This Week in Ontario Edublogs


Members of OSSTF, ETFO, AEFO, and OECTA will be on a one day strike today.

Reporting here.

It was a great reading week for blog posts from Ontario Edubloggers. Here are some that I caught up with.

Annual Teacher Observation

Aviva Dunsiger was inspired by last week’s post from Laura Bottrell about TPA, NTIP … goodness know that education loves a good acronym.

But first, this video courtesy of Stephen Hurley…

In Aviva’s case, she shares how she managed to escape the evaluation process in those early years. Of course not on purpose; this was long before TPA and NTIP. I didn’t miss that in my professional career. As important as it purports to be, it really was a contrived classroom experience. Typically, you know it’s coming, you make sure that most things are neat and organised, and you prep the kids. Just don’t repeat a lesson lest the comment “We already did this, Sir” comes out.

Interestingly, Lisa Corbett chimed in via reply that she had the same situation when she moved to Ontario for a career. I wonder if this was before superintendents learned how to use spreadsheets.

Fortunately, we’ve gone beyond that one shot evaluation and the whole New Teacher program is an expanded and worthwhile activity now. At least, in my old board, it made Harry Wong a name that all new teachers immediately recognized.

Despite Aviva being overlooked in those early years, she has now earned the classroom cred and now serves as a mentor for new teachers herself.

Class Size Matters: Then and Now

In 1973, Deb Weston was in Grade 5. The class had 29 students. These are her good ol’ days. She even included a picture but didn’t identify which one was her.

Hands up silently if you remember…

  • Your classroom teacher wasn’t qualified
  • You sat in alphabetical order and faced the front; no talking
  • Students who needed special education had their own separate class
  • Sometimes, there were students who “failed” or “skipped” a year
  • There were Education assistants but they were in the Special Education room
  • Discipline was meted out with a strap or a belt
  • There were 29 or some other number students in your class

Fast forward to today and so many of these things have changed for the better. Way better.

So, maybe the good ol’ days weren’t so good after all. It’s a message for those who would like to see education in the province return to this way of doing business.

Of course, the good old days weren’t necessarily like this in private schools.

Which Steps Will You Take?

Rola Tibshirani is back blogging. Yay!

This is kind of a long blog post as she catches us up on what’s going on in her professional life. The first part reveals a great part of her philosophy of teaching and the students she greets every day.

There is so much in that one paragraph! You’ll find that that is but a start when you read her post.

In addition to all this, Rola shares a couple of presentations that she gave during the fall…

  • BIT 2019 – How Does Collaborative Learning Support Social Emotional Learning
  • TransformEd – Unlock limitless learning

And slidedecks that go along with this. I found the second one particularly powerful since it’s a collection of Twitter messages. The messages themselves are powerful but even more power lies in the ability for a teacher to reach out to a network to support their work.

By itself, that’s an important takeaway message.

Slice of Life: Feedback

Why can’t we be more positive with each other?

This section is actually two posts – one from Lisa Corbett and the other from Paul McGuire. Both deal with feedback although in a couple of different ways. Yet, there’s a common thread that binds.

In Lisa’s post, she shares her frustration with getting inadequate feedback from a university professor. In the process, she mentions APA style which formed the direction of the professor’s comment. I had to smile a bit; I remember in high school studying APA, Chicago, and Turabian styles. We learned (or memorized) the fussy bits and at the end were told to just formally learn one. I think I chose Chicago and then got clobbered by a university professor whose life revolved around Turabian.

The point should be mostly on content; shouldn’t it? Published professors send their content off to a company to get the job done. Lisa’s post reminded me about how good a job K12 teachers do in providing feedback. They recognize that it should be ongoing, inspire improvement, and often is geared for an audience of more than one person. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect the same from a university professor.

After all, when you live and breathe it and it becomes part of your professional practice, It shouldn’t be different anywhere else.

Paul’s post took a couple of different directions. Public disclosure; I was the anonymous friend that Paul included with Heather in having comments made publicly that were like “smacking you in the face”. I’m so sorry to read that Heather went through a similar situation in public. Have we evolved to an online world where one-up-person-ship rules and the last stinging comment wins?

That takes us to the second part of Paul’s post where he shares some of the feedback from his Faculty of Education class. It’s almost scary to think that these two are on the verge of becoming teachers.

So unfortunate to have an instructor with a traditional lens on history.

Sorry, but we stand today on the shoulders of giants who paved the way before us. Too often, the latest and greatest theory is just a fad.

there were too many presentation assignments

Come the fall, these presentations will earn you a pay cheque! Instead of complaining, why not craft your skill before a “friendly audience” before it gets real. This person would have been floundering in my university class. Not only was every student expected to teach a topic but the rest of the class designed the assessments.

In defence of the students, it’s important to remember that they’re transitioning from a university experience to one that’s in K12. I hope that they remain in touch with Paul to share how things turn out for them.

Out of My Mind and Into My Memory Bank

There’s so much described in this post from Sue Bruyns. First, she’s leaving her office to drop in and watch classes in action – there’s no indication that this is a NTIP deally…. Secondly, the teacher doesn’t shift gears from what she’s doing just because the principal is in the room. Thirdly, the students weren’t distracted either and were so riveted on the story that it sounds like they ignored Sue and their snacks because they wanted to listen to the story being read to them.

Anyway, back to the post … Sue was riveted as well and went out and bought the book so that she could read it. It took her back in time to a classroom with a couple of special needs students. And, that brought back some thoughts about that time…

Oh how I wish I could go back in time. I was never unkind or mean to Debbie, like Claire or Molly, but I didn’t step up and take the time to get to know her like I wish I had.

Don’t we all wish that we could go back and relive things?

There’s a wonderful comment added to this post.

3 Identical Ornaments

If you are fortunate enough to still have your parents, you may not be as impacted by this blog post from Ramona Meharg.

I struggled whether to include it or not. It’s very personal to Ramona and I’m hoping that my thoughts are received as very understanding of her writing.

I’m also struggling with my own emotions as I type this.

One of the saddest things that you’ll ever do is clean out a house or room after a beloved family member passes. Everything that you touch has a memory and an importance attached to it.

Imagine this.

Do Ramona a favour and read her entire post.

Do you know what is happening in Ontario?

This week’s “State of the Province” comes from Jennifer Casa-Todd.

Sorry, right wing Conservative types; there is nothing in there about Jennifer wanting a raise or increased benefits.

She’s explaining for those who care to read a couple of the issues that are important to her.

  • Class sizes
  • Mandatory e-learning

In the post, Jennifer expands on each from her perspective. This perspective, as she notes, may be biased.

Actually, I would hope that her perspective is indeed biased. Without bias and a passion for the position, it would be more difficult to withdraw services and march a picket line in the middle of winter.

Please take some time and click through and enjoy all of these wonderful posts.

Then, make sure that you’re following them on Twitter to stay in touch.

  • Aviva Dunsiger – @avivaloca
  • Deb Weston – @DrDWestonPhD
  • Rola Tibshirani – @rolat
  • Lisa Corbett – @LisaCorbett0261
  • Paul McGuire – @mcguirp
  • Sue Bruyns – @sbruyns
  • Ramona Meharg – @RamonaMeharg
  • Jennifer Casa-Todd – @JCasaTodd

This post appears on:

If you read it anywhere else, it’s not the original.

The voicEd Radio show appears here.


4 thoughts on “This Week in Ontario Edublogs

  1. Thanks for reading and sharing my post, Doug. It was a very personal post, but one that pushed me to write again, even though it was so very difficult to write. It was one that I felt I needed to write. You honour me in the way you wrote about it. By including it, you also spurred me to finish and publish a post I’ve been working on and off with for over a month. I bookended my picket duty today by doing just that.


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