Professionally SpeakingThe Magazine of the Ontario College of Teachers
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In this issue


From the Chair

Letters to the Editor

PS News




Governing Ourselves


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 or 121 Bloor Street East, Toronto, ON M4W 3M5.

Reporting, retirement and sound solutions

News or not

The OPC supervision standards are not “reasonable, comprehensive or prudent” as the June issue states (PS News). They are hastily planned suggestions developed well after our collective agreements were signed and in place. Improved working conditions continue to be a need and a priority for my teachers, especially when I review what the OPC world believes is needed.

We negotiate collective agreements and then work with them. Reporting as news the OPC standards needs to be seen for what it is: interference in the bargaining process by OPC, and now the College. Why not publish the related items in our collective agreements and the Joint Supervision Guidelines? Does OPC not know there is a Provincial Stability Commission that deals with supervision? Student safety is not compromised by the current supervision process in all agreements, as OPC implies.

The College should not allow itself to be pulled into OPC's inappropriate campaign, which is against what was agreed to by all parties during negotiations. Just when I thought the College might be getting more teacher friendly! In my view you should retract this article.

Alice E. Paige is president of ETFO-Renfrew County Teachers' Local. She began teaching in 1976.

Retired teaching

I am responding to the comment, “Every retired teacher who is employed full time potentially takes away a position from a newly certified teacher” (Letters, June 2007). The flip side to this phenomenon is that many retirees, like me, make the choice to retire from their teaching positions as soon as they can – based on the fact that they can supply teach for a few years. Could the next phenomenon be that increasing social pressures discourage such retirement-supply-teaching plans? That would place new teachers in an even worse position.

Happily retired and happily supply teaching for a few more years.

Corrine Donnelly retired from St. Jean de Brebeuf School in Bradford in 2004. She supply teaches Grades 1–8.

Fresh frustration

I read Delia Berardi's letter, Hire New Teachers for LTO Positions (June 2007) and couldn't agree more. As a new teacher I have been searching for full-time employment in Ontario for some time and have been unable to find anything, for most positions go to retirees. I personally know several teachers who have gone back to teach, after retiring, in positions that I am fully qualified to occupy.

I can understand that these teachers have more experience and expertise than I could bring to the school. However, in my defence, I can contribute many fresh ideas and commit to a longer teaching term than they can.

Travis Croome is co-ordinator of the after-school program at Highland PS in Cambridge.

No single solution

The cover story, Discovering Math Prodigies (March 2007) celebrates the effect of having a positive disposition on achievement in mathematics. All three expert panel reports on the teaching and learning of mathematics in Ontario assert that having a positive attitude is but one critical factor in becoming mathematically literate.

In the York Region DSB, we have a system focus on literacy that includes mathematical literacy. We understand the importance of believing that all students can achieve high standards, given sufficient time and support (Crévola, 1999).

The goal of mathematical literacy for all requires that teachers provide focused instruction that is both data driven and research based. Current research supports the use of strategies that develop students' understanding of foundational concepts through problem solving (Ministry of Education, 2006).

High-yield strategies such as the use of context problems or strings of related number problems (Frosnot, 2001) easily provide for differentiation through their multiple entry points. The point at which the student enters the problem provides data to help determine the instructional pathway.

Based on continuing research into mathematics education and the program directions set out by the Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, it is imperative that educators and parents understand that no one text or resource will ever meet the needs of all students. Approaches being highlighted should be research-based and pedagogically sound.

Lyn Sharratt is Superintendent of Curriculum and Instructional Services and Diane Muckleston is Curriculum Co-ordinator at York Region DSB. ps