Class of 2015 teacher candidates welcomed to the profession

By: Cory Habermehl
September 12, 2014


Teacher Candidate John Szasz, second from right, with Faculty of Education Associate Dean Dr. Margaret McNay, second from left, and his parents Steve and Laurie at the Pledge and Pin Ceremony.

John Szasz fell in love with teaching after years of donating his time to working with kids.

“I was always a pretty active volunteer,” he said. “I worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters, in group homes, even at my old high school – I just loved connecting with people.”

When the 23-year-old Brantford native completed an undergraduate degree from Western University in Biological and Medical Sciences, he decided to take his love of teaching to a professional level. Today, he was one of more than 600 teacher candidates welcomed into the profession at the second-annual Pledge and Pin ceremony at Western’s Faculty of Education.

“You now have the amazing privilege of being able to nurture, mould and cultivate our future society,” Dr. Vicki Schwean, Dean of the Faculty of Education told the assembled candidates. “This is a responsibility few professionals will ever be able to engage in or understand; you are tremendously lucky.”

During the annual ceremony, new students in the Bachelor of Education program stand as a group to formally pledge to uphold professional standards and adhere to principles of integrity and ethical conduct at all times in their future profession. It serves as both a formal welcome into the teaching profession, and a reminder of the tremendous responsibilities associated with pursuing teaching as a career. It is the only ceremony of its kind in a Canadian faculty of education.

Special guests Michelle Longlade, Director of Standards of Practice and Accreditation with the Ontario College of Teachers and Rhonda Kimberley-Young, Secretary-Treasurer with the Ontario Teachers’ Federation were in attendance to deliver remarks to candidates.

The guests, along with Dr. Margaret McNay, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Education also administered the pledge to candidates, and presented each with a pin representing associate membership with the Ontario Federation of Teachers.

“Congratulations to you all,” said McNay. “This is a very symbolically important undertaking.”

For Szasz, the ceremony was a powerful reminder of the significance of his chosen profession, and the impact he can have on future generations.

“This was a great way to reinforce to all of us how truly lucky we are,” he said. “I’m a teacher and that is really important. It feels great.”


To the Faculty of Education

I promise to observe Faculty of Education principles of academic integrity and ethical conduct.

I commit myself to integrity and ethical conduct in all I do.

To the Ontario Teachers’ Federation

I promise to observe those policies, bylaws and guidelines that apply to Associate Members of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.

I commit myself to behave professionally and to uphold professional standards in all I do.

To the Ontario College of Teachers

I promise to observe the Standards of Practice for the teaching profession as articulated by the Ontario College of Teachers. I commit myself to my students, professional knowledge, shared leadership, informed professional practice and ongoing professional learning.

I promise to observe the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession as articulated by the Ontario College of Teachers. I commit myself to care, respect, trust and integrity.


I pledge, on my honour, to fulfill to the best of my ability the promises I have made today as a Teacher Candidate at Western and as an Associate Member of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.