Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week

Working together is best for educating our youth

The theme for this year’s Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week (February 10-16) is “Creating a Vibrant Education Together.”

That notion dovetails nicely with the impetus created by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, and a wide assortment of interested organizations, who are contemplating the future via the Re-Imagine Education campaign.

While this might seem to some like an overly ambitious project, the reality is the public education landscape has changed so significantly in recent years that there is considerable validity in pondering this timely notion.

And, as the theme for the week implies, any future direction has to be created together because in case you haven’t noticed, public education is one of those areas that affects such a wide cross section of the public – and consequently there are no shortage of folks with opinions. These might differ considerably, so that is doubtlessly where one of the challenges will arise when trying to come up with a blueprint that will be beneficial to all.

It has frequently been said that it takes a village to raise a child, and that mantra has never been more true. The province’s 13,000 teachers will always be at the fulcrum of the often times complex delivery model of education to the students of the province.

Yet, you won’t find many teachers who would argue the fact that they cannot deliver the best possible product by themselves, and that the optimum scenario is for there to be widespread support from school divisions, parents and community members as well as the government, whose primary role is to properly resource the many demands of the sector.

There has been considerable, ongoing research done on the importance of having greater family involvement in the education of their children. Moreover, with school community councils, for example, there is no question parents are playing an integral role in the overall process.

Then there are also the many examples of schools doing their best to incorporate enhanced opportunities for First Nations and Metis students by striving to include greater cultural meaning with the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge into the curriculum.

Although those of you who have been out of school for a while might not recognize it as much,  there are countless examples of this being carried out in a variety of ways. It might well be in an inner city school in the larger centres (where it would be expected) but increasingly it is also a prominent part of delivering education in some of Saskatchewan’s smaller centres.

In striving to engage and relate to students, teachers are the very embodiment of being the catalyst to creating that vibrant education model together. This can be either in the classroom (and that can be in the more traditional setting or in the numerous outdoor education programs for examples) or it can also be though the extra curricular activities.

Professional development is another example of creating that strived for vibrancy, and it can lead to classroom settings that might not look like what many consider to be the traditional norm.

That is just part of the re-imaging that is already occurring. There is a growing appreciation of the fact that education does not necessarily look the same for all students, and that only makes it even more important for a strong, overall commitment in meeting the unique needs of an increasingly diverse student population.

When you have a chance to see how students are engaged and supported in their educational pursuits; that is ample reason to celebrate and appreciate the work being done in our schools by teachers and staff all year long.