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 publication style. To be considered for publication, letters must be signed and provide the writer's daytime phone number. Address letters to: The Editor, Professionally Speaking at or 121 Bloor Street East, Toronto, ON M4W 3M5.

Kudos, fees and curiosities


Kudos for the excellent article on Math Success. It is a subject very dear to my heart - having been a victim of "math angst" as a child and recently completing Math Specialist, Part 1.

I will be creating a workshop on these problem-solving strategies next year, as part of our school success team on math, technology and science. I tried a problem-solving approach to math about three years ago but I've learned more in the last two years and now find I have no students with math angst (90 per cent say that math is their favourite subject). The level of understanding has greatly increased, students are more communicative and they see the links to the real world.

I would like to copy this article for the next staff focus meeting. It is an excellent summary of all I've been learning in my aq course.

Janet Mason teaches Grade 3 at Glendale Public School, Peel District School Board.

Please note: Reproduction of articles from Professionally Speaking, in whole or in part, is encouraged. Please credit the Ontario College of Teachers and include publication date.

New tricks

Jennifer Barnett had excellent tips for first-time teachers in Starting with a Clean Slate. I have been teaching for six years but felt a little apprehensive returning to the classroom in 2003 after being home with my daughter.

In the past I began thinking in June of organizational tools and activities for the following September. Barnett's article gave me a much-needed refresher. Thanks!

Sherrie-Mae Guthrie teaches Grade 6 at Century Public School in the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.


Bravo on the latest issue!

It felt like a really professional magazine - interesting topics presented in a manner conducive to the relationship between members and their regulatory body.

Roger Lebel teaches history and world religions at école secondaire E. J. Lajeunesse, Conseil scolaire de district des écoles catholiques du Sud-Ouest.

Summit versus classroom

From the governance article, it seems this gathering only reaffirmed the status quo in education. Brian Jamieson wrote that the panel of experts included "noteworthy stakeholders" and asks, "Why were the teachers and students not at the summit in number?"

The answer may be that they too are bogged down with the "accountability virus" that permeates education today. More time is spent completing reports and preparing for standardized testing than ever before. We have a contingent of qualified experts in education who need to do what they do best, teach the children.

John Pecsenye is president of the Toronto Elementary Catholic Teachers of oecta - currently on leave from his position as an intermediate teacher.

College fees

When the Ontario College of Teachers raised membership fees we were informed that it was necessary to cover the costs of the Professional Learning Program (PLP). Now that plp has been lifted, Laframboise lists other new costs.

Why weren't these mentioned when the fee was initially increased? Her article gave the impression that members should not expect a fee decrease that reflects the plp cost. Again, my membership dollars wasted on ink that wasn't worth printing.

Jennifer Tobin is on maternity leave from teaching Grade 3 at Gandatsetiagon Public School in Durham District School Board.

When and how much?

Thank you for publishing your 2003 operating results. The significant surplus and cancellation of plp would suggest a substantial reduction in fees. When and how much that will be?

Ellen Michelson is on unpaid leave from Central Technical School in the Toronto District School Board. On her return she will teach finance and philosophy.

Mirror, mirror

I am curious about page 30 of the June issue. The lettering on the books is reversed. Is this a fluke or are you testing the detective abilities of your readers?

(I really like the new look and the article was great!)

Ed Szczepan teaches at Conestoga College of Applied Arts and Technology, Waterloo Regional District School Board.