CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Teacher tells it like it is

By Sharon Aschaiek
Special to the Toronto Sun

As a primary school teacher at John D. Parker Junior School in Etobicoke, Joanna Kagal has more than her fair share of stories to tell.
Joanna Kagal

But five years into her career, she is still discovering new things about her profession and encountering new challenges.

Below, Kagal discusses the highlights of the profession, and the hard work and compassion it demands.

Q: What is it that you like about teaching?

A: I like the challenge of putting together my own lessons and watching the kids progress.

I think as a teacher there is some flexibility in the way you deliver the curriculum, and I try to be creative. I also try to get as much representation from the kids as possible.

Q: What do you find are the biggest challenges of teaching?

A: Sometimes there's a concept in the curriculum that the kids don't understand, and you have to go back and re-teach it or find another approach.

It's also always a challenge to deliver the program so that children just learning English can also get something out of it.

Q: What's the biggest reward of teaching?

A: What's rewarding is seeing their emotional and academic progress. When you see them in September they might be emotionally immature, but by May you see how much they've matured.

The best is teaching a lesson about one thing and having a student bring up a point from a previous lesson and connect it to the current subject.

It's rewarding to know that you inspired them to think and problem solve.

Also, there's so much information and help -- there's always a conference to go to, a consultant to talk to, always an opportunity to grow and improve your performance.

Q: What qualities do you need to be a good teacher?

A: You need to be patient with children and patient with parents.

You should be thick skinned and learn not take everything the kids say personally.

You have to be a team player and you have to love kids.

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