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Shortage of Technological Teachers Reaching Critical Levels

September 25 2002

September 25, 2002 (Toronto) Ontarios secondary schools are in dire need of technology teachers. Almost four out of 10 tech-qualified Ontario teachers will retire by 2005, an Ontario College of Teachers study in 2000 found. Given the dearth of qualified tech people entering teaching, the shortage is fast becoming a crisis.

"Were racing against the clock," says Michael Scott, co-chair of the Ontario Council of Technological Education. "You can hear the shop doors closing all over the province."

Thirty seven per cent of qualified technological studies teachers are expected to retire by 2005. College forecasts estimate 58 per cent or 2,738 will leave teaching by 2010.

"School boards are required to ensure that every classroom in Ontario is staffed by a qualified and certified teacher," says Ontario College of Teachers Registrar Joe Atkinson. "Ultimately, the public our children will suffer if we dont identify and understand the problems and find solutions.

"When technological education was overhauled in the mid-1990s, the trade-specific focus gave way to a broadened approach. Over 50 courses, from auto body to cosmetology, were funnelled into seven broad-based areas. Unfortunately, there has also been a funnelling of teachers through attrition out of the system.

Tech studies teachers bring real world experience to the classroom. Theyre former engineers, chefs, nurses and auto service technicians. Theyve directed television shows and produced commercials. Theyre subject specialists who teach Communications Technology, Construction Technology, Hospitality Services, Manufacturing Technology, Personal Services, Technological Design and Transportation Technology.

Consider:

  • Scarboroughs Stephen Chan Manufacturing Technology teacher at Woburn C.I., whose 3,000-square-foot shop houses a hovercraft, a prototype of the worlds largest yoyo, and cardboard boats that can float five students across a 25-metre pool.
  • Markhams Ryan Wineberg Communications Technology teacher at Markville S.S., whose students produced an award-winning TV commercial to combat teen drinking and driving and were immortalized by the Royal Canadian Mint on a quarter as a result.
  • St. Catharines Guy Lamarre Transportation and Construction Technology teacher at Denis Morris High School, whose students constructed over 100 planes, trains, cars and puzzles as Christmas gifts for the communitys underprivileged children.
  • Renfrews Bill Lunney Integrated Technology teacher at St. Josephs High School, whose students designed and built wind generators, one nine feet in diameter, from recycled auto parts.
  • Bramptons Katie Levalds Personal Services, Health Care Technology teacher at Brampton Centennial SS, whose nine-year career in critical care and recovery room experience were vital to creating a cutting-edge Grade 12 curriculum document on medical technology.
  • Sarnias Eleanore Lannin Communications Technology teacher at St. Patricks High School, who parlayed her previous experience in television production as the director of 100 Huntley Street, the first daily television program in Canada, into a passion for teaching students everything from photography and computer animation to desktop publishing.
  • Londons Greg Murray Hospitality Services teacher at Sir George Ross SS , who once worked as a sous-chef at Torontos Scaramouche restaurant, cooked for rock star Keith Richards and taught culinary management part-time at Fanshawe College, prior to finding the perfect recipe for teaching Technological Studies in London.

"What students use and learn in technology today theyll use to power Canadas workforce and economy in the future," says Margaret Buchanan, faculty of education academic counsellor at The University of Western Ontario, and chair, Technological Studies Subcommittee, Association of Education Registrars of Ontario Universities. "Hiring experienced, trade-savvy professionals to teach our young people is a priority in education."

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The Ontario College of Teachers licences, governs and regulates the profession of teaching in the public interest. It sets standards of practice and ethical standards, conducts disciplinary hearings and accredits teacher education programs affecting its 185,000 members in publicly funded schools and institutions across Ontario. The College is the largest self-regulatory body in Canada. Visit the College's web site at www.oct.ca.

For more information, please contact:

  • Margaret Buchanan, faculty of educations academic counsellor at The University of Western Ontario, 519-661-2111, Ext. 88541
  • Denys Giguère, media relations officer at the Ontario College of Teachers,
    416-961-8800, ext. 221 or toll-free in Ontario at 1-888-534-2222

101 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON, M5S 0A1, P: 416-961-8800 / Toll Free (Ontario Only): 1-888-534-2222 / F: 416-961-8822 / info@oct.ca

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