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Letters to the Editor

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 and registration number. Address letters to: The Editor, Professionally Speaking at or 101 Bloor St. W., Toronto, ON M5S 0A1.

Actor’s teacher is also a shining star

A photo of Debbie Barton-Moore and a teenaged student.

Thank you for your story “School Ties” (December 2013); however, the real story is the brilliance of Debbie Barton-Moore as an outstanding teacher in her own right. I taught with her at Northern Secondary during the ’90s and her impact was far-reaching. She demonstrated the importance of arts in education time and again: for at-risk students, for those who lacked confidence, for those who were not fans of the daily grind, or for those who truly delighted in drama, and were talented, such as Patrick Adams.

She demanded excellence from her students and they worked toward numerous awards, competitions and self-satisfaction in her classes. They learned diversity as they portrayed the voices of others, and the productions in the Sears Ontario Drama and Blythe festivals extended a goal toward which students aspired.

When I worked at the College as a Program Officer in Standards, I recruited Debbie to aid in the development of the Drama AQ for the profession. I was aware of the depth of her knowledge, her commitment to her students and her absolute joy in teaching.

I am so glad that Patrick Adams identified Barton-Moore in your piece. She touched the lives of so many students and exemplifies what is best in teaching.

Patricia F. Goldblatt, OCT, retired, is an education consultant.

Survey says...! 92 percentage of readers who plan their lessons using the Internet for information and resources. Source: 2013 Readers Survey

Correction: In «Building Together: How OCTs and ECEs are collaborating on the creation of the full-day kindergarten curriculum,» in our September 2013 issue, we incorrectly identified Allison Daigneault as a registered ECE. She is working in a Designated ECE position through a letter of permission. We regret the error.

More than just skipping

As a primary physical education and health teacher, I was both excited and surprised by the article “By the Numbers: Let’s Get Physical” (December 2013). You stated that in 1887, elementary children participated in weekly “drill, gymnastics and calisthenics” and that in 2013 gym class includes “galloping to music and skipping.” While I agree that physical activity has taken a back seat to literacy and numeracy over the past few years, it is grossly misleading to say that our young students are simply skipping around to music for 100 minutes a week. The Ontario Curriculum for Health and Physical Education promotes a love for active living through cooperative sports and social interaction that is not found in drill-and-shoot activities. We have come a long way in making physical fitness enjoyable for young children that goes far beyond drill and calisthenics and is certainly not limited to galloping to music.

Anne Payette, OCT, teaches Grade 1 EFI Physical Education at Chapman Mills PS in the Ottawa-Carleton DSB.

Fee hike

In a time of fiscal restraint, it is refreshing to see that there is one educational institution that is immune to these economic limits. Congratulations to the Ontario College of Teachers for increasing their fees during a period when educational workers have had their wages frozen and are also taking unpaid days.

Jeremy Russell, OCT, business department head, Ancaster HS in Ancaster.


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I would like to respond to Ms. Wolosin-Ozersky’s comments (December 2013) regarding the photographs of the teachers in a previous edition. When I saw the photos, I was so relieved and thrilled to see teachers so professionally dressed! I totally disagree that the shoes in the photos “are not commonly worn by teachers during their workday.” I’m not sure why she believes that wearing a professional, beautiful pair of shoes is “unhealthy” and that it sets a poor example for our students. And to state that wearing heels is “sexist attire” is ridiculous. I am a secondary teacher who wears heels every day with professional dresses/skirts and I rarely, if ever, sit down during my workday. In contrast, do we not want to present ourselves as “professionals” by wearing more “conservative” outfits that show our students and parents (and colleagues) that we want to be regarded as such? Personally, many of my colleagues (male and female) and I feel that the dress code for teachers has become too casual and does not set a professional tone with our students and parents. We once had a wonderful principal at our school who clearly stated that if we didn’t have to go home and change our clothes from our work outfits, we were not professionally dressed.

Maryanne Scime, OCT, teaches at Bishop Reding SS in Milton.


Winners Circle!

Zohra Khan, OCT, a Special Needs teacher at Markham Gateway PS in the York Region DSB, wins two 2014 Stratford Festival tickets (see December 2013: Final Exam, p. 64) because she liked us on Facebook.

Paul Benedet, OCT, a Grade 4/5 teacher at Canadian Martyrs Catholic School in Penetanguishene, participated in our latest poll on education-themed films (see December 2013: Pop Culture, p. 17) and is the lucky winner of a $150 Cineplex gift package

Marlene Deschenes, OCT, a teacher at Notre Dame School in Owen Sound, submitted Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel as her all-time favourite Canadian book for elementary students and is now the recipient of a Top Grade sample box for K–8 (see December 2013: National Treasures, p. 20). Catherine Chin Yet, OCT, of the Niagara Catholic DSB, selected Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill as her go-to book for secondary students and is receiving a box packed with Grades 9–12 swag