On Saturday, Oct. 5 our district, along with districts everywhere, will stop to acknowledge our teachers on World Teacher’s Day. We will take this time to reflect on the impact that teachers have had on our own lives, our children’s lives, and the impact they continue to have on our collective future. While parents and guardians recognize our teachers with authentic, heart-felt thanks, and our board delivers gifts and kind words, we pause to ask: what would it mean to our educational system in B.C., and here in the Cowichan Valley, to reflect a deep appreciation for the professional needs of our teachers year-round?
Over the last few years our teachers have embarked on a transformational change of our educational system. This new system is being built brick by brick, and day to day. Just like construction workers, our teachers, the builders of our new system, need sturdy scaffolding and sufficient resources to do their work effectively. It is our job as a community to support our teachers in this remodeling job, allowing them the ability to explore the new curriculum, adapt to new teaching standards, and to develop unique, personalized, and learner centred environments. By piecing together that scaffolding, in the form of community support, we give our teachers the tools they need to build this new system for our learners and our future.
What does this scaffolding look like? As a board, we recognize that the support our teachers need to continue their vital work looks like exceptional professional development opportunities, a focus on workplace culture, mental health, and safety, respect, and inclusion of Indigenous understandings, and an unwavering drive towards equity in our system.
Our teachers are doing much of this building, and are hard at work remodeling courses, lessons, and classroom cultures. This new system will help our students develop the competencies that will prepare them for a world they will create. We know our teachers are at the forefront of this transformational change, and their jobs are more complicated now than ever before, but we must recognize as a community that we all have a role to play in renovating our system. Let’s back our teachers by making sure they have the support of our community. Allow our teachers to demonstrate their skills as master craftspeople as they co-create a new, exceptional, education system here in the Cowichan Valley. What happens within our school communities determines what happens in our futures. Thanks to our teachers, our learners will be able to transition to a future of their choosing, and in doing so, will create a better world for us all.
Candace Spilsbury is the chair of the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District.