October 18, 2017
I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to represent the NLTA at a number of functions over the years. And while I have thoroughly enjoyed and felt honored to do so at every one of them, there are two events that I take special pride in. The first of these is the retirement functions that are held at the Branch level. To be able to pay tribute to our members who have concluded their careers holds a special place with me. To acknowledge the work and contributions of so many of our members to our province’s students is a privilege and I have felt humbled to be able to do.
The second function that holds a special place for me is the welcome to our newest members, our province’s newest teachers. This fall, I had the pleasure of attending two of the Teacher Induction Ceremonies. The pride and enthusiasm that these new teachers exhibit is truly inspiring. Having the opportunity to see parents, grandparents, partners, and even children, witness the entry of these young men and women into the profession – the one that makes all others possible – is absolutely inspiring.
Bearing witness to this event also forces me to consider the responsibilities that all of us have to the members of our profession. Being a member of the NLTA means that we have to look out for each other. New teachers are entering the profession at a time when there are challenges and demands placed upon all of us. We have all witnessed the challenges of addressing the needs of our students when there are limited resources. We have all felt the frustration of knowing that our students could be doing better were they provided access to the supports that they need and deserve. We all need to push forward exercising the rights that we have for the betterment of our students, our schools, and our colleagues so that those teachers who are now starting their career will experience what I firmly believe is the noblest of professions. They have to be supported, protected, and reassured that they have chosen a profession that does indeed matter.
I have always held that the ability of your elected representatives to speak for you is proportional to the degree that they have been speaking to you. Since the school year began I have had the pleasure of visiting teachers in over 40 schools and hearing from numerous others. Teachers are accomplishing amazing things with students and good things are happening in our schools. But I have also heard many frustrations and we all need to push to make those good things even better. There is a deep-seated feeling that so much more could be achieved if the supports were available for what is needed.
I take great pride in representing all of you and I take very seriously my responsibility to do all that I can to create the teaching conditions that are conducive to effective student learning. When issues are brought forward they can be acted upon and I hope that all of you will continue to bring your concerns and issues forward. Our students deserve no less. We deserve no less. We owe it to our newest members to continue to work for the best school system possible.