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 our publication style. To be considered for publication, letters must provide the writer’s daytime phone number. Address letters to: The Editor, Professionally Speaking at ps@oct.caor 121 Bloor Street East, Toronto, ON  M4W 3M5.

Finding work, assigning costs

Supply challenge

For many teachers looking for full-time positions, supply teaching is often the best way to get the experience necessary to secure work. After working as a supply teacher for several years in BC (and again as a new citizen of Ontario), I can offer some advice.

Do not take rejection personally. We have all gone for interviews and subsequently received bad news. It is likely you were one of 100 or more applicants. Ask your interviewer for feedback on what you did well and areas for improvement, and use this in the future.

Take an AQ course. Not only is this a great way to network and meet new people, but professional development should be high on your list of priorities. Whether you do courses online or in class, having new teaching options makes you more appealing to employers.

Get to know the support staff. Receptionists and administrative assistants are the unsung heroes of the school. They have a wealth of information and can make your day at the school manageable. Show them the respect they deserve, and if you have a spare block during the day, ask if there is anything you can do to help.

Try to teach, not babysit. A full-time teacher returning from a day off will always be pleased to find the supply teacher has made an effort to advance the curriculum. If you feel comfortable, try to teach the material the students are covering rather than watch them work through questions. (You’ll find this does wonders for classroom management.) Let teachers you supply for regularly know you would be happy to teach a lesson and, if they agree, see if you can get an administrator to observe you.

Don’t give up. The cliché holds true. After years of supply teaching in BC, I was rewarded with a full-time job at a fantastic school, working with wonderful students and faculty. If you love what you do and care about those with whom you work, it will show and, eventually, translate into the full-time work you desire.

Best of luck to all of you.

Siamak Boroomand is a supply teacher for six different independent schools in the GTA.

Assigning costs

Don Cattani lists the cost of investigating complaints as one of the reasons for the fee increase (From the Chair, September 2008). Has any thought been given to assigning part or all of the costs of the investigation to the guilty party?

As a retired principal who is still required to pay the full fee to do administrative supply work (another issue completely), I suggest this may be one way to keep the net investigative costs to the College within reason.

Is it possible to list the cost of each investigation with the report?

Sandy Blackshaw is a retired secondary school principal who works occasionally in the Lambton Kent DSB.

Ontario first

In response to the Registrar’s Report in the December 2008 issue – College vigilant in creating better access to licensure for qualified internationally educated teachers – I guess you could call me protectionist or unfair, but I believe we need to make sure that available teaching positions are filled by Ontario-educated students first, before considering others.

This is akin to shopping locally in order to support people in our own community or buying Canadian made first (if possible).

I have been educating in Ontario for nearly 30 years and feel it is my responsibility to take a position for those who have no voice in this profession. Far too many people I have helped educate cannot find work here in their home province. Their families’ tax dollars have helped pay my salary.

The College should poll its membership before it takes a position that will eliminate more chances for Ontario-educated citizens and create more opportunity for internationally educated teachers. I for one would vote against it. It’s only fair.

Doug Saunders teaches Grades 10-12 co-op/guidance at I.E. Weldon SS in Lindsay.

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