Thanks to an invitation from leah.kearney I had the privilege of participating in the OISE Building Futures event on Monday, April 10th. I joined kwalton and her colleague, Yong Lee, from the Upper Grand District School board as experienced educators doing our best to offer perspective and perhaps answer some questions for this year's concurrent teacher education program graduates.
Led by stefaniemuhling, our conversations were informal and, where ever possible, driven by authentic questions and wonderings from the teacher candidates. As part of my participation I did my best to explain TeachOntario and demonstrate how the platform could be used as not only an excellent place to find ministry resources and planning tools but also a place to foster collaboration beyond the school level with like-minded educators around the province. The teacher candidates seemed excited to learn about the TeachOntario community and hopefully they'll all be joining us soon.
Through my discussions I learned that the next generation of educators in Ontario have the passion and enthusiasm they will need to be successful. They seem to understand that the most important characteristic of a great teacher is a never-ending desire to keep learning; these candidates are comfortable with the vision of teacher as lifelong learner which needs to be embraced by educators today perhaps more than ever.
The teacher candidates that I had the pleasure of speaking with also seemed to have the necessary perseverance to be successful in education. Through sharing their stories and practicum experiences, the candidates made it clear to me that they had already dealt with some of the realities that education has to offer. No placement is perfect just as we all know that every role in education has its own unique set of challenges. Despite being surprised by some of the difficulties they faced, those who shared some of their challenges were also undeterred by these experiences - if anything, they seemed to be further motivated by the obstacles they faced which is a mindset that will serve them well in the near future as they start their careers.
I was honoured to share my personal experiences with a genuinely interested audience who will hopefully benefit from their discussions with me. I've had a small peek into the future and I look forward to the contributions that these graduates will make to our profession.