Teachers Go To School
Ontario Teachers Federation and its affiliates, in partnership with the Ministry of
Education, provided teachers with opportunities to learn about new curriculum and its
delivery. Thousands flocked to summer institutes.
By Margaret Wilson
of Ontario teachers spent part of the summer holiday taking courses to improve their
ability to serve their students. This pattern of teacher attendance at "summer
school" has been in place for many years, but this year there were some significant
The Additional Qualification courses did swing into high gear
as is usual in the summer. But teachers also flocked to numerous summer institutes
developed by the Ontario Teachers Federation and its affiliates, in partnership with
the Ministry of Education. The response to these courses has been fantastic, with most
courses filled immediately and long waiting lists.
These institutes responded to a need that teachers have
identified as urgent for a long time professional knowledge about new curriculum at
both the elementary and secondary levels. Thousands of teachers gladly gave up their time
to learn more about new curriculum and its delivery.
Congratulations to all who attended summer programs, to the
many teachers involved in their delivery and in particular to the sponsors of new programs
which responded in a timely way to a demonstrated need.
Just as thousands of teachers were eager to use personal time as study time this
summer, I hope that many of you will look positively at associate teaching during this
school year. While there is additional work involved in the fall, student teachers, as
they develop their sea legs, do contribute and by spring can provide collegial assistance
in the classroom.
I had not noticed the trend towards placing a single student
with each associate and would like to suggest taking a pair of student teachers is often
easier and provides more creative opportunities than the one-on-one situation.
When students are paired they learn by observation of each
other as well as by observation of the experienced. They also provide emotional support
and an additional source of ideas to each other when things do not go according to plan
and this will happen. While having two students may appear to be more demanding on
the host teacher, my personal experience was that this was so only in the initial stages
and that their ability to work co-operatively actually reduced some of the time and
Another arrangement for associate teaching involves a school
or department taking shared responsibility. This has its attractions and provides the
advantage of more varied placements. It does, however, require careful planning and
co-operative assessment of the students progress.
Associate teachers have a critical role to play in ensuring that student teachers
have the capacity to
manage a classroom and deliver the mandated curriculum
completely. They must assess honestly whether or not an individual candidate has
successfully demonstrated competence and, in addition, shows empathy for students and an
understanding of their diverse needs.
Associate teachers are significant players in the evaluation
of prospective teachers and in the question of whether or not a dean should recommend an
individual for a licence to teach. The new video from the University of Western
Ontarios Althouse Press, Where Its A.T. Focus on the Associate Teacher,
examines the role of the systems most influential teacher educators through the eyes
of associate teachers and teacher candidates. If youre wondering whether this
challenge is for you, you could order the video from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our students deserve caring and competent graduates from
Ontarios faculties of education. When you agree to serve as an associate teacher you
will have an opportunity to lay the foundation for the education of thousands of children
over decades to come.
If you are ready for this demanding but rewarding role, talk
to your department head or principal.