September 13, 2012
While pension issues have kept OTF busy, there have been a number of non-pension events this fall. You will read about many of these events in this issue of Interaction. However, I would like to talk about common themes from the People for Education conference and the Sharing the Learning Summit.
The messages from both conferences were similar. Teachers are important, collaboration among teachers is essential, and teachers must better communicate what we do to help students learn. We all know that the professionalism of teachers is under attack. For example, a program in the United States, Teach for America, promotes only six weeks of training for prospective teachers. This pyramid scheme of hiring results in 85% of those hired and assigned to disadvantaged schools leaving the profession by their fourth year. They leave long before they have mastered the craft of teaching. These programs miss the important concepts of mentorship, growing teacher leaders, on-going renewal and collaboration among teachers that are so important for us to move forward.
We also have an important role to play in assuring the public that Ontario has one of the best education systems in the world. Teachers seem to be hesitant to promote what they do but this has to change. Teachers must begin to share their successes—with other teachers, with administration, with family and friends, and especially, with the media. The media might not always print the “good news” story, but, as Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.”
On another note, as has been the custom, OTF will not be mailing cards this year. Instead, OTF is making a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC), a voluntary, non-profit organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research for diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s and myeloma. As well, the organization provides education and patient services.
Finally, but most importantly, I wish you, your family and friends all the peace and joy of the season, and a new year of happiness in a world of peace.