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. Letters should be addressed to: The Editor, Professionally Speaking, 121 Bloor Street East, Toronto ON M4W 3M5 or e-mail

Support, laughs and diversity

Support new teachers

The March issue of Professionally Speaking illustrated an intriguing juxtaposition of possibilities related to initial (and on-going) teacher development.

If the Professional Learning Program (PLP) is repealed and the College's white paper on new teacher induction, Growing into the Profession, is advanced, we hope former PLP resources will be available to promote province-wide induction and mentoring programs in every school board and every school. We cannot continue to disregard the loss of three out of every ten talented new teachers during their first five professional years.

We propose that the College's framework for new teacher induction and mentorship replace the PLP in the Professional Learning Framework for the Teaching Profession. This would highlight new teacher induction, validate the role of mentor and promote learning communities - all of which will enhance student learning and the Ontario educational system.

Margie Buttignol teaches in a psychiatric unit at North York General Hospital.
Joan Daly-Martin
is in Curriculum Accountability/Staff Development at the Toronto Catholic District School Board. Both are co-chairs of the New Teacher Induction Committee of the TCDSB.

Laughed out loud

Congratulations to Lynne Ainsworth on her very funny and accurate account of school life. I enjoy the articles in Professionally Speaking but have never before laughed out loud while reading one! My best wishes to Lynne for a long and rewarding career in education. Keep writing about your experiences.

I drew my staff's attention to the article because I think it is so important for us to step back and laugh at ourselves often, and Lynne's writing affords that opportunity. I was interested that one of our superintendents referred to it at a recent teacher recruitment session hosted by our school board.

Marion Dowds is principal of Delhi Public School in the Grand Erie District School Board.

Career diversity

I was very happy to read Winding Roads to the Classroom (March 2004). While I come from a profession nowhere near the calibre of those featured, I feel my previous experience does contribute to my present role as occasional teacher.

The peculiarities of varied professional personas provide us with a repertoire of responses. Students really respond well to spontaneity and appear to see the second-career teacher as a valued oddity within the learning community. As our numbers grow this strange status may well shift and we will become just another element of diversity - enriching a vital mix of unique and caring professionals.

Michael Hurd is in his second year of teaching as an occasional teacher in the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario.

No literacy testing

I do not agree that the literacy test should be a requirement for a high school diploma. So many students have different ways of learning and understanding things. For students whose worst subject is English it is particularly hard.

Although I disagree with the test requirement, I believe that the Ministry of Education is right to offer an alternative course for students who have failed the test twice. The credit course and its literacy requirement certificate are good, but always bringing in new things that make high school diplomas harder to earn is not. They should stop putting students through hoops and allow graduation without this absurd test.

Anthony Greco is a Grade 11 student at Holy Trinity High School in Bradford. (He has passed the literacy test.)

We're not perfect

While I found Ainsworth's Things I Didn't Learn at the Faculty of Ed an interesting and humorous read overall, I was more than a tad disappointed to find an apostrophe in "It's purpose" and one missing from "ladies room."

Professionally Speaking would do well to insist on the same proper spelling and grammar we demand of our students.

Michael Sendrea teaches Grade 7 language arts and mathematics at Lester B. Pearson Public School in Waterloo.


In the photograph from page 37 of the March 2004 issue, George Benedek, vice-principal at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute, was misidentified as Carlos Sousa, co-ordinator of the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program with the Toronto Catholic District School Board.