New teacher program under way

Darrel Greer
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Oct 27/99) - Rankin Inlet is one of the two sites funding has been approved for to house a Northern Teacher Education program (NTEP) centre.

The hamlet joins Cambridge Bay in welcoming future teaching professionals to their classes this school year The program's principal Peesee Pitsiulak says the program is happy to be a part of both communities.

"The start dates were a little later than usual this year and we were very anxious to get them off the ground," says Pitsiulak.

"The Rankin Inlet course is open to residents of the entire Kivalliq Region and, to date, we have 18 confirmed students attending the Rankin course."

The program is three years in duration and will be delivered through its partnership with Nunavut Arctic College.

Pitsiulak is now in her third year as the program's principal after spending four years as a classroom instructor herself.

She says while teachers are always expected to better themselves throughout their careers, the program has a solid track record for turning out highly skilled teachers.

"All I can say about any perception which may be out there that this year's course is an improvement over years past is that we're always looking to improve in every way, whether that be academically or culturally.

"That's something we are always working on and will continue to work on. It's a never-ending process."

Pitsiulak confirmed Nellie Kusugak, the wife of NTI president Jose Kusugak, will be teaching a course in the Rankin Inlet program.

"Nellie is on our staff here in Iqaluit and our staff also teach courses in our community sites," says Pitsiulak.

The principal says program administrators try to run a centre in each region and rotate them between communities.

"For example, we have one in Pond Inlet for the Baffin Region. That's in its third year now, so its students will be graduating this year.

"So, now we have centres in both the Kitikmeot and Kivalliq regions.

"We're hoping to rotate in the region between communities, so the program will move to another Kivalliq hamlet after Rankin."

Pitsiulak says Tim Podolsky has been hired to run the Rankin centre and should arrive by Nov. 2.

She says everyone is looking forward to a successful first year in the hamlet for the program.

"I am looking forward to the Rankin centre starting under Mr. Podolsky's guidance. We're really excited about it.

"We work very hard on the program because it can only be as good as we can make it as a community or a region in partnership with Nunavut Arctic College."