President - Liz Stuart
When her headmaster told her she should become a teacher, Liz Stuart was “not sure what she wanted to do.” She ended up heeding that advice.
She grew up just outside of Manchester and did a four-year honours degree in education in the UK, where she majored in special education and English.
She found she really liked being around kids and has always taught at the elementary level. “I can’t imagine what else I would have done,” she says.
“I’ve always loved working with them – I just love sixth graders,” says Stuart. “They have their own opinions and are willing to share them. You get a lot of energy from them and even on the bad day, there’s always something that gives you a bit of a kick. ”
During the Rae Days, she was frozen on a grid for three years. She then became active in her school in the Mike Harris era and became a strike captain at her York school.
“I decided I kind of liked it and wanted to be more involved,” says Stuart.
This led to 25 years being active in OECTA. She joined the Collective Bargaining Committee in 1999 and has gone on to sit on numerous other committees and fill a variety of roles in the unit – including President from 2009-2014.
Stuart says the biggest misconception about teachers is that anyone can do it.
“No they can’t,” she says. “It’s a fabulous profession and I recommend it, but not everyone has the temperament for it. It requires a lot of patience and tolerance.”