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May/June 2019

Over the Easter break, teachers from across the province came together to participate in our Biennial General Meeting. The willingness of those hundred plus individuals to give of their time during the Easter break is commendable. The work that is done at BGM is critically important as is sets the direction that your Association will take going forward.

Without question, one of the highlights of the convention was the keynote address as delivered by Maggie MacDonnell, 2017 Global Teacher Prize Award Winner. Her message of the impact teachers have on students’ lives and the differences that we make to them hit a chord with the entire delegation at BGM. As she described her reality, I couldn’t help but think of the many teachers across this province who share a very similar one. The emotional impact made on many in the audience was evident. The tenor of the media interviews conducted after the keynote certainly illustrated that. We all know that teachers do indeed change lives every day and we all have experiences that prove as much.

I am very proud of the work that has been done by the current NLTA Provincial Executive. I am also very much aware of the work that is before us all as we move into the next term of office. Let there be no mistake, our membership have expressed their frustration with the demands of the school system that we have in this province. There is a clear expectation that the Association must be fighting for improvements to our schools and our students’ learning conditions, and that will only be accomplished through an improvement in their teaching conditions.

As I have said repeatedly, the NLTA is not just your Provincial Executive, Joint Council, or SIC. The NLTA is its membership – all teachers. When I speak, it is on your behalf. Our voices are as strong as the will of the full membership to be strong. As we move forward, we must remember that it is through the collective strength of teachers that we are able to be a collective voice with unity in purpose, and a willingness to speak out and demand the changes that are needed.

By the time you read this, the Provincial Election will be over and we will have a new government for the next four years. We are able to open our next round of negotiations in November of this year. It is important that we are positioned such that the choice to open negotiations will not be impacted by our readiness. In the coming months we will become engaged in preparing for this. I would ask all of you to ensure that when requests are made for submissions on the priorities for collective bargaining, that you take the time to respond. Future directions are determined by the feedback that is received.

I do want to extend my thanks to all of those who offered themselves for our election for the 2019-21 Provincial Executive. All of the candidates would have represented the membership well. In coming weeks, we will be asking for teachers to sit on the various standing committees that carry out the work of the Association. I am very much looking forward to the work ahead and representing all of you during the 2019-2021 term of office.

In closing, let me say that I hope that the summer break is a rewarding one and that you take the time to relax and recharge. Our profession is a demanding one. We all need to take this time for ourselves. For those who are retiring at the end of the school year, I wish you sincere congratulations and I hope that retirement brings all that you want and more.

Until next time…