Friday, 1 November 2013

The Saskatchewan Challenge

The Honourable Brad Wall
Premier of Saskatchewan
Room 226
Legislative Drive
Regina, Sk
S4S 0B3

Dear Mr. Honourable Brad Wall, Premier of Saskatchewan:

To be respectful the task in front of your government is difficult. You have a challenge that is to try to change the climate which has been created within the K-12 education sector in this province in which you have been elected to govern. I love the positive message that your government is putting out into the province about the exciting Saskatchewan future. I have just completed 31 years as a teacher in Saskatchewan; I would like to think that I played a small part in creating the current Saskatchewan. I have lived and visited many parts of this world and I still want to call my home Saskatchewan and start my next working adventure in this province. As my role as a teacher I played a big part in the development and building of the Saskatoon Catholic Cyber School and in my final year of teaching was awarded the highest honour that the Saskatchewan teaching profession can confer: A Saskatchewan Teacher Federation Arbos Award for Contribution to Education and the Teaching Profession.
I was proud to be a teacher and I think it is important for the teacher in the future to be able to feel the same. I in no way feel that it is the government’s intention to disrespect teachers, but that is the current message which is prevalent in the schools of this province. They feel the government is not aware of what it is like in the classroom of today and are basing a lot of their decisions on a time which no longer exists.
Schools are an environment in which everyone has experience, as we all spent 12 years within those walls. The problems is that many of the people that you have working in Government are trying to apply their view of a school that no longer exists in today’s school reality. I tip my hat to the government’s desire to slow things down and do some consulting as this is the first step to showing that you are willing to listen to the people who have chosen teaching as their vocation.
It is important to make a plan for the future of education in this province which should lead the world, not Canada, but the world as we are uniquely situated. We have the opportunity to create something that would shock the world with how, if done correctly, the youth of today are a currency which could lead us into the future. As an administrator at a school, I felt it was my job to support and remove all obstacles in the way of our talented teacher ability to facilitate learners of all ages to achieve this goal. We need to treat teachers as the professionals that they are, to not dwell on the few that would be as competent as the others, but to work with them to increase their abilities. As the government of this province you need to do the same, support and facilitate.
Many of the decisions in the past few years makes it seem like it is the teachers against the government. This is a climate which will not foster the growth which is need to allow the province to meet its potential. A partnership needs to be built between all levels: students, parents, teachers, school administrators, school division administrators, STF and the government. There is no more powerful partnership if we all feel supported and work as a team to make the future for this province - a future which does not copy others but leaps to the forefront of education in this world and show people how it can be done.
Never before in history has education been at such a critical turning point. It is necessary to teach process rather than content. Never before in the history have students had access to such opportunities; they are connected to the world. Never before in the history has this province been better situated to do something in education that has never be done before. The opportunity to support and facilitate this change is just waiting for a government willing to take a chance and move Saskatchewan to a world leader in education. We have had many world education leaders state that Saskatchewan is right now perfectly situated to embrace, develop and lead if it has the courage.

I for one would love to be part of this vision,
I for one as a teacher would be willing to do my part to put Saskatchewan above any other place in the world and lead.
I have the courage and will support and facilitate my students to be the future world leaders.
I am willing to consult if someone wants to listen

Although retired from the classroom I still want to teach.

Ask me.

Darren Cannell
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