I wrote a letter very similar to this almost 7 years ago when we were going through some education struggles here in Ontario but with the most recent struggles that we are about to face I feel like this message needs to be said again. Even if you are not facing challenges like we are in Ontario I hope this message resonates with you as you start your year.
I want to start off by recognizing that you are truly amazing. I have never been more proud to be an educator as I am today. Our profession is truly one of the most amazing professions in the world.
Sure it has its challenges, more so in the last couple of months but even without this, we have always had these challenges. We face an ever-changing demographic and world and navigate it with tremendous professionalism and poise. However, as challenging as it can be it is also one of the most rewarding professions. Today I want to remind you of those moments, to challenge you to hold on to them and to strive to make more.
It isn’t every day that we get to see smiling faces that greet us every morning as if we are superheroes. It isn’t every day that we get to see a child learn something for the very first time (i.e, learning to read, learning to recognize their name, learning to self-reg or even mature right before your own eyes). There is nothing as rewarding as seeing a student come back to you and thank you for being there, for listening, for sparking their learning and growth. I know we have all had “that” teacher and even as I write this I smile at the influence of a great teacher in my life. In our profession, we continue to be that teacher even when we don’t expect it.
So why do I remind you of this? In the last couple of weeks, I feel that our profession is at a critical stage of development. We are being attacked, as a profession and as human beings. Our government continues to deny our learning, our judgment, and our professionalism. And it is tiring, it is frustrating and it continues to make me angry every day. However, I was reminded yesterday by John Spencer’s keynote address that when we are faced with challenges it is a reminder that we need to be even more innovative.
You may at the moment question why I say let’s be more innovative, you may say but it may cost me my job but I want to remind you that you are AMAZING! You entered this profession to help, to mold, to change and make a difference and you continue to do this no matter what the political landscape is or has become. We do this because we care because we have and always will put students first.
I started this letter by saying I have never been more proud of my profession and I will conclude with that. I want to remind you that you are Amazing! That you make the difference, that you will always make a difference. Teachers are always needed and no matter what we will be needed. So as the climate will continue to get worse (and trust me I think it will) hold on to those special moments, hold on to those stories, those students, and those smiles. Continue to innovate, to be the best you can be, to shine bright because that is what will be remembered.