY a property in a region of Ontario that has lower cost of living - heck they could partner with other early years to house some rental space and actually generate INCOME for the College to reinvest in keeping membership fees low and offering more to membership! 
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The requirement of the CPL is not going away either that too so it is a waste of our time and energy trying to do away with it - it has been legislated right into the Early Years Act as a duty of the College to ensure as part of its regulation of the sector that professional development is ongoing and contains an annual self assessment component, goal setting and records of learning. Every regulated body HAS continual professional learning requirements built into their oversight mandate ... so while we cannot change THOSE things we can change what those things might look like! Members have been giving lots of professional feedback about the challenges of the current CPL process being used and some of it seeming redundant and time consuming on top of already busy lives of ECE - they have already made some ammendments in 2019 based on feedback and the last communication sent out indicated that they ARE still listening and are working on another revision to the process coming this Spring. 
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Personally now that we have a membership account to log into I would LOVE to see them develop the CPL so that it can all be done VIA that membership account portal so that members donot need to stress about loosing their work or not being able to manage the formating with the downloaded copies and so forth - just create all the required components IN the membership section and record it there - and that way the College has easy access to randomly audit and there is no added expense or work to ECE called to audit having to figure out how to get their documentation either converted to digital to send via email or the cost of copying and shipping out their CPL! It is 2022 and we have 55,000 members paying $160 annually SURELY there should be money in the budget to hire a tech whiz to create a website program that could manage that! 
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Basically it comes down the the serentiy prayer "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." we need to try our best to focus our energy on the things we CAN realistically change!
You only get one childhood. Lets make sure it is full of magic, nature and discovery! 
Live, Laugh, Love
Be Totallyawake4-life

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