Positive Focus on the Public Sector

Recent events have many people re-evaluating the role of the public sector in contributing to our sense of stability, a change in popular perception that includes teachers and the role they can play when the present is challenging and the future uncertain.

A horrific act of terrorism on September 11 brought home to everyone the fragility of peace and tolerance in our daily lives. When we watched the courageous and generous people who risked their lives to try to find survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center, we were watching the spirit of service that motivates so many in the public sector, a spirit that has been consistently undervalued during recent years.
During the weeks since then, teachers have had what has been one of the most challenging tasks of their lives — trying to explain the inexplicable to their students about how and why this happened and what our response should be, as individuals and as a community.
In the face of events that challenge the most knowledgeable and experienced people in public office to make the right decisions, teachers can call on their knowledge, skills and life experience to put these horrible events into some sort of context for their students.
Teachers and the teaching profession have suffered from the tendency to undervalue service to the community. Yet in the face of years of policies and actions that at times seemed designed to demoralize, teachers have continued to focus on providing quality learning experiences for Ontario students.
That, too, is the spirit of service to the community.

W O R L D   T E A C H E R S ’   D A Y

It is fitting that on October 5, communities around the world celebrated World Teachers’ Day, an annual tribute established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The College added its voice to the many organizations that recognize that without teachers, there can be "no sustained development, social cohesion or peace."
As our own tribute to teachers in Ontario, on October 5, the College ran prominent advertisements in major daily newspapers featuring outstanding Canadians talking about their remarkable teachers.
Remarkable Canadians, like Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson and astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space, having reached the pinnacle of their chosen field, look back on their school years and point to a specific person — a teacher — whose influence was strong enough that the memories remain vivid after years or even decades.
"It really is interesting how many of the people who achieve, who have really accomplished something, relate it back to some crucial moment when they were in Grade 4 or Grade 9 or Grade 12 when a teacher said something and the penny dropped," says journalist Pamela Wallin.

D A Y   I N   T H E   L I F E

In the midst of all of this, Professionally Speaking went forward with a long-time plan to follow a number of our members through their workday on September 20. We assigned writers to accompany College members in schools across Ontario as they went about the many tasks and responsibilities that present themselves not only every September but every day of the year.
Some of the teachers we followed are in their first job, while others have many years of experience to draw on in adapting to the changes that every new year brings. They were all recommended to us by education professionals as graduates of teacher education programs or exemplary educators who typified the best of their peer group, each doing remarkable things in schools every day all across Ontario.
Every one of the writers who worked on this project had a similar reaction — awe at the scope and difficulty of the work that is demanded of teachers today and enormous respect for the enthusiasm and energy that they bring to their classrooms.
In the stories that chronicle A Day in the Life, you will I am sure recognize all of the challenges and the rewards of your own job. I hope you find our coverage worthy of the great contribution you make to your students, to your own community and to the very fabric of our society

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