I will be the keynote speaker at a teachers’ conference later this month in Alberta. I will be facing 1500 teachers and I have one message only for them. “If you are not ready to learn, then how can you be ready to teach?” At the heart of this epithet is a reflection about how far too often educators are closed-minded and assert themselves as self-contained and fully functioning teachers, yet we see them doing the same thing day in and day out.
Recently a teacher told me that he was going back to the good old ways as he was not convinced that anything new was worthwhile. So why do I appreciate our LEARN teachers? The answer is simple. They are learners first and foremost who are passionate about growing as professionals. They challenge themselves and one another to do more, to do better. They have the strength of character to recognize what works and what does not work. They have integrated into their practice a growth mindset that sets them apart. Failure is not a word that scares them. Rather, it means they need to re-focus, and to find new and more effective ways of doing things. The integration of cutting edge technology is not an end in and of itself. Student success is their heartfelt desire.
Last summer I was a judge for iNacol and I was asked to evaluate candidates for the Teacher of the Year Award. Almost all of the candidates thought they were special because they really cared for their students, because they went that extra distance and/or that they were passionate about teaching. I told the organizers of the contest that for me, those qualities were what we expected of all teachers and that, in the LEARN world, these qualities were just the starting point.
The LEARN teachers and staff have set the bar for what teachers are supposed to be, and that level of excellence, which is grounded is humility and pride, needs to be celebrated and recognized. Congratulations for another year of exceptional contribution to the world of education, one that needs many more educators like you.
Dr. Michael Canuel
CEO – LEARN