Institute to investigate more misconduct allegations
The regulatory body responsible for the teaching profession in Australia’s state of Victoria will receive broader and stronger powers following a government review. The Victorian Institute of Teachers, Victoria’s equivalent of the Ontario College of Teachers, will soon be able to investigate all allegations of teacher misconduct. Previously, the institute investigated only serious claims such as sexual misconduct.
“We look forward to working with the government to strengthen and broaden the institute’s role as a leading contemporary regulator for the teaching profession,” said Susan Halliday, the body’s chair.
The institute will also provide a public register of all teacher’s names, their qualifications and details of any disciplinary action.
Victoria’s education minister Bronwyn Pike declared: “It is vital that the Victorian Institute continues to meet community expectations and that we maintain high standards of professional conduct and expertise across the teaching profession.”
Future francophone teacher
The College, in conjunction with the Fédération de la jeunesse franco-ontarienne
(FESFO) and French-language school boards, has initiated a provincial project called Journées carrières en éducation (careers in education days) designed to address a shortage of francophone teachers in Ontario. Project facilitators offer activities to secondary schools – highlighting career opportunities in the field of education and explaining related academic requirements.
“The initiative was launched last year in Ottawa and Timmins and has proved very successful with young people because it offers a clear profile of the teaching profession,” says Francine Dutrisac, Director of French-Language Services at the College.
Both French- and English-language systems in Ontario continue to report shortages of qualified teachers capable of teaching in French.
“It’s important to show young people that we need them to ensure continuity in our communities’ education,” says Dutrisac.
Activities offered during Journées carrières en éducation are geared to Grades 11 and 12 students. In addition to receiving information about teaching, students learn about how Ontario’s education system operates, the repercussions of the shortage, and efforts – including the politique d’aménagement linguistique (PAL) – to meet these and other challenges.
Through workshops, situational exercises and games, hundreds of young Franco-Ontarians are becoming familiar with the various roles of teachers, the multiple facets of the education world and the range of opportunities available.
The goal of the initiative is to meet the system’s needs by encouraging young people to register in French-language teacher education programs in Ontario. In this province, five programs are available, both full-time and part-time, through the University of Ottawa and Laurentian University.
In October, the FESFO team of facilitators visited several regions, including Cornwall, Windsor, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Mississauga.
To remedy the francophone teacher shortage, the College is continuing its presence at job fairs in Ontario, Québec and New Brunswick. Our study on the transition to teaching has provided a better understanding of the need for staff who can teach French, or in French.
When asked the historic significance of December 7, 1941, even Canadians refer to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that provoked America’s entry into World War II. But on the same day, some 2,000 Canadian troops found themselves under siege as the Japanese attacked the British colony of Hong Kong.
The Canadians, supporting a much larger British force, helped hold off the Japanese until Christmas Day. All troops still alive when the city fell endured nearly four years of imprisonment, hunger, beatings and slave labour until the end of the war.
In 1998, after decades of lobbying, the Hong Kong vets received $24,000 each from the Canadian government for their sufferings. Now, the Hong Kong Veterans Commemorative Association is launching a student essay contest to promote awareness of this little-known episode of Canadian military history.
Students will compete in the Grades 11 and 12 or Grades 9 and 10 category for prizes from $75 to $200. Submissions are due May 7th. For details visit www.hkvca.ca.
2008 Atkinson winner
Valerie Hathaway-Warner awarded scholarship
Music, aquatics, leadership and a commitment to community have been consistent and interwoven elements in the life of Valerie Hathaway-Warner, who was named the sixth annual recipient of the Ontario College of Teachers Foundation’s Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education.
“My feet haven’t touched the ground yet,” says Hathaway-Warner of Barrie, a teacher candidate at York University. “It’s hard to contain my enthusiasm. I’m very honoured to be the recipient of the scholarship this year.”
Hathaway-Warner says she enjoys teaching and leading people of all ages who have a wide range of interests. She has been an instructor, examiner and instructor-trainer in many programs, including water safety, aquatic leadership, boat rescue, canoe instruction, CanSkate and synchronized swimming. She founded an Ontario Camping Association-accredited day camp in the 1990s to allow children in her underserviced rural community to participate in specialized recreational programs. She co-ordinated a neighbourhood outdoor skating rink in 2002–04 and organized a community event to support the local food bank for three consecutive years.
But, she reports, her true love is bringing the joy of music to young people. She formed a youth program called the All City Stage Band Project in 2005. The program ensures equitable access to music making for youth in small Ontario communities regardless of financial hardship or other barriers, such as learning disabilities. The band performs at community festivals and fundraisers for charitable organizations.
Hathaway-Warner has won numerous awards, certificates and scholarships in music, aquatics and academics. Career-wise, she’s worked in tax collection for a municipal government, developed software and, as a full-time aquatics co-ordinator, ran a community swimming program that served 8,000 children a year. She is currently CEO of her own company, Val Warner and Associates.
Given her extensive experience in leadership, training and community positions, it’s no surprise that Hathaway-Warner likes to say of her imminent new profession: “Teaching chose me.” She’s had a variety of careers and the inevitable happens. “Everywhere I’ve been, once I learn the job, I get turned into the teacher.”
Besides, teaching runs in the family. Her father is a retired elementary teacher, one brother is a secondary school teacher and the other brother, a herpetologist, instructs at the university level. Her mother is an entrepreneur.
Hathaway-Warner firmly believes in inspiring students to reach higher, apply themselves fully and attempt to improve their personal best. “We spend the majority of these children’s days with them. We have the single most significant impact on these children’s lives,” she says.
There are few spare moments in Hathaway-Warner’s life. She is the sole-supporting mother of two children, Victoria, 9, and Douglas, 7, and she is enrolled in the part-time, two-year consecutive Bachelor of Education program at York. When she graduates in 2009, she’ll be qualified to teach in the Junior and Intermediate divisions – specifically music in Grades 9 and 10.
Hathaway-Warner earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with specialized honours in music performance, from York University in 1991. She’s a percussionist with expertise in jazz, West African drumming and 20th-century composition.
Hathaway-Warner works hard and doesn’t give up, even when the going is rough. She suffered a workplace accident in 2000 and walks with a cane as a result of her leg injury. “I don’t see myself as having a disability; I have a dif-ability. My level of ability is different. In some areas I may have more ability than someone else. We all have different abilities.”
She says schools should be equity champions, providing the opportunities that all children and educators need and shining a light on areas that a student might not know about or consider, whether postsecondary education and scholarships or recreational opportunities. Such things can make a lifelong difference. “We teach the whole child, not subjects,” she emphasizes.
She thinks her experience as a parent has provided her with more insight, comprehension and empathy around the various challenges that families face.
“Education requires strength of character, nerves of steel, an unflappable sense of humour and a genuine and infectious smile that radiates from your heart and crinkles your eyes,” Hathaway-Warner says.
She looks forward to soon sharing a smile with a classroom of students and her colleagues.
Truth in advertising
UK ad banned
The UK agency responsible for training and developing new teachers has been cited for false advertising. Faced with a national teacher shortage, the Training and Development Agency for Schools created a TV ad suggesting that young teachers could earn £34,000 (approximately Cdn$70,300) a year.
The British Advertising Standards Authority said the ad – featuring a person of “youthful appearance” and a voice-over saying, “You could earn 34 grand a year” – was misleading. In fact, the average starting salary for teachers outside London is £20,133 (around Cdn$41,600).
The British Advertising Standards Authority found that the salary claim in conjunction with the visual of a young person wrongly suggested that £34,000 was the starting pay for newly qualified teachers.
For French, press play
French-language teachers starved for classroom resources will be pleased to hear of this fall’s launch for Variations francophones – the newest teaching tool to arise from a collaboration between the Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers (CASLT), TV5 Québec-Canada and the organizing committee of the 12th world congress of the Fédération internationale des professeurs de français.
Variations francophones includes 12 documentary-like video sketches in which people from across the country discuss the diversity of francophone culture in Canada, their choice to live a francophone lifestyle and contributions to the growth of the culture.
Additional materials prompt students to reflect and suggest ways to engage them in class discussions about the different ways one can be francophone. The initiative intends to build awareness and appreciation for a wide-ranging culture while motivating students to continue their French-language studies.
Hard copies of the kit will be available during CASLT workshops offered at various provincial language conferences and materials will be downloadable for free on the official web site in November 2008.
For more information visit www.caslt.org.
Students of the world
National Me to We Day
More than 8,000 student leaders from 600 schools packed Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum for the second annual National Me to We Day in October. Speakers and entertainers including Mia Farrow, Justin Trudeau, Sarah McLachlan and cast members from Degrassi: The Next Generation encouraged Grades 7 to 12 students in their roles as active global citizens. Those who could not attend were able to watch events live online at www.ctv.ca/metowe.
The 2008 event launched the Adopt a Village program and its 100-School Challenge – a year-long school-based initiative that encourages Canadian students to lead awareness activities and raise funds for school building, clean-water wells, health care and alternative income programs in developing countries.
The program’s current goal is to build 100 schools in Kenya, Ecuador, Sierra Leone, India, Sri Lanka and rural China.
Me to We Days in 2009 will be September 28 (Vancouver) and October 5 (Toronto). Registration begins in March.
For information on how your students can adopt a village, visit we.freethechildren.com/get-involved.
For a list of teacher resource guides visit www.freethechildren.com/educator.
Delegations visit the College to share and gather information on a range of education issues, including accreditation, qualifications and standards of practice.
International science and technology contest
The ExploraVision Awards Program, one of the world’s largest kindergarten to Grade 12 science and technology competitions, is accepting entries for its 2009 challenge until January 28, 2009.
Open to Canadian and American students, the competition is sponsored by the National Science Teachers Association and Toshiba. It can motivate students to excel as they work in teams to develop science projects that “envision a better future” as contest entries. Four first-place and four second-place winners will be named.
Up to US$240,000 in savings bonds will be awarded this year to student winners. Toshiba laptops will go to winning schools and there will be other prizes for students, teachers and mentors.
Students on first-place teams will each receive a US$10,000 savings bond and second-place team members receive US$5,000 bonds. (Canadian winners receive Canada Savings Bonds for the equivalent issue price.) All eight winning teams as well as their families, teacher mentors and coaches receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC for the gala awards weekend in June 2009.
Modern languages compete
German and Spanish-speaking students across the province will once again be able to strut their stuff thanks to the organizers of the Ontario Secondary Schools Spanish Contest and the efforts of the Ontario Association of Teachers of German.
Students in Grades 10 through 12 who have already completed or are enrolled in a Spanish course can participate in the Spanish competition. Beginners as well as intermediate, advanced and native speakers will compete in listening and writing comprehension, grammar and speaking. For those whose Spanish is a little rusty, there’s still time to brush up; the application deadline for the May 7, 2009 contest is in March. Competitors must be enrolled in or have completed a Spanish course in Ontario. Winners will receive a plaque and a cash prize.
After a two-year hiatus, a team of Ontario teachers from several different schools has revived a German contest. High school students from all grades are invited to participate in one of three categories: native speakers or those with German-speaking parents, students who have been on exchange for no more than three months, and those with no German background or exchange experience. Students will do three different exams based on a common theme. All competitors at the provincial level are rewarded, with top prizes including study trips to Germany courtesy of the Goethe-Institut and the German Consulate.
Regional contests will be held in February 2009 and finals will be held in May 2009.
Newly licensed internationally educated teachers attend information sessions in Brampton and, in both English and French, in Toronto.