And it’s a great day to be alive
I know the sun’s still shining
When I close my eyes
There’s some hard times in the neighborhood
But why can’t every day be just this good.
~ Travis Tritt
None of us would take the position that this spring has been one that we would have wanted. There have been disruptions to all our lives. Our classes have been suspended. We have had to immerse ourselves in a world that we aren’t accustomed to. Economic concerns for many are real and dramatic, and creating a level of concern our generation has never seen.
One thing I do know for certain is that people are resilient. NLTA members have stepped up to maintain a “new normal” and learning for students is continuing as a result of the efforts that all of you are making. For the future of our province it is critically important that we continue to do this. The collaboration between the Department, the school districts and the NLTA have allowed the education system to continue to function. We know that it can’t be business as usual and what has been established is remote learning to provide a continuity of contact that students, parents and teachers absolutely need as we traverse the challenges before us.
In order to address these challenges it is imperative that we rethink how we interact with our colleagues and our families. Using various video streaming platforms has allowed us to stay together while we stay apart. Easter dinners done via Zoom, concerts streamed through Facebook live, choirs performing beautiful renditions of our National Anthem have all become means by which we maintain some semblance of “normality”.
As we move through May and into June there are other annual events that happen in our schools. Our graduating students would be preparing for and holding their graduation ceremonies, but these are going to be held in a different manner. This is an important milestone for students, parents and an opportunity for our province’s teachers to share in this momentous event. As teachers we are all very proud of the accomplishments of our students. In many ways as teachers, graduation marks a celebration of our accomplishments as well. To all of you – be proud of what you have done with your students. Your influence on them at various stages of their journey, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, is what played a tremendous role in their reaching this stage. While the formal event may be different this year, the reason for the event is not. We all wish the graduating class of 2020 the very best in their futures.
There are also many of you who are concluding your career in education this year. I am sure that when you began your career, this was not the way you envisioned that you would conclude it. The spring cycle of retirement functions will also be altered. But just as with our students, altering the means by which this milestone is acknowledged does not alter the significance of it. You have contributed to so many students for many years. I wish you all the very best in whatever your next stage will bring. Thank you for your contributions.
As I write this, I know that we are moving to what would be the beginning of the summer break. What the summer will bring is an unknown. It will be a different summer, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be an enjoyable one. I hope all of you find the time to make it what you want it to be. Take the time to recharge and rejuvenate. Be good to yourselves and your family. Unless we start with that, we can’t be good to any other part of our lives – personally or professionally.
Until next time…
Whether we remain the ash or become the Phoenix is up to us. ~ Ming-Dao Deng