PS News

PS News presents reports on recent College activities and a selection of announcements, events and initiatives in the wider education community that may be of interest to our members.

2009 Atkinson update

Snodgrass enjoys a fulfilling year

William Snodgrass is starting a new chapter in his life following a whirlwind year, after being awarded the 2009 Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education. The new beginnings feature a full-time teaching position with the Toronto DSB and a move to downtown Toronto from Mississauga.

“There’s been a lot of change all at once,” says Snodgrass, 24, who earned his BEd from OISE/UT this past summer.

He started teaching music and English in September in the Ed-Vance Program at the Toronto DSB’s Scarborough Centre for Alternative Studies. The program is for students 18 to 20 years old who have chosen to return to school to complete their high school diploma. “It’s an interesting environment,” he says.

His graduation capped several months filled with his education studies, a music practicum at Glenforest SS and an English practicum at Rick Hansen SS, both in the Peel DSB, an internship with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and summer teaching jobs. He also spent time daily writing cover letters and applying for jobs.

“Overall, it’s been a very enjoyable and fulfilling year,” Snodgrass wrote in a letter to the Ontario College of Teachers. “Thank you again for being part of it – your support is invaluable.”

Prior to launching his full-time teaching career, he completed a month-long internship with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. OISE/UT gives teacher candidates the opportunity to design their own placement, he says. With the TSO he worked in the education department, which plans the school outreach programs and designs student concerts.

His main responsibilities were writing two study guides for next season’s student concerts. The guides provide teachers with classroom activities and assignment ideas based on TSO programming. He was also involved in helping with the many student concerts that took place during the month of May and promoting next season’s concerts.

The placement gave him the opportunity to visit arts organizations such as the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet, the Tarragon Theatre and the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People.
“I saw many educational programs in action, which definitely gave me lots of ideas for my own teaching,” he says.

Snodgrass has been working and applying for jobs since completing his internship. He was offered his current teaching position in mid-July.

He kept busy during the summer teaching his private piano and percussion students and continued to work part-time at the TSO, beyond his internship, assisting in the education department. He currently teaches a Steel Pan program as part of Beyond 3:30, a program led by the Toronto Community

Foundation, The Toronto DSB and the Toronto Foundation for Student Success.

Snodgrass is qualified to teach instrumental music and English in the Intermediate and Senior divisions. He has an impressive resumé of teaching and volunteering experience. He won several awards and scholarships for outstanding musical and academic achievements during his high school and undergraduate studies.

Growing up in Mississauga, Snodgrass ran volunteer music and drama programs for children and young adults with disabilities. For several years he taught drums and piano to children at a private music school in Mississauga, and he has taught the fundamentals of technology-based home music recording at a west-end music store.

The Atkinson award – in honour of the College’s second registrar – is given annually by the Ontario College of Teachers Foundation to a teacher candidate studying at a faculty of education in Ontario who has achieved outstanding academic success in undergraduate studies and demonstrates a high level of preparedness for teacher education.

Snodgrass has had a few months in his new job and says that there’s “this realization that first and foremost we are teachers of students. We teach the people who are in front of us above and beyond curriculum expectations.”