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OISE graduation story: Benjamin Watson, B.Ed, reflects on teaching and the legacy of Andy Anderson


By Jennifer O'Reilly

June 19, 2012


Benjamin Watson, B.Ed. 2012

Rising to the increasingly complex and challenging work of teaching requires experience, focus and passion, qualities B.Ed. graduate Benjamin Watson has in abundance.

Armed with a BA in Kinesiology and Physical Education (2010) from Wilfrid Laurier University, employment experience at one of Canada’s leading physiotherapy clinics and a deep desire to pursue his passion for inspiring youth to live a life with purpose, Benjamin decided to further his own education first by enrolling in the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) program at OISE.

Benjamin's lifelong passion for health promotion and a belief in the importance of encouraging young people to stay active by participating in sports they enjoy, and his previous work experience with young people shaped his decision to become a teacher. “I’ve spent many summers working at different camps and resorts involved with coaching kids in sport specific skills.  I enrolled in the Physical Education and Geography program at OISE because of my interest in outdoor education and felt what better way to combine my knowledge of geography and environmental science with my background and passion for physical education!"

A high point of his academic journey at OISE occurred when Benjamin was honoured with one of four Andy Anderson Memorial Scholarships. “I’m extremely honored because of the huge legacy Andy left behind as an educator.  "Professor Anderson's aspirations to create student leaders through physical education will be foremost in my mind in my time ahead as a teacher,”  he said. The scholarship will assist Benjamin to finance additional courses in Special Education. “It’s important to realize that every student can engage in a healthy, active lifestyle. It’s just a matter of identifying and addressing the barriers that may prevent students from participating in physical education.”

Benjamin's summer will be spent working as a Program Director for a day camp in the GTA with the ultimate goal of securing a position as a Phys Ed, Geography or Biology teacher in a high school. “In the long run I’d like to teach cooperative education courses, which I hope will eventually lead to a more administrative role promoting health and physical education in Ontario schools.”

OISE’s role in Benjamin’s journey has been significant. “What I liked best about OISE was the small class sizes which allowed the teacher candidates to get to know each other on a more personal level. I always looked forward to my physical education class because we got to learn while running around doing activities in the gym. OISE has amazing teachers and they’re all willing to help you with your educational goals. I actually looked forward to coming to school and participating in classes!”

Benjamin will graduate on June 21 along with 1,164 other members the B.Ed. class of 2012.