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.

Money, men and mentors

Reducing fees

I note with some dismay that the College is planning to reduce my membership fees, already among the lowest for any profession in the country. Where is the wisdom in Council's decision to reduce fees?

Although the government stopped the Professional Learning Program, surely there will be something to replace it and the College will have a large role to play, which it will have to finance.

Council is the College's board of directors, and wise boards make provisions for rainy days; they should not be governed by the desire for popularity among those who elect them and who may need to be educated about the importance of maintaining an appropriate fund balance.

Solette Gelberg of King City is a College member. She sat on College Councilfor five years and served as chair of its Finance Committee.

Gender gap

Being a male teacher in a middle school and a former officer in the army reserves, I read with great interest Narrowing the Gender Gap: Attracting Men to Teaching.

As you probably know, the military is also tackling recruitment and retention issues. Only it needs more female recruits.

I entered teaching because education had been important as I was growing up. What could be more fitting than to share my love of learning? But I understand why it might be difficult for a young male to consider teaching if he cannot relate to the job environment. Not surprisingly, a few of my former male students are considering police and military as a career.

The important question is why men choose their particular professions.

Stephen Yuen teaches Grade 7/8 with the York Region District School Board.


I enjoyed reading Doug Wilson's column about teaching opportunities for new graduates. I wholeheartedly agree about both the need and value of mentors.

Fortunately, at my present school, several teachers are acting informally as mentors, including the principal. I've been given invaluable advice, which will help me to prosper in my career.

Perhaps if more new teachers had mentors, there wouldn't be such a start-ling number leaving the profession within their first five years of teaching.

Stephanie Dancey is a Primary/Junior core French teacher with the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board.

Pedal magic

I recently taught Grades 5 and 6 for two years and found an ideal way to motivate my students to complete assignments in record time.

Project Linus promotes the making of quilts for children in hospitals, and for police and fire trucks to carry for emergency needs. I felt the class might enjoy participating. A sewing machine was found and set up at the rear of the classroom. I demonstrated its use, explaining that the foot control was like a car's gas pedal. This worked wonders with the art-is-for-sissies group.

It was such a favourite that only those who had completed their assignments were eligible to go on the sign-up list. We produced five quilts over the school year. Now I'm introducing the program to my learning disabilities class. Perhaps the pedal magic will work here too.

Kathy Schofield teaches special education, Grades 4 to 6, for the Toronto District School Board.

Misleading numbers

I have been reading about job opportunities in Professionally Speaking and am concerned that you are misrepresenting the number of jobs available. I work with many teachers who are underemployed.

There are very few positions, and there are many people on long-term occasional lists waiting for them. I don't believe your article accurately portrays the situation.

Elizabeth Long teaches science, math and French in the Simcoe County District School Board.

AQ info

In the December 2004 edition of Frequently Asked Questions (page 54) we identified various ways the College advises members of updated qualifications. To determine which of these are used by the Qualifications Evaluation Council of Ontario (QECO), members must contact QECO directly (416-323-1969 or 1-800-385-1030).