Professional Development for Teachers

Back to article »

  • Interesting comments on teacher upgrades from Drake University. While you have looked at the financial costs of these courses, consider this – these types of course offerings have gone on for a much longer time. Check back over time to see the variety that have just now begun to get noticed.

    Universities need money and teachers want more pay. It seems to reason, based on dollars and cents, that offering courses that teachers would take is one obvious result.

    But there is also a deeper implication (In fact there are many, but I will expand on one). There is little or no motivation to spend more time on more academic courses. Why study for hours on a math, English, or science course when others can get a pay raise with less effort. Also, considering that the hiring practices place a higher value on more education, Masters vs Bachelor of Education, teachers who take more courses are more likely to get promoted. Not all degrees are equal, but in hiring practices it is difficult to challenge this belief. There are many results of this course of action, but the one that stands out most is if these are values of the education system that we believe in and if these are the types of individuals that get promoted, how many of these are leaders of our education system today?

    Does the cream always rise to the top?

    Cody | May 8, 2014 | Reply

  • This is a good article but only touches the tip of the problem, which the Drake Universirt courses emphasize. There are far too many teachers in our education system that are there to accumulate pensionable years and only provide substandard teaching to their students. It is a shame but I feel that is the root of the problem. A few months ago there was aqn article in the Chronicle Herald by an Ontario Educator I believe with many recommendations for improving our education system. The recommendation that struck me most was conducting performance reviews on every teacher. This is a necessity to get rid of the high priced dead wood in the system. This evaluation should be conducted every two years with students being among the evaluators. However the NSTU laughed this off and stated it was an Ontario solution and not a problem in Nova Scotia. For being so out of touch, all education decisions must be removed from their mandate. The government must also be a whole lot smarter in what they do. I thought Karen would bring some wisdom and common sense to the department as she certainly has the credentials from her previous life, but she has not. It is definitely time for NEW thinking that will allow the province to achieve positive results and hopefully someone, hopefully Karen, will stand up to be that champion.

    Richard Randall | May 7, 2014 | Reply

  • I am a retired teacher living in Cape Breton. Except for 3 yrs in Halifax, I taught in Ontario.I have three degrees–two at Dal, (including an honours degree) one at the Ont. Institute for Studies in Ed. and M.Ed. that institute enjoys a very good reputation.

    I taught English in Ontario’s high school system. I was a specialist in that subject. I have 8 Eng. courses from Dal and I took two at the University of Toronto. That gave me, with appropriate inspections, the highest category. Cat. IV.

    In NS, I only qualified for a TC6. To get to a TC7 I would have to go to university in the fall or summer.
    I would probably be able to take a guidance module, or a computer module, courses having nothing to do with my specialty. I sense that those upgrading courses are BIRD courses.

    My point. is simple: certification in NS has cost the NS government millions and, in many cases,as you say, students did not benefit.

    When I returned to Cape Breton, I was elected to the school board. I learned that there are more TC8s in Cape Breton than anywhere else in NS.

    I am supposing that the reason is that if you can increase your licence through questionable courses, it stands to reason that you will do so.

    What do you think? Sorry for the abbreviations. YOU MUST KEEP THIS GOING.

    LeRoy | May 6, 2014 | Reply

  • Excellent article explaining the deficiencies in the professional development strategy currently in use. I am a strong advocate for change in our system having watched my children endure many wasted hours and sub-standard teaching. They all prevailed but mostly due to the extra funds i invested into the private system. I believe that something needs to change to reward the good teachers, of whom there are many. It would be wonderful to see a complete overhaul of both the way in which teachers are chosen and rewarded but indeed to see a complete reworking of the structure of the day to better reflect the reality that both caregivers are working. I wonder to what extent we could reduce the cost to mental health, the health and the justice systems were students in attendance from 8:30 to 5:30 with a wide variety of academic and extra curricular activities on offer. Just saying. Keep up the good work. excellent and thoughtful.

    Maureen | May 5, 2014 | Reply

  • Minister Casey and Cabinet should be ashamed of themselves for so easily rolling over under Union pressure. This teacher reward system needs to be thrown out altogether and replaced with something closer to what one would find in most businesses and industries – reward commensurate with specific need and added value to products and services for the customer.

    Its time to take back education and teaching from the unions.

    John Olmstead | May 4, 2014 | Reply

  • If these distance learning programs are useful….maybe we should suggest all students have the option? Kids at rural schools that have long bus rides can work from home, sit in on a classroom in a school virtually that has higher math scores, why not just have the “best teachers” in the province lecture to all students virtually and have helpers at the school sites around the province?
    It would be a great way for the teachers to show how great virtual learning works and cut some unqualified teachers? I am sure the Union would say virtual learning does not work! 🙂
    Just throwing out the idea.
    THANK YOU for writing the article today. I hope someone that can make a difference is able to read and change course on this wasteful practice.

    Jeff | May 4, 2014 | Reply

  • As much as you and I are on opposite ends of the political train I do read your articles whether I agree or not. I think it makes for a health comparison of what’s going on. Having said that ,and even to the point I emailed you about your “out of touch ” stance on the nurses ,you are BANG ON !!!!!!!!! about Karen
    Casey and rewarding the teachers for “bird credits “. Good article !!!!!
    I also did the math !!!! I think this has been engrained in teachers about “do what you can to
    > get ahead easy ” because of the salary rollbacks Savage did a few years ago , and that is still in living memory. But watch out HERE
    COMES THE NURSES !!!!! if this keeps up. The past and the future are interchangeable on many things . Thanks again for your “well written ” article.

    Hughie | May 4, 2014 | Reply

  • For years, persons with some understanding of the opportunities afforded teachers to substantially increase their salaries by upgrading their qualifications without the requirement of increased teaching responsibilities, has been well known.
    Now with the opportunity afforded by the on-line programs offered by Drake U, the Dept of Education has, following the system, substantially increased the salary of those who have recently successfully passed a program(s) that appears to fall substantially below the usual standard. The recent announcement of the Minister of Education, Karen Casey, related to this matter is more than surprising.
    Obviously this announcement was approved by Cabinet and it is another question one may well ask about the competency of Stephen McNeil’s government. I believe it has already been pointed out that this Drake graduate program will eventually cost NS taxpayers $50M.

    Bill Phillips | May 3, 2014 | Reply

  • This is an outrage; shame of Dept. of Edu.for leaving such a “door” open and more shame still on those who choose to prance through it…

    bob mackenzie | May 3, 2014 | Reply

  • Having a postgraduate degree in math doesn’t necessarily make someone a better math teacher.

    Bill Turpin | May 2, 2014 | Reply

  • Considering the system’s “shortcomings”, while professional upgrading is desirable, I want to point out that long before correcting unmeasured upgrading performance, a good injection of order needs to happen in the whole system.

    gordon a.... | May 2, 2014 | Reply

  • Yes, let’s reward performance rather than credentials beyond the level required for being hired. And let’s have teachers work in their area of expertise.

    Bill Rafuse | May 2, 2014 | Reply