When I was in grade five and our elementary school was under threat of being closed, my parents took me to tour a local private school. I had a few friends at the school and the school itself offered some amazing opportunities. If my elementary school had closed my parents gave me the choice to go there. As an 11 year old, I remember saying to my mom, “I think I just like being in public school.”
I believed in public education at 11 years old. I believe in public education now.
I believe in public education each and every day that I get up in the morning and get myself out the door to work. I believe in each and every one of my students. I believe in the amazing educators in every school I have ever entered. I believe that we can make a difference in the lives of our students. I believe that we can make a difference in the future of our communities and the world.
I believe that each and every child is deserving of the same thing: an education that empowers them to be creative, passionate, and compassionate human beings.
This is why I talk about teaching more than anything else. This is why I dedicate my time to my practice, not only at school but through constant, critical reflection. This is why I write this blog. This is why I teach.
It is also why I am exhausted at the end of each and every day. It is also why I have screamed in frustration at not having the support I need to help the kids who need it the most. It is also why I have pushed myself to the point of breaking more times than I would care to admit. It is also why I come home in tears so often because I feel that I am failing some (or all) of my students.
I don’t want my job to be easier, I want my job to be better.
I want to have the time to help struggling students, without feeling like I’m ignoring the others. I want to have time to plan engaging and thought-provoking lessons, without falling behind on my marking. I want to be able to get student’s assignments back to them in time for the feedback to be meaningful, without giving up on extra-curricular activities. I want to meet the social-emotional needs of my students, without feeling the loss of educational time. I want meaningful professional development opportunities and classroom resources, without the money coming from my own savings. I want to continue to push myself to be the best I can be, without feeling like I’m drowning in the work.
No matter what this, or any other, government can throw at us – I will believe in public education. I will stand up for the rights of my students. I will push to get the help I need when I can. I will reflect and become a better teacher. I will continue, day in and day out, to be the best I can be for my students.
And all I ask is for your support – For you to want the best for all of our children too. Support the students. Support the teachers. Support the schools and the communities. Please take the time to connect with your local MLA and inform yourself on education issues. I believe together we can make public education the place it needs to be.
But we need you.