Challenges and complaints
Doug Wilson writes that the College wants to make the certification procedure less onerous for internationally educated teachers (March 2006).
However, we still have a long way to go. In adult ESL programs we regularly encounter qualified, experienced teachers for whom the certification requirements are ultimately insurmountable. Documents may be unavailable when one's country has been devastated by war.
Without doubt the College needs to control who teaches in our schools while welcoming "competent, qualified teachers," but why not involve internationally educated teachers in policy development?
Jane Batterink is an ESL teacher in the Durham DSB.
It's about time we teachers had a designation after our names, as Cliff Hasson suggests (Letters, March 2006). Why haven't we started doing this yet?
Nivé Vincent is an Intermediate Special Education teacher at York Region DSB.
Teaching is a much more honourable profession than those Cliff Hasson proposes we copy (Letters, March 2006). Teaching shapes minds for generations.
Letters like MD, PEng, RegN only create a caste system, usually in line with income levels. Unfortunately, teachers are at the bottom.
Allow the deeds to speak.
Arfan Arif has taught Primary/Junior grades at private Islamic schools in the GTA and is now seeking employment in public systems.
I was surprised to see an advertisement for the Blue Man Group (March 2006). This New-York-based theatrical company has refused to negotiate contracts with the groups representing theatre workers in Canada. I urge all teachers to support those workers by refusing to purchase tickets or to organize student trips.
What lesson are we teaching our students if we support a group that has displayed a total lack of respect for Canadian theatre professionals?
Hayssam Hulays teaches computer studies at Harbord Collegiate in Toronto.
Richard Bramwell writes that the highest obligation of teachers is "the responsibility of understanding ideas properly and acting on them" (Letters, March 2006). Yet I fear he himself misunderstands the terms race and racism.
Defining racism as a judgment based on genes is too simplistic for a system as complex as racism. While race as a legitimate scientific category does not exist, it is a deeply entrenched social category.
Racism is a system, based on subtle assumptions and biases, that reinforces the current social, political and economic power of white people. This system is more complex than Bramwell presumes.
If we fail to help our students understand racism for what it is, we doom them to accepting it.
Surely our greatest obligation is to help our students avoid this fate.
James Campbell teaches English at University of Toronto Schools.
Address the issues
Most articles in Professionally Speaking either stay high above the fray of our daily professional lives (gloating about excellence awards, global perspectives or celebrities' fond memories of past teachers) or dig deep below it, exposing the tiny minority of wayward teachers in a very public flogging.
Where are the issues of average teachers struggling to deliver quality instruction? There are topics worthy of consideration:
Such topics invite controversy but their avoidance breeds irrelevance.
Mirek Lalas teaches English at Langstaff Secondary School in Richmond Hill.
While I was on vacation, my purse was stolen. Forget the $70 cash. My identity was in my wallet: driver's licence, health, credit and bank cards. After painstakingly replacing these, I thought I'd replace my College membership card as well.
The clerk who took the call said there was no problem - the card could be replaced for $10. I have to understand, it costs them money.
Forget compassion. It is policy. How sad!
Maureen Bachetti is a teacher/assessor at the ESL/ELD Assessment/Reception/Placement Centre of York Catholic DSB.