One of my avatar images is a busy bee. I prefer this depiction, and not just because of the bad hair days that photos would reveal! No, it’s the action-packed schedule – or rather: activity/event packed-agenda that is the life I love. This week: forums for the municipal election (mayor and councilors), sit down with the local ATA rep to talk about initiatives in the coming year, networking, sign-delivering, lunch with Danielle Smith [leader of the Wildrose Alliance Party (more on that later)], board meeting for the Canmore Folk Music Festival, touching base with friends and family, twittering, blogging, and oh, yes the full-time job.
Sometimes the pace of daily life does not allow for much reflection. I zoom along, trying to meet obligations and stay on course. Then something rears up, makes me take a deep breath and think, really think.
An email message from a relative, a teacher, provided such a moment. She had had a long day – a long series of days, actually. Knowing she could do it safely, she vented.
“Guess what I’m going to be doing this weekend…and that’s NOT counting marking spelling tests, tessellation (math) projects, Canadian map quiz, literature responses, reflective writing responses and science weather recording sheets. Then I have to go to the public library to get resources on the different Canadian geographic regions and extreme weather. Commitment is not giving standardized tests and traditional learning. Commitment is differentiating learning to ensure that ALL children are given equal and equitable opportunities to demonstrate their understandings. I write in children’s agenda’s to communicate with parents DAILY, as well as checking voicemail, making phone calls, emailing back parents and checking my mailbox… And in spite of all of this, I love my job because I love my kids, all 27 of them.”
And then today, I caught the Governor-General’s installation speech. Here are some excerpts: “We need to ensure that all Canadians have equal access to education and the opportunity to reach their full potential.” And… “During my term, we will find ways to properly recognize our teachers who are responsible for our intellectual development. If there is one trumpet call from my remarks today, let it be ‘Cherish Our Teachers’.” And: “I believe that no nation in history has worked harder than Canada to ensure equality of opportunity. How do we square that with excellence as well? For me, the answer is through our public educational system which is the most inclusive in the world.”
After a week or more of teacher-bashing in the U.S. media, this is for you, my caring, hard-working, loving teacher-niece and for all of your colleagues – I cherish you and your work.