David F. Boshra caught the teaching bug at the best time.
As the newly minted Master of Teaching graduate will attest, he gained an appreciation for teaching as an undergrad at U of T Mississauga – where he obtained an honours bachelors of science that included a minor in education studies.
And now that he has experienced the coursework, networking and practice of education, he’s grateful to have completed his two-year commitment. And he wants to pay that forward. “I don’t want to just be a great teacher. I want to ensure that there are great teachers out there,” he told OISE News.
“I want to be a teacher of teachers – to help prepare a new generation of teachers. If it ends only at you, you’ve done a good thing, but it ends there."
“But if you leave that kind of legacy for others, you are that change. So maybe I see myself in a Ministry position, maybe? I know I’d love to,” he added. “Do I see myself in other important places? I think so. OISE has been stepping stone for that.”
Motivated by making a difference, Boshra wanted to build on what he knew about education. He made connections with the OISE community through student government – this past school year, for example, he was the graduate student representative for the department of curriculum, teaching and learning on OISE Council.
The core of his graduate research centered on student-teacher mentorship relations – experiential learning and research under the supervision of Dr. Christina Phillips and, previously, Dr. Joanne Pattison-Meek. Understanding how student-teacher relationships play a role in education is “foundational” to how effective it can be, he says.
The central research question was if and how do student-teacher mentorship relationships (STMRs) impact student wellbeing (SWb).
“[A strong relationship is] where the student is comfortable enough to communicate with the teacher – and beyond just their content knowledge – so that the teacher can be a key foundation to support students’ learning and help their academic achievement,” Boshra said.
“As teachers, I believe we are building students holistically,” he added.
His research finds that a strong student-teacher relationship also calls for strong relationships with colleagues, administrators and the community around you. That includes doctors, mental health professionals, psychologists, social workers, and yes parents, he says.
“You have to have a good relationship with the parents – and I’m not talking about going out and having tea every day with them. I’m talking about how you’re communicating with parents clearly and openly, and effectively and efficiently,” he says.
His work incorporated interdisciplinary knowledge in different learning settings inside and outside of the classroom. And he made an effort to engage students of all learning orientations and empower modern learning. For example, this past semester, he helped develop an online/blended learning course proposal with a colleague as part of a course with Dr. Lesley Wilton, a senior researcher for the OISE PeppeR Project.
But, his most memorable times as a student were spent in practicum – four stints of in-the-field experiences with four different teachers, learning from a variety of teachers and students. He will always treasure these experiences.
“I'm always a proponent of experiential learning,” he says. “You can have all the knowledge in the world, you can have all that backdrop, which is really important. But if you don’t try to put it into practice, you’ve lost it.”