Malisa Mezenberg 1994-1995
It is amazing how quickly another year slips away. As part of the teaching cycle, it is important to reflect upon the events of the past year, and look forward to what might be in store in our future.
It has been a year of living with the ramifications of the implementation of the Transition Years Document, and most recently how to deal with the directions outlined by the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Leaming. Educators at all levels of education are expected to implement these changes and deal with increasing responsibilities with decreasing resources. The policies and programs needed to implement the educational priorities of this government will be most interesting. More than ever the expertise of our members will be required to provide a voice in the newly fon-ning parent groups and partnerships arising from the various sectors of society.
As an association, we have continued to gain much esteem from the successful activities this Association has undertaken in the past year. As various sectors of society are becoming more involved with the educational process, members of our Association are continually approached to provide expertise and counsel on numerous steering and review committees. It is about time we are recognized as the network of experts in the field of science education! The Ministry of Training and Education has invited STAO to provide consultative advice in review of SAIP and the Junior Science Instrument Pool and we are able to act as a subject advisory group to organizations such as TVO, OTF Curriculum Forum, Royal Society of Canada, Science Network of Ontario, Curriculum Clearinghouse, Women's Directorate, G.E.N.E., Deep River Academy of Science, Canada-Wide Science Fairs and other such groups.
Teacher development and empowerment are issues facing all our members. Conferences remain as a major networking of people and ideas within our organization. STAO'94 has proven itself to be one of the most successftil and profitable conferences ever held by the Association. We are all indebted to Conference Co-Chairs Bob Giza and Nadine Wright and their committees for their many hours of hard work resulting in a top-rated conference. At this time, Board members are in coordinating positions of upcoming regional conferences in Thunder Bay and North Bay. STAO '95 is shaping up beautifully under the creativity and energy of STAO'95 Chair Irwin Talesnick and his many comnlittees (see page 24 for further details). And further down the line, the planning is beginning for the joint STAO-NSTA (National Science Teachers' Association) Conference scheduled for November 1996.
In the past two years, our Association has been reshaped by the process of change. We have carefully reviewed and rewritten sections of our constitution, and by-laws, and are now reviewing the policy and procedures document. This review process has caused us to reexamine the purpose of STAO, and in the face of so many other changes, restructure the way we operate to address the changing needs of our membership and allow us to function more effectively as an organization. We must continue to focus on who we are and what we can do as an association to assist our profession in offering the best science education possible to the students of Ontario. After all, they are why we are teachers.
How do you fit in? STAO is run on the time and commitment of its members. Give me, or someone on the Board a call, indicating what aspect of science education you might be interested in becoming involved with. All of us have talents and with STAO's breadth of initiatives, all of us can find a way to express those talents in STAO. We, as an association, are only as informed, networked and active as our individual members! Trust me, you will get much more out of the Association than you contribute.
It is hard for me to believe my term of office as President has ended. The pace has been hectic, but the rewards have been plentiful. This year has been most rewarding personally and professionally. Three years ago I would not have believed it possible that I could represent such a prestigious association, never mind run a Board meeting. It has been the tremendous support and counsel of my Executive and Board of Directors that have allowed me to see and develop the potential within me. For this, and the honour of working with such dedicated, first-class educators attracted to STAO, I thank you. One of my favourite quotes comes from Giovani Ruffini, "A teacher is like a candle which lights others in consuming itself." STAO has helped me to rekindle my light, without being consumed by the demands of the teaching profession.