Professionally Speaking welcomes letters and articles on topics of interest to teachers. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and to conform to publication style. To be considered for publication, letters must be signed and provide the writer's daytime phone number. Address letters to: The Editor, Professionally Speaking at or 121 Bloor Street East, Toronto, ON M4W 3M5.

Inspiration, sugar fixes and military men

Franco-Anglo connections

The article about Lise Paiement's drama class (June 2004) was interesting and inspiring. I am currently working in Peru but on a visit back to Toronto, I took a short trip to Montréal and Québec. Perhaps living and working in another language heightened my perceptions, but for the first time I was aware of how little education we receive about French-Canadian culture and how little communication takes place between anglo- and francophones.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if teachers from French and English schools in Ontario began networking, combining energies and creativity to give birth to new initiatives? Lise Paiement reminds us that good teaching lays the foundation for good citizenship and that our lessons are expressions of our lives.

Samantha Lanaway is a high school English teacher with the Toronto DSB, currently working in Lima, Peru, as the National Co-ordinator at the Centro de Idiomas del SENATI.

Ad buster

Flipping through the September issue, I noticed an advertisement from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts: "NEED FUNDS? We can help your school easily raise thousands of dollars!" It disturbs me that the College has published an ad for doughnuts, which contain much fat and sugar with little (if any) nutritional value. Recent media coverage on obesity calls for schools to promote healthy living.

Although I realize that the College does not endorse the products advertised, for schools to accept fundraising at the expense of promoting healthy eating habits would be irresponsible.

Louis Lim heads the mathematics department at Unionville High School in York Region DSB.

Digital thanks

I appreciate the mention in your NetWatch column (September 2004). We've been working hard with school boards across the country to provide an excellent resource that teachers and students can trust.

We'll be updating the For Teachers section in the months ahead - more topics, games and ways to interact with the site. Stay tuned and thanks for your support!

Tom Metuzals is a senior communications officer at the CBC digital archives in Toronto.

Military resource

I understand that the College is co-sponsoring a project, Attracting Men to Teaching. I posit that concerns about the shortage of male teachers could be alleviated by allowing retired military personnel to serve as teachers where their skills, knowledge and experience are obviously needed.

For many years Texas experienced a critical shortage of teachers - secondary math, sciences, special education, bilingual. And they facilitated the transition of retiring university-degreed soldiers into classrooms. Since 1995, the Troops to Teachers office has hired over 1,500 veterans. Approximately 75 per cent have attained full certification, with the rest attending university certification programs. Over 82 per cent of these teachers were male and over 40 per cent choose to teach special education.

In Canada, hundreds of highly skilled, energetic individuals retire from the military every year. Perhaps a campaign could be directed at retired members of the Canadian Forces. Many are bilingual and have considerable classroom-instruction experience.

School boards could organize classroom observation opportunities so that interested retirees could see the complexities of teaching first-hand. The current shortage of male teachers could be relieved by making use of this untapped resource.

Brian R. Thompson, a now-retired personnel selection officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, is currently Chief of Analysis on the MOSART project at the Department of National Defence in Ottawa.

Still time to contribute

As part of the standards review process, you are invited to share your experience of those standards of practice that best describe the knowledge, values and skills of your everyday practice.

Please provide input via our short questionnaire.

To submit a brief, position paper or research related to the Standards, forward to Déirdre Smith, Manager, Standards of Practice and Education Unit at