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June 1999

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Professionally Speaking welcomes letters and articles on topics of interest to teachers. We reserve the right to edit letters for length. To be considered for publication, all letters must be signed and provide the writer’s daytime phone number. Letters should be addressed to: The Editor, Professionally Speaking, 121 Bloor Street East, 6th Floor, Toronto ON M4W 3M5; e-mail:


It was a pleasure to read such an entertaining and irreverent piece as Mordecai Richler's "School Days, Not So Golden Rule Days." What a creative and invigorating break from the usual "professional growth and learning programs" reports. Thanks!

Laura Subonovich
Laura Subonovich is a learning centre teacher at Tapleytown School in Stoney Creek.


Congratulations. The draft Standards of Practice for the Teaching Profession should be kept and read often.
It provides a great opportunity for insight. I am on leave this year and found reading this document to be very refreshing.

I'd like to add that Number 3 on page 7, "Equitable and respectful treatment" should have been Number 1.
The respect of students is the key to success.

Dianne Theoret
Elementary teacher Dianne Theoret of Alexandria is on leave this year.


In Margaret Wilson's March report, she asks, "When did you last suggest to a student that he or she would make a good teacher?" Since the Harris government has been in power, my answer is, I haven't.

The overriding sentiment in small town Ontario is that secondary teachers are overpaid, underworked, and little more than the "warm bodies at the front of the class" Mrs. Wilson decries. This sentiment has been reinforced by the teacher-bashing from Queen's Park. I see tremendous student potential in the secondary system; however, I have had to bite my tongue recently because I cannot in good faith suggest the education route to even the most stellar candidates.

Yes, there will be jobs, but is that enough? Teaching has become thankless in many ways that were heretofore gratifying. The steady bombardment has rubbed off on all of us, including the ones we are closest to, the students. Professionally speaking, we have a great deal of damage control to undertake before we start fishing for recruits for what once was the greatest profession on the planet.

Rod McDonald
Rod McDonald teaches English at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute.


I graduated from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Education program in the spring of 1996 (Junior/Intermediate - Computers). Although I am not currently active in the profession, I still maintain a keen interest in education in Ontario and would like to comment on the article "Shortage Looms" in the December issue.

In the subject areas which are and will be in high demand, the teaching profession is competing with private industry for the same type of qualifications and talent.

For example, if a faculty of education graduate had skills in either science, technology, mathematics or French and had all kinds of bills to pay, securing a viable source of continual income is a high priority. When I completed my studies, I had the choice of either entering the profession via supply lists or leveraging my qualifications in business and technology. For the past two years I have chosen the latter, working in the telecommunications industry while volunteering with young people in the community to at least partially fulfil my love of teaching. I have many working years ahead of me and I believe that teaching will be something I will do sometime in the future. I do not feel today is the best time, at least economically, for me to make a career move back into teaching.

One idea I haven't seen mentioned too often is to attract individuals like myself: qualified but not active. I am sure some of us are still interested and have much to offer. Another idea might be to put some kind of premium on higher demand subject areas, not unlike private industry.

Other professional bodies, such as the Ontario Certified General Accountants (CGA), advertise in public to remind people of the quality that comes with professional accreditation. Nurturing a positive public perspective for the profession of teaching, as opposed to the free advertising that comes with making news about the latest work stoppage or government cutbacks, might become part of the investment to attract new and talented people to the profession.

Lincoln Troi
Lincoln Troi of Scarborough is senior marketing co-ordinator for Lucent Technologies and a member of the College of Teachers.