PS News

Reports on recent College activities and a selection of announcements, events and initiatives in the wider education community.

2010 Atkinson Update

Carswell continues journey toward OCT

Christopher Carswell’s journey to become an Ontario Certified Teacher took an unexpected turn after he won the Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education last year.

christoper carswell

Carswell, an aspiring high school teacher with a passion for the classics, is studying to become qualified in the Intermediate and Senior divisions in English and history at OISE/UT. His promising teaching career was temporarily sidetracked in January – while well on his way to achieving his degree – due to a serious illness.

He tried to return to his studies, but extreme fatigue from his illness put him out of commission for almost two months. Feeling that he had missed too much to be an effective teacher, Carswell requested a leave of absence and re-enrolment at OISE for the 2011–12 school year, despite the heavy financial cost. OISE accepted his request and granted him credit for the courses he had completed.

Carswell has since become more determined than ever to teach.

“I have chosen to look upon the past year as a tremendous learning experience, both personally and professionally. I am absolutely determined not only to finish what I started, but also to embrace as many professional learning opportunities as I can along the way.”

Carswell was feeling better by April and returned to the classroom at Markham District High School for an unofficial practicum. He spent four weeks teaching Latin and English. He also helped the school’s Classics Club prepare for and compete in the Ontario Student Classics Conference.

Once again, the unexpected happened: Carswell was offered a job teaching Latin at a private school in downtown Toronto. But he chose instead to return to OISE, deciding that his practice would best be served by completing his teacher education program. “That was a dream, but it meant I wouldn’t be a certified teacher,” he says. “It was a test of faith. I want the right to call myself an OCT.”

He’ll complete his BEd in May 2012.

The Ontario College of Teachers awards the Atkinson Scholarship annually in honour of the College’s second registrar. The teacher candidate must study at a faculty of education in Ontario and achieve outstanding academic success in undergraduate studies while demonstrating a high level of preparedness for teacher education.

Carswell’s curriculum vitae glows with academic and research excellence. He has a Master’s degree in classical studies from Queen’s University, speaks French, Italian and Latin, and has a working knowledge of Ancient Greek.

“I realize that this year has been a far cry from what may have been expected – it certainly was the exact opposite of what I had anticipated,” Carswell wrote in a letter to the Ontario College of Teachers. “Nevertheless, I feel that these experiences have better prepared me for the classroom, not least because it has shown me just how far I would go to garner the right to call myself an OCT.”