Volume 91, Issue 37

Tuesday, November 4, 1997

till you drop


Qualifications key

Re: Teachers have no business striking, Oct.31

To the Editor:
I am responding to comments made by Paul Andrusyshyn regarding teachers.

Firstly, Paul fails to mention the government's reasoning behind teachers teaching all day without preparation time. Government wants teachers to spend more time teaching, but increased teacher time in the classroom does not increase student time in the the classroom. However, it tires teachers faster and reduces their availability for extra-curricular activities and for extra help. Teachers already work 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., plus afternoons, nights and weekends.

Paul is correct that teachers use the summer for preparation, as most spend several weeks at school in the summer. However, it is hard to prepare in August for a class in December.

Furthermore, if teachers teach more classes, fewer teachers will be needed. Fired teachers are unavailable extra-curricularly. Students will spend less time with fewer teachers. Imagine a school without sports, bands, plays, clubs and other mind-expanding activities.

Should unqualified teachers be hired? Some people teach well naturally, but as university students we see many untrained professors who simply can't.

Paul wants people from industry teaching [the students] the exact skills they will need in the workplace. How will students, having only these specific skills, adapt to new situations? Education is about providing a broad base of skills, teaching how to learn and how to think independently.

Many high school teachers have real-world experience. For example, my music, drama, physical education, accounting, chemistry and computer teachers. These people know their industry, but also know how to teach.

A professional Stratford Festival musician (and retired UWO music professor) gives seminars in music classes at my high school. He doesn't lack knowledge or experience, except in teaching kids and handling disciplinary problems. He says he couldn't actually teach high school classes. This should be left to qualified teachers.

Phil Mullin
Kinesiology II

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Copyright The Gazette 1997