September 1997

Letters to the Editor


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Professionally Speaking welcomes letters and articles on topics of interest to teachers. We reserve the right to edit letters for length. To be considered for publication, all letters must be signed and provide the writer’s daytime phone number. Letters should be addressed to: The Editor, Professionally Speaking, 121 Bloor Street East, 6th Floor, Toronto ON M4W 3M5 or e-mail:


In his article, "Boom, Bust and Teachers", (Professionally Speaking, May, 1997) Daniel Stoffman reveals one of the most serious faults in the current process of educational reform. He throws statistics and observations at us without making a value judgment. Where is Stoffman’s critical analysis?

We have to stop accepting reports of the current trends as being "just okay." Over the years the educational gurus gave us reports of the latest things from California. The results: open concept classrooms, whole language, and universal semestering. At some point we’ve got to ask the question, "is this good?"

Louis Tusz
Louis Tusz is head of the music department at Huntsville High School.

Congratulations to Daniel Stoffman for his astute, compelling and overdue warnings about the future of public education. In our present erratic and often vacuous era, perhaps nothing is more important than renewing our education system, not only to restore public trust and confidence, but to recapture and reorient an increasing number of marginalized, disenchanted young people.

In his article, he cites public dismay with certain theoretical, philosophical and pedagogical practices forced upon the system by the "education bureaucracy". He sees "decreasing confidence in certain instruction methods" as "intensifying the erosion of support for public education". He is right.

Most experienced teachers have noted this for years. Unfortunately, no one listened. Left unaddressed these flaws will increasingly enhance the attractiveness of private institutions.

Fiscal prudence and efficient use of resources are laudable goals. Continued spending cuts, overcrowded classrooms, education as corporate job training, and attacks on collective bargaining are not.

Effective education reform, if based on genuine partnership, commitment, and respect should be a welcome step in the right direction.

Henry Bokor
Henry Bokor was a high school teacher for 19 years and has taught at the Halton Adult and Continuing Education Centre for the past six years.

Terrific job on your first copy of Professionally Speaking. The information is very well laid out, and very pertinent to teachers in the '90s. NetWatch suggested sites that I was not familiar with. And this keeps me current. This is what the College should do with its mandate for teacher development.

In future issues I would like to see more emphasis on education issues. I would also like to see teachers using the magazine to share ideas and aspects of teachers’ research. This is another aspect of teachers learning from teachers that needs to be encouraged by the College.

Jeremy Cox
Jeremy Cox teaches at Our Lady of Mercy Elementary School in Mississauga. He has been teaching for five years.

In the article Professional Affairs, I was struck by the reference to faculties that admit students who have no knowledge of computers. It is their job to prepare students to teach and to prepare them for the technology of the classroom.

The article mentions student teachers who have not taken math for a long time. This really concerns me. I am a high school math teacher and I see student teachers coming in to my school for practice who don’t have a clue about the material. How can they become math teachers?

In many cases, they expect to teach the lower grades or the general level. This is a problem as the lower grades are the time that students should learn a lot of their basic theories. If teachers are not sure of why things are done in a certain manner, they cannot guide their students to a deeper understanding of mathematics.

If you can do something to change the selection process for teachers’ college, you will have done the educational system a great favour.

Barb Warf
Barb Warf teaches in Thunder Bay.

After reading the first issue of Professionally Speaking and having browsed through the web site, I noticed a lack of experience and recognition in respect to isolated northern schools.

What may be easily accessible in most of Ontario can be impossible in the north. The Internet is very convenient, but many towns in northwestern Ontario do not have Internet service. In addition, conferences, workshops, seminars, etc. are rarely held in small northern communities.

I do participate in professional development, as do most of my colleagues, and we are anxiously awaiting the decisions of the Council. All I am asking is the recognition of geographical factors that affect thousands of your colleagues.

Suzanne Eddy
Suzanne Eddy teaches English and drama at Marathon High School.