I’m at a crossroads…

forest-path-winter-crossroads

Another wonderful Christmas break has come and gone. A break in which I enjoyed being with my family, hanging out, working out and having fun. During this break, I was able to do a great amount of reflecting about my plans for the future. I feel like I am at a crossroads.

The current state of education in our province is worrisome…to say the least. Cutbacks to school funding, no increase in pay (yet again), hijacking of pensions and a disrespect for the teaching profession which I have never felt this intensely before. Every time I look at social media (the place where I go to learn and share with other educators), I read more posts about education (and teaching) which really make me shake my head and worry about the future of public education in our province.

I have worked in the field of education in Alberta for more than 30 years as a teacher, counsellor, district consultant, and school administrator. In the early 1990s (when I was a beginning teacher), cutbacks to education impacted many of our careers. Some teachers quit but many of us pushed through. Hard times are upon us once again. This time, I am at the other end of my career, eligible to ride off into the sunset in the very near future.

Do I bow out now or do I stay and fight this fight?

You know what? We (and many before us) have worked hard to create an education system in our province which is world-class. We have formed relationships with students which have positively impacted their (and our) lives. We have produced students who have become leaders in our world.

We need to protect and fight for what we believe in and what we have built. This is a time that we need to stand together as educators and show the strength that we all have and that we have taught our students to have. We have taught our students to choose their battles carefully and to make good decisions.

This is a fight that is worth fighting and it demands that we stick together and support one another. Are you ready?

Author: Derek Hatch

Principal in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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