Image promotes professionalism in education
Education student Vanessa Spelliscy (centre) with her award winning poster promoting the annual (E)merging Professionals Conference for education pre-interns. Spelliscy is joined by Education Students’ Society representative Andrea Rogers (L) and Kathleen Badali, conference coordinator from the Faculty of Education. -Photo by AV Services

When Vanessa Spelliscy set out to create a poster for the Faculty of Education's upcoming (E)merging Professionals Conference, she knew it wouldn't include the traditional image of an apple on the teacher's desk. What she wanted was an image that was "more professional", but she concedes the result even surprised her a bit.

"As teachers, we need to find new ways of doing things, and I wanted to express that" says Spelliscy, who only began taking painting last May. "I find that painting is good way to express my feelings, so the poster has lots of colour." Spelliscy's approach was a success as her image was selected by the Education Students' Society, first-time sponsors of the conference poster contest.

Spelliscy will be one of about 300 pre-intern Education students attending the conference January 6 and 7, 2010. The conference is designed to expose students to topics and issues they may face when they do their internships in schools, and later in their careers. The keynote speakers will be U of R President Dr. Vianne Timmons and educational consultant Dr. Shauneen Pete. Topics will cover everything from legal issues teachers face, to teaching about the treaties, to learning through play, and how to use the many specialized sources of learning materials available.

Kathleen Badali, who coordinates student experiences in the community for the Faculty, is one of the conference organizers. "We want students to consider their emerging sense of professionalism, their growing responsibilities for their professional growth and the wealth of directions that professional development may take," Badali says. It's also an opportunity for all pre-intern students in Education programs affiliated with the U of R to interact with their peers and future colleagues, she adds.

Participating students will come from a variety of programs: Elementary, Secondary, Arts Education, the Baccalauréat en Éducation Française, Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program, and the Indigenous Education Program at the First Nations University of Canada. Invitations have also been extended to students in the Northern Teacher Education Program, Yukon Native Teacher Education Program and the Nunavut Arctic College Teacher Education Program.

Jed Huntley participated in the conference in January 2008, and he would go again if he had the chance. "I have a particular interest in outdoor education and physical education, so those sessions really interested me. I was also deeply impressed by the presentation by Norm Yakubowski (of the Canadian Red Cross) on violence and abuse prevention," says Huntley, who will graduate from the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program in April 2010.

As for Spelliscy, she is looking forward to the conference, her internship and graduation in December 2010. While her Education program currently has a major in Health and a minor in Physical Education, her experiences with painting have her thinking about Art Education as a future option. Whatever direction her formal studies take, Spelliscy wants to help her future students find their identity and make it stronger. "That happened more for me in University," she says, "and I'd like to pull that experience to the high school level because I think it's so important."

Watch for information about the (E)merging Professionals Conference: Interrelated Issues in Education at