Civil Servant

I job shadowed Eileen Silver, a manager for the Teaching Policy and Standards branch of the Ontario Ministry of Education. The office was in downtown Toronto and conveniently located near the Ontario legislature.

The day began with a meeting discussing NTIP (new teacher induction program). Eileen met with 3 education officers (previous principals) and two policy writers. They discussed how the program was going and if the 72 school boards they are in charge of are using the NTIP money allocation properly. Eileen instructed the education officers to do research on the boards activities and to get in touch with them. However, instructing and managing the education officers is only half of Eileen’s core tasks as she also has to manage her policy writers. Eileen comes from a policy background, but keeping policies regarding Teaching Policy and Standards up to date isn’t an easy task. I looked at the huge book of policies and I was astonished by the detail and amount of writing that must be done.

Later in the day we met with an aspiring policy writer who had a teaching background. She currently works for another ministry, but really wants to join the Ministry of Education so she talked to Eileen. The informational interview gave me a lot of knowledge about the field and I learnt that civil servants really enjoy working for the government as they find it more rewarding.

Besides managing the education officers and writers to keep policy up to date, and implementing and reviewing programs like NTIP, Eileen still has a lot more to do. As branch manager she runs day to day operations that include human resources, media issues (the Ministry of Education is a hot topic), and dealing with a lots of emails - I couldn’t believe how many emails she got in one hour.

A Typical Day

Eileen Silver, a manager for the ministry of education manages her branch to make sure policies are created and programs are implemented.

Top 3 Perks

1 ) Stable employment 

2) Gratifying to work for the government, especially the Ministry of Education

3) Good employee benefits

Job Culture

Long hours in offices and meeting rooms, telephone calls, technical writing, handling the media, planning office events and managing the staff


- Eileen has a background as a policy writer and social sciences 

- A business, education, and policy background would be ideal

Skills Needed

Managerial, Communication, analytical, decision-making, leadership, patience, problem solving

The Field

- Some people love to work for the government so jobs can be tough to get 

- The Minister of Education changes every few years which can have major implications