Honour and safety
Honour in the work
Arfan Arif (Letters, June 2006) comments that teaching is a more honourable profession than certain others (such as Registered Nurse) that use letters after their names, and that the use of such titles creates "a caste system, usually in line with income levels."
I respond as a Registered Nurse and Primary-Junior teacher in good standing with both the College of Nurses of Ontario and the Ontario College of Teachers.
The RN designation informs the public that the person is prepared to provide safe, ethical and effective care within a broad range of health-care settings, and has met standards set by that profession's regulatory body.
I fail to understand how, if the professions are open to anyone with the potential and initiative to pursue them, the use of such titles creates a caste system. Incomes of many occupations without titles are higher.
I agree with Arif that teachers can shape minds for generations and that this is a great privilege. But the proposition that one profession is more honourable than another is not an idea I would promote to students.
It is vital that students understand that all work has value in our society and that it is the individual who brings honour to the work, not the reverse.
Students also need to know that, as teachers, we will assist them in reaching their potential, whatever that may be.
Beverley MacLean-Lindsay works as a full-time public health nurse with Middlesex-London Health Unit in London, where she provides instruction and health-promoting activities to elementary students, as well as consulting with school staff and parents.
Safe for whom?
I read your item about the recent Safe Schools report (PS News, September 2006) and then read the actual report on the Ministry of Education web site.
It is rather disappointing that in 29 pages the committee missed a significant part of the issue. I am well aware of countless cases of teacher harassment by irate parents and I raise this issue at every opportunity at the Ontario Public School Boards' Association and at our local board. Each time, my comments receive condescending acknowledgement and then are ignored.
If the Safe Schools Act is going to be revised it has to include all occupants of schools - students, teachers and staff. Thinking that school safety is only a student issue is a complete disservice to our educators.
H. David Goldsmith is a trustee in the Lambton-Kent DSB.