A Day in the Life

Starting with e-mail at 
5 a. m., we followed 
13 teachers through their day. There was no special reason to choose September 20th, but these very special people exemplify what it means to be a teacher.

A Day in the Life

It’s Thursday, September 20, a couple of weeks into the school year. The headlines in the daily newspapers are about the U.S. military getting ready to respond to terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

The front-page photos are of American sailors saying goodbye to their families. It’s only nine days after the terrorist attack at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

On this day, Education Minister Janet Ecker announces that the Ontario government is going to introduce legislation during the fall session to protect Ontario’s students from sexual abuse.

There was no special reason to pick this day to follow 13 teachers. But there’s nothing ordinary about a day in school, either.

Darla Solomon, Fort Frances
by Pat Daley
"We beat the bus! We beat the kids on the bus." At 8:25 a.m. three breathless children burst through the door of the Native Pride Office in Robert Moore School and flop into chairs. full story

Marc Gélinas, Val Caron
By Philippa Davies
Marc Gélinas, carpentry and construction teacher at Confederation Secondary School in Val Caron, climbs into his black Chevrolet pick-up truck at 7:50 a.m. just after his wife and daughter pull out of the driveway... full story

Pierre Beaupré, Timmins
By Mario Cossette
It is not yet eight o’clock when Pierre Beaupré arrives at school. No notice of internal supply teaching awaits him today. Class doesn’t start for another 50 minutes, but he likes being there when the school comes alive... full story

Lucie Quesnel, Ottawa
By Tracy Morey

Her students include a graduating 17-year-old who is in chemotherapy and a Grade 10 anorexic who has to sing loudly when she goes to the bathroom so the teacher will know she’s not purging. full story

Joan Pearson, Oshawa
By Wendy Cuthbertson

A few minutes before eight o’clock, Joan Pearson drives past the massive auto assembly plants that have fuelled Oshawa’s economy for generations, turns into a residential street and pulls into the parking lot of Glen Street Public School.  full story

Bunny Karen Wei, Markham
By Peter Alexander

On her first professional activity day of the school year, Bunny Karen Wei’s focus is on all the new things around her. She’s a new face on staff at Randall Public School in Markham, still getting to know her co-workers. Though this is her sixth year of teaching, it’s her first teaching Grade 3, so she has new curriculum requirements to build into her lesson plans. A new school board has hired her, and two weeks into the year her principal has assigned her a new classroom. full story

Peter Banhan, Toronto
By Beatrice Schriever

Kids in white shirts and black pants are already milling around the front door when Peter Banhan pulls up to Amesbury Middle School shortly after eight o’clock. He heads inside. Hundreds of paper doves are stuck on the wall in the lobby: poems and messages about the terrorist attacks in the U.S. last week. full story

Donna Quan, Toronto
By Leanne Miller

"Some days, I can’t even get to the washroom." It’s only 7:30 a.m., but Donna Quan’s day began three hours ago. This is her fourth year as a principal. For the past two she’s been at Rockford Public School in Toronto. Her day routinely begins at 4:30 with e-mail and walking the dog. full story

Rochelle Williams, Toronto
By Rosemarie Bahr

Go into the office at the Etobicoke Civic Centre, check e-mail, do some copying, return phone messages. Drive to a downtown Toronto school... full story

Charles Kruger, Kitchener
By Wendy Harris

It’s 8:15 a.m. Electric guitar chords blast through the airy auditorium as Charles Kruger rehearses some Nashville-style hymns. A couple of students are singing the words, reminding him what the music sounds like so he won’t be totally lost at chapel later this morning. full story

Jim Costigan, St. Thomas
By Judy Irwin

Jim Costigan has no outside meetings scheduled and is looking forward to catching up on other work. When he arrives at school, however, there is no sign of the vice-principal, who usually arrives earlier. full story

Gary Malloy, Windsor
By Peter Mosher

In the lab at 7:45 a.m., microscopes stand shrouded on lab benches, chairs are stacked on tables. Diseased lungs glare from posters (What Smoking Does to You!).  full story

Janine Griffore, Southwestern Ontario
By Rose Bergeron

It isn’t yet daybreak when superintendent Janine Griffore, coffee in hand, starts the one-hour drive to her first appointment in Windsor. A massive daybook and a huge pile of papers sit on the back seat. full story

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