Volume 94, Issue 59

Tuesday, January 9, 2001


Editorial Board 2000-2001

Real teachers won't mind the numbers

Editorial Cartoon

Real teachers won't mind the numbers

Applications to teacher's college have dropped 27 per cent from 1999 figures and teachers are quick to blame Mike Harris and the provincial Tories. 1999 saw 15,572 applications and 2000 saw 11,300.

Teachers claim the atmosphere in the education system is scaring away any potential applicants. Provincial legislation as the dreaded 1997 Bill 160 which saw a two week teachers' strike across the province and the 2000 Bill 74 seem to have a detrimental effect on those considering teaching as a profession.

High school teachers now teach more classes and have less time to prepare for those classes. Class sizes are supposedly smaller but in practice, seem larger than previous years. The fact that the government was thinking of legislating mandatory supervision of extracurricular activities seemed to get teachers angry.

The government professed the statistics are truncated, as applications in 1999 dramatically increased from 1998, and 2000's numbers are still higher than past years, excluding 1999. Therefore, the changes in the education system imposed by the government do not seem to have much negative effect on students' impression of teaching as a profession.

It can be argued the value of a teacher is going down and as teachers seem to be under-appreciated, less people are enticed to enter the profession. But the provincial government cannot always be blamed.

Applications to teacher's college are still greater than the number of spots available. Those not applying because of the current situation are not the ones who truly love teaching.

Teacher's colleges are the natural beneficiaries of those that are still not sure about their careers and are looking for an easy way to secure their future. Many people have come to the end of their undergraduate studies and do not know what to do with their bachelors degree. Teaching suddenly seems like a possibility, especially with the thought of continuing summer holidays and Christmas breaks. If these are the potential applicants scared away, then it might not be a big loss after all.

Those really dedicated to the profession will realize Mike Harris and his Tories will not remain in power forever, and in a few years, more changes will occur in the education system. If Harris' changes are really as detrimental as reported, then future governments would likely legislate their own changes to improve the education situation. If teaching is in your blood, you'll undoubtedly weather the Harris storm.

If you don't want to be a teacher simply because of Harris' policies, then you really don't deserve to be in the industry.

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