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January/February 2021

As we move into the heart of winter and 2021, the year ahead begins to erase the memories of 2020 and what is left is the reflection of what was and how that will impact the inevitable. Change is as much a part of progress as anything else. Your Association is no different than any other and has seen some significant changes to date. Ms. Stefanie Tuff has assumed the role of Executive Director. She has worked tirelessly for our province’s teachers for many years and we are all in good hands with her assuming this new role. At the conclusion of this school year Trent Langdon and Maureen Doyle-Gillingham will assume the role of President and Vice-President. Both have worked for our members for a number of years and both will take the Association forward. I offer congratulations to both of them in taking on leadership positions. Leadership is not about rising in the ranks; rather, it is about working to ensure those in the ranks rise – something that I know our incoming President and Vice-President, along with the entire Executive body, will strive to achieve.

This year has been one that has challenged all of us. Teaching throughout the pandemic has caused many of you to question what you are doing and how much longer can the system deal with the challenges before it.

The simple reality is that now is the time to press forward and continue to advocate for what is needed. We cannot and must not stop. The need for change is too great and the cost of stopping too high. Will the path be easy? Absolutely not! Will the road be rough? Without question! But if it is worth having, it is worth fighting for and our fight will take many forms.

The people of the province are on the precipice of choosing the next government. We have and must continue to press for measures that support our education system. The degree to which our next government supports education will be a large determinant of its success. The economic recovery that is needed will rely upon vibrant and effective schools.

The new government must be pressed at every opportunity. Every government states that it values education, but we need to see them prioritize it. In the coming weeks the provincial budget will set what priority the education system is given. We will see if declarations of its value were merely empty platitudes or statements of substance.

If we believe that a better education system is needed, if we believe the path to that better system runs through what teachers face daily, then we have no choice but to stand for the change that we know is needed. We must move forward with our advocacy grounded in our values, our principles, and our collective confidence that true educational expertise lies within our educators. Sound educational policy is always best served through consideration of and true consultation with educators.

But where are we to find the individuals to take this on?

If only there was a profession that sought to ensure that every child reached its potential.

If only there was a profession that lifted up and gave children a foundation for their futures.

If only there was a profession that made all other professions possible.

If only there was a profession that stood for the dignity of the child and pushed for the attainment of the possibilities that the future holds for each child.

If only that profession was given what it needed.

If only governments would recognize and support all of you – you are those professionals.

Until next time