ETFO members who ran for office in the provincialelection reﬂect on the qualities that teachers bring topolitics and on the impact of the campaign experience on their teaching.
Katy Austin, NDP – Simcoe-Grey Katy Austin says that running for oﬃce has underscored the importance of teaching critical thinking skills and encouraging students to take an active role in the democratic process. Being a teacher contributed to her conﬁdence in public speaking and her ability to multitask during a campaign. Austin retired this spring after 23 years as a full-time teacher and currently has a long-term occasional assignment.
Cory Judson, NDP – Burlington Cory Judson ran for oﬃce in large part because as a teacher he sees the impact of poverty and the lack of aﬀordable housing and nonproﬁt licensed childcare. He identiﬁes organization, goal setting, and self-reﬂection as useful teaching skills he brought to his candidacy. Back in his grade 5/6 classroom in Brantford, Judson values the enhanced critical thinking skills he acquired as a candidate and the experience of having to consider issues from diﬀerent perspectives.
Yvette Blackburn,NDP – Scarborough-Agincourt
Yvette Blackburn’s candidacy attracted strong support from her grade 8 students in Scarborough, many of whom volunteered in her campaign. Blackburn believes their involvement improved their leadership skills and got them more involved in the Student Vote campaign that coincided with the election.
Blackburn has also worked as a program counsellor for at-risk visible minority students, an employment readiness counsellor for women facing barriers to workplace participation, and an instructor with a police foundations program.
Frank de Jong, Green Party – Davenport
As leader of the Green Party, Frank de Jong is a seasoned campaigner, having run for federal and provincial oﬃce a dozen times. These experiences have deepened his understanding of how politics aﬀects education and strengthened his commitment to teach young people about their civic responsibilities and the importance of being politically engaged. Teaching has helped de Jong be well organized, listen before speaking, and read his audience. His assignment as a half-time teacher of grade 7 and 8 design and technology provides him time