We are now well into the month June and our Masters students have recently graduated from their teacher education program. Another year passes with new teachers eager to journey into their own classrooms.
The hustle and bustle of the year: the class discussions, the stressful assignments, the dreaded group work, the interesting one on one meetings, the challenging practicum placements, and the joys of watching students learn … is distant now as the halls and student lounge are empty and there is a quiet calm at the faculty. At our graduation celebration last week I felt the relief, rejoice, and excitement of the graduates. I also sensed the uncertainty, concern and frustration.
Right now, in Ontario, there are significant challenges in teaching: jobs are still sparse, the unions are in tension with the Ministry and teachers are on “work to rule”, curriculum is being protested, and positions that are in most need continue to be cut. It is hard teaching these realities of teaching to new teachers who only want to celebrate the learning of children in their classrooms. Can you ever prepare new teachers for the realities of the classroom?
It seems we do a fine job of curriculum preparation but because teaching is a relational act, so much of the learning remains to be had. I (Yiola) believe our graduates are very well prepared for the classroom. They have learned and experienced enough and more to be able to enter a classroom and teach with confidence and competence. There will be set backs and disappointments, there will be hurdles and successes. Teaching is dynamic, unpredictable, and spontaneous. Our graduates have the tools they need but they will need perseverance and strong hearts along the way. I wish our graduates all the best as they enter the profession.
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