Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation

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Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation
              BC Teachers’ Federation

                                                       Jan l Feb 2021

Education outside
the classroom
pages 26–29

Black History Month
pages 20–23
A teacher’s
reconciliation journey
pages 12–13
Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network photo
Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation


                                        20                                                   32
Volume 33, Number 3—Jan/Feb 2021
6     Congratulations Nancy Knickerbocker on 		      22   Black History Month and beyond:
      your retirement from the BCTF!                      African descent history in Canada
7     New West teachers make BCTF history—           24   El Salvadorian teachers help students and
      100 years ago                                       families cope with the pandemic
8     Mentoring: Learning together, learning 		      25   The end of snow days?
      forward                                        26   Education outside the classroom
10    Diversity audits in library learning commons   28   An outdoor learning album
11    Outrageous homework assignment sparks 		       30   Detours: Connecting classrooms and
      anger, then reflection                              universities
12    Reconciliation: A slow journey                 31   Online learning: An obstacle for many in
14    A journey with the Project of Heart Canoe           adult education
16    Re-envisioning classroom management:           32   Unlearning biases: The work of generations
      No room for rewards                            33   Quiz: Should you talk to your BIPOC
17    Self-directed professional development              colleague about racism?
18    Pandemic increases inequity for special 		     Regular features
      education students and teachers                4    Letters to the editor
19    Improvisation and communication: 			           5    President’s message
      Facilitating language skills                   5    Message de la présidente
20    Is change in our future?                       34 Book reviews
                                                     36 Classifieds
2 TEACHER Jan/Feb 2021
Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation
                                              M AGA ZINE
                                                                                                                       Do you enjoy writing? Have a story to

                                                             BC Teachers’ Federation
                                                                                                                       tell? Know of a project at your school
                                                                                                                       or in your local you want to share with
                                                                                                      Jan l Feb 2021
                                                                                                                       colleagues? Then consider writing for
                                                                                                                       Teacher, the flagship publication of the
                                               Education outside                                                       BCTF! Submission guidelines are available
                                               the classroom                                                           at bctf.ca/newsmag.
                                               pages 26–29

                                                                                                                       We also welcome letters to the editor.
                                                                                                                       Send your letter to teachermag@bctf.ca.

                                                                                                                       Teacher reserves the right to edit or
                                                                                                                       condense any contribution considered

                                                                                                                       for publication. We are unable to publish
                                               Black History Month
                                               pages 20–23                                                             all submissions we receive.
                                               A teacher’s
                                               reconciliation journey                                                  Deadlines
                                               pages 12–13
                                               Columbia Basin Environmental Education Network photo
                                                                                                                       May/June 2021    March 26, 2021

Articles reflect the views of the authors   EDITOR’S NOTE                                                              BCTF Executive Committee
and do not necessarily express              The BCTF supports the use of masks                                         Violette Baillargeon Clint Johnston
official policy of the BCTF. The BCTF       to prevent the spread of COVID-19.                                         Benula Bunjun        Teri Mooring
does not endorse or promote any             Outdoor learning photos in this edition                                    Karen Edwards        Jody Polukoshko
products or services advertised in the      show students without masks. This is                                       Rae Figursky         Robin Tosczak
magazine. Advertisements reviewed           because of the significantly lower risk                                    Carole Gordon        Katherine Trepanier
and approved by the BCTF must               of COVID-19 transmission in outdoor                                        Peggy Janicki        Matt Westphal
reflect BCTF policy and be politically,     environments.
                                                                                                                       Teacher Magazine Advisory Board
environmentally, and professionally
                                            Contact us                                                                 Back L to R: Mahima Lamba, Jennifer
                                            BC Teachers’ Federation                                                    Fox, Renée Willock. Front L to R: Shelley
                                            Toll free 1-800-663-9163                                                   Balfour, Catherine Quanstrom.
Notice of the BCTF 2021 AGM                 Email teachermag@bctf.ca
As required by the Societies Act, the       Web bctf.ca/newsmag
following formal notice of the 2021         Editor Sunjum Jhaj, sjhaj@bctf.ca
Annual General Meeting is made to           Assistant Editor/Designer Sarah Young
all BCTF members pursuant to by-law         ISSN 0841-9574
8.1 by publication in this edition of

The 105th AGM of the British
Columbia Teachers’ Federation
will be held virtually beginning
on Saturday, March 20, 2021, and
continuing to Tuesday, March 23,
                                                                                                                                        Jan/Feb 2021 TEACHER 3
Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation
Grateful for Gurpreet                                             gone. She survived the Holodomor. Millions of Ukrainians
When I immigrated                                                 did not. I encourage Caitlin Johnston to submit a follow-
to Canada in 1983,                                                up article on her program, accompanied perhaps by
my family took up                                                 testimonials from some of her students.
residence in Vancouver.
We had never known                                                Best wishes. And to all BC teachers, keep safe.
discrimination when we
                                                                  Gord Yakimow, retired teacher, Chilliwack
lived in Mauritius, but from
the moment I started
                                                                  Read Caitlin Johnston’s article “Holodomor: The genocidal
school in Canada, I could
                                                                  famine in Ukraine” in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of Teacher.
see just how ingrained it
was in our culture.
                                                                  BC Student Sick Out
For my own children, I                                            My name is Emma Sullivan-Collins, I am in Grade 7 from
would specifically look for books that included characters        Fraser River Middle School in New Westminster and I part-
that looked like them and shared their ancestry. They were        icipated in the December 1, 2020, BC Student Sick Out
very hard to find. This is why I am so proud that one of our      campaign.
own BCTF members, who identifies as a member of colour,
                                                                  The reason for this protest is that us students do not agree
has authored a book on Sikhism.
                                                                  with the decisions the schools, the Ministry of Health, and
How wonderful it would be if my children were young again         the Government of Canada have been making.
and could see a person of colour as a protagonist in a
children’s book. This book makes it okay for kids to be who       These are some examples of the precautions that all
they are, no matter the colour of their skin. This is a must in   schools have not been taking:
our libraries, and in our lives.
                                                                  •   Students do not have to wear masks inside the class-
Benula Bunjun, Member-at-Large, BCTF Executive                        room. To achieve this goal, we could make them
Committee                                                             mandatory.

Read the Q&A a with Harman Pandher, teacher and                   •   Having the exploratory teacher/music teacher see
author of Gurpreet Goes to Gurdwara, in the Nov/Dec 2020              everyone in the school. If they get sick, then the whole
issue of Teacher.                                                     school is at risk of being sick.

                                                                  •   Desks should be six feet away from each other so that
                           Holodomor remembered
                                                                      the students can social distance, because not all the
                           My attention was drawn to
                                                                      students are wearing masks. To achieve this goal, we
                           Caitlin Johnston’s description of
                           her Holodomor unit, as part of             could lower class sizes.
                           her Genocide Studies 12 course.
                                                                  We want to be and feel safe in school. Some students and
                           As a first-generation Ukrainian-
                                                                  teachers may not appreciate these rules because some
                           Canadian, I am pleased that she
                                                                  people do not like having to wear masks inside and outside
                           is teaching her students about
                                                                  all the time. Who can blame them? I don’t like wearing my
                           that wretchedly inhumane event
                                                                  mask, but it’s for the safety of me, my friends, my parents,
                           in the history of our humanity.
                                                                  my teachers, and other people in my community.
                           I visited my father’s village in
                                                                  If the school could help solve these problems, or adjust
                           2011 and spoke with an elderly
                                                                  some of these measures, that would help and comfort the
                           “baba” who recounted to me
                                                                  rest of the students who agree with me.
                           the time when the Russians came
                           and took all their food. When          If these changes are made, parents will feel a lot more
                           her mother protested, they were        comfortable with their child going to school, and teachers
                           beaten and thrown into their           will feel a lot safer in their workspace.
                           home that was set afire. They
                           escaped through the back and           Emma Sullivan-Collins, student, New Westminster
                           hid until the “Moscalee” were          This letter first appeared in the New West Record.
4 TEACHER Jan/Feb 2021
Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation
PRESIDENT’S                                                                                          MESSAGE DE
MESSAGE                                                                                             LA PRÉSIDENTE
                                               Teri Mooring, BCTF President
A safe and inclusive new year                                  Une nouvelle année sécuritaire et inclusive
The reality of a vaccine for COVID-19 has brought              La réalité d’un vaccin contre la COVID-19 a apporté une lueur
a glimmer of hope to the new year. The BCTF and                d’espoir pour la nouvelle année. La FECB et la Fédération
the Canadian Teachers’ Federation are strenuously              canadienne des enseignant(e)s militent énergiquement pour que
advocating for teachers, as frontline workers, to be           les enseignant(e)s, en tant que travailleurs(-euses) de première
in the priority order for vaccination, but a return to         ligne, soient placé(e)s en priorité pour la vaccination, bien qu’un
normalcy is still many months away.                            retour à la normal n’aura pas lieu avant encore de nombreux mois.

In the meantime, teachers continue to work under               Entre-temps, les enseignant(e)s continuent de travailler sous
inadequate health and safety measures with increased           des mesures de santé et de sécurité inadéquates, en plus
workloads. We have shared our concerns and rec-                d’une charge de travail accrue. Nous avons fait part de nos
ommendations with the new Education Minister Jennifer          préoccupations et de nos recommandations à la nouvelle ministre
Whiteside and continue to press for improved safety            de l’Éducation, Jennifer Whiteside, et nous continuons de faire
measures.                                                      pression pour améliorer ces mesures.

The troubleshooting process that came from our                 Le processus de dépannage découlant de notre demande
successful application to the Labour Relations Board           auprès de la Commission des relations de travail (LRB) s’est révélé
(LRB) has proven to be effective in finding quick solu-        efficace pour résoudre rapidement certains problèmes auxquels
tions to some of the issues teachers are facing. We are        les enseignant(e)s font face. Nous poursuivons notre action auprès
continuing our advocacy at the Ministry of Education           du comité directeur du ministère de l’Éducation et prévoyons des
steering committee and anticipate positive changes             changements positifs dans les structures de communication suite à
to the communication structures because of the                 la mise en œuvre des recommandations de la LRB.
implementation of the recommendations from the LRB.
                                                               Malgré les difficultés actuelles, les enseignant(e)s continuent
Despite the ongoing challenges, teachers have con-             de soutenir les élèves, à la fois académiquement et
tinued to support students both academically and               émotionnellement. Vos soins, votre créativité et votre dévouement
emotionally. Your care, creativity, and dedication to          envers les élèves et leur famille témoignent de l’engagement et de
students and their families speak to the commitment            la détermination des enseignant(e)s de la C.-B.
and resolve of BC teachers.
                                                               Les enseignant(e)s méritent d’être remercié(e)s et applaudi(e)s
Teachers deserve to be thanked and applauded for all           pour tout le travail qu’ils/qu’elles font. Nous avons vu des parents
the work you do. We’ve seen parents and students from          et des élèves à travers la province exprimer leur soutien et leur
across the province voice their support and gratitude          gratitude envers les enseignant(e)s, solidairement, alors que
for teachers, standing in solidarity as we fight for safe      nous luttons pour des conditions de travail sécuritaires tout en
working conditions while continuing to be pillars of           continuant d’être des piliers de soutien pour nos communautés.
support for our communities.
                                                               J’ai espoir que 2021 sera une année plus sécuritaire et plus
I have hope that 2021 will be a safer and more inclusive       inclusive. À mesure que la nouvelle année progresse, la FECB
year. As the new year progresses, the BCTF will continue       continuera de mettre l’accent sur notre engagement envers
to focus on our commitment to equity and inclusion             l’équité et l’inclusion par l’entremise d’un nouveau groupe
through a new task force on the Representative                 de travail sur l’Assemblée des représentant(e)s. Ce groupe de
Assembly. This task force will identify and seek to address    travail identifiera et cherchera à éliminer les obstacles dans le
barriers, with the aim of creating more equitable and          but de créer, pour les membres, des possibilités plus équitables
inclusive opportunities for members to engage with the         et inclusives de s’engager avec l’organisme décisionnel de la
Federation’s key decision-making body.                         Fédération.

Along with our commitment to equity, we must also              En plus de notre engagement envers l’équité, nous devons aussi
commit to our own well-being. I encourage you to focus         nous engager à assurer notre propre bien-être. Je vous encourage
on your well-being and take time to care for yourselves,       à vous concentrer sur votre bien-être et que vous preniez le temps
as well as your families and colleagues.                       de prendre soin de vous, de vos familles et de vos collègues.

Thank you and take care,                                       Merci et prenez soin de vous,

Teri Mooring                                                   Teri Mooring
BCTF President                                                 Présidente de la FECB

                                                                                                            Jan/Feb 2021 TEACHER 5
Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation
Congratulations Nancy Knickerbocker
                                                                                   on your retirement from the BCTF!
                                                                                    A steady hand
                                                                                    Immediately after I was elected president of the BCTF,
                                                                                    literally the moment I stepped down from the microphone,
                                                                                    I was searching for Nancy at the AGM and saying, “I need
                                                                                    you.” And I did need her! That day and for every day after
                                                                                    that, I needed her calm and steady hand to help guide me
                                                                                    through our work with the media. For more than 20 years,
                                                                                    every president and every Executive Committee has needed
                                                                                    Nancy to help us face every struggle and every challenge. Her
                                                                                    skills, her professionalism, and her commitment served us all
                                                                                    incredibly well. Nancy has always been there: writing, crafting
                                                                                    messages, teaching us to communicate, leading us, and
                                                                                    helping to promote our values. They are also her values: the
                                                                                    values of public education.
                                                                                                        – David Chudnovsky, BCTF president 1999–2002

                                                                                    A strong union sister
                                                                                    Nancy has a heart of gold, a deep sense of social justice, and
                                                              Luis Isidoro photo

                                                                                    she is a fabulous writer. She brought her energy, enthusiasm,
                                                                                    sense of humour, and very considerable talents to the BCTF
                                                                                    to support teachers and public education, but she didn’t
                                                                                    stop there. Nancy also embraced the BCTF’s commitment to
                                                                                    international solidarity. Nancy is loved by teachers and activists

Journalist.                                                                         around the world, particularly in Latin America and Africa. She
                                                                                    will be remembered everywhere for her fierce advocacy, her

Communications Expert.                                                              dedication to equality, her sense of fun, her amazing writing
                                                                                    talent, and her excellent Spanish. Enjoy the summer that never

Advocate.                                                                           ends, Nancy!
                                                                                                         – Irene Lanzinger, BCTF president 2007–2010

      By Teri Mooring, BCTF President                                               A supportive and caring friend
                                                                                    Nancy is not only a powerful social justice advocate; she is also
IN 1997, Nancy Knickerbocker joined the staff at the                                a caring friend and ally. She was always there for me as a kind
BCTF as our Media Relations Officer after a successful                              and supportive friend as well as a colleague. Whether it was
first career as a reporter and freelance journalist. In                             translating or keeping me on track during trips to Latin America
December 2020, Nancy retired after 23 amazing years in                              among mass protests, she was there to help me. Her skills
our Communications and Campaigns Division, where she                                helped me to communicate and connect with people as well
wrapped up her career as Director.                                                  as understand their struggle for rights and justice. In the BCTF
                                                                                    building, local offices, and around the world, her colleagues
I can speak from experience that every president over the                           and friends could always count on her. She has a huge heart
last 23 years, and all BCTF members, have been incredibly                           and she pours it into her work and relationships. She also knows
well served by Nancy’s keen eye and journalistic instincts.                         how to have fun and brighten up your day with a great laugh.
She has been a champion for teachers in BC and around                               Congrats Nancy! And, thank you.
the world. Over her career, she has helped the BCTF make
huge strides in equity and inclusion. Her deep personal                                                         – Jim Iker, BCTF president 2013–2016
commitment to social justice is perhaps best shown
through her work with teachers on resources, stories, and                           A dedicated advocate
articles to support Truth and Reconciliation.                                       Nancy is always someone you can depend upon for both
                                                                                    high-quality work and sage advice. I appreciated all the times
Nancy’s heart is also evident in her writing. She has con-                          that Nancy would draw upon her experience as a journalist,
tributed many memorable pieces over her years at the                                parent, and active community member to better equip those
Federation. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she penned a                              of us in BCTF spokesperson roles in our efforts connecting with
heartfelt and memorable op. ed., “Schools may be closed                             the broader public and inspiring action on K–12 and labour
but teachers’ hearts are open.”                                                     issues. Thank you, Nancy, for your amazing contributions and
                                                                                    years of dedication to public education, students’ well-being,
Congratulations on your retirement Nancy, and thank you                             and teachers.
for your immense contributions to our Federation.                                                        – Glen Hansman, BCTF president 2016–2019

  6 TEACHER Jan/Feb 2021
Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation
New Westminster teachers make
BCTF history—100 years ago
By Ken Novakowski, Labour Heritage Centre board member and retired teacher,
and Sarah Wethered, New Westminster Teachers’ Association President
14, 1921, 84 New Westminster teachers,
most of whom were women, went
on strike. The seven primary and two
secondary schools were closed, affect-
ing 3,000 students. This was remarkable
because BC teachers did not obtain the
legal right to strike until 1988, and it was
quite uncommon to see women taking
strike action during the early part of the
last century.

New Westminster teachers had sign-                                                          Teachers at Lord Lister School, New
ificant reasons to go on strike when they                                                   Westminster (192-). New Westminster
did. They were paid based on a salary                                                       Museum and Archives, IHP9860-278.
schedule established unilaterally by
the school board. Years of experience          At the civic election in January 1922,      Westminster local any substantive
and education were not considered in           the recalcitrant members of the board       support. This experience would even-
determining what each teacher was              were swept out of office. The new school    tually result in changes to the BCTF that
paid: it was an unfair and inequitable         board quickly agreed with the teachers’     would allow it to become the effective
system. The New Westminster Teachers’          association and finally paid their          body it is today in assisting locals.
Association (NWTA) proposed a new              arbitrated salaries.
salary grid with significant increases                                                     Supportive messages came from
so New Westminster teacher salaries            The New Westminster teacher strike was      teacher organizations across Canada,
would be more in line with those in            an important event in BCTF history. New     and teacher associations in BC sent
surrounding school districts. The school       Westminster teachers demonstrated           funds to the New Westminster local to
board ignored the teachers’ submission,        that unity and strength helped obtain       help them in their struggle. As it turned
so teachers made a very reasonable             their collective goals. They achieved       out, these funds were not needed and
request that the matter be referred to         a fairer form of salary allocation, and     the local turned them over to the BCTF,
arbitration. The board refused to agree        their salaries were more in keeping with    which used them to establish the BCTF
to arbitration and the strike was on.          those in surrounding districts. The New     Reserve Fund. This fund became an
                                               Westminster Teachers’ Association was       important emergency fund for the BCTF
Despite board threats to fire teachers         now recognized by their employer as the     over the next 65 years when it then
who continued to strike, teachers              official bargaining agent for teachers in   morphed into the Collective Bargaining
remained out and united. Teachers              the district. Further, two NWTA teachers,   Defence Fund. One of the main uses
also had strong community support              Ernest Lock and George Ford, went on        of the fund was to provide strike pay to
that eventually resulted in the board          to become BCTF presidents and winners       teachers.
agreeing to arbitration. The strike lasted     of the BCTF’s G.A. Ferguson Memorial
five school days, and the subsequent           Award, which recognizes outstanding         In 2017, the 100th anniversary of the
arbitration award favoured the                 contributions to public education.          founding of the BCTF, a plaque was
teachers’ proposal.                                                                        installed by the BC Labour Heritage
                                               The New Westminster teacher strike          Centre across from New Westminster City
The board had not budgeted for a salary        took place only four years after the BC     Hall, on 6th Street and Royal Avenue.
increase, so a supplemental estimate           Teachers’ Federation was founded;           This is the approximate location where
had to be approved by city council.            the NWTA was one of seven teacher           the 1921 school board offices stood.
Teachers carried on teaching until the         organizations that came together to         This plaque commemorates the 1921
end of the year when it became clear           create the provincial body. But the         New Westminster teacher strike and
that the board did not intend to include       strike exposed a major weakness of          acknowledges its important role in the
any provision for back pay. In response,       the BCTF as it was then structured.         ongoing struggle for fairness and full
the teachers’ association delivered the        The BCTF did not have a membership          bargaining rights. It is one of five local
signed resignations of all the teachers        structure independent of local teachers’    events recognized around the province
in the district to take effect if the board    associations and proved ineffective         as contributing to the eventual gaining
failed to provide the arbitration award.       in being able to provide the New            of full bargaining rights in 1987–88.
                                                                                                            Jan/Feb 2021 TEACHER 7
Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation
                    Working together, learning forward
                 “Watch carefully, the magic that occurs,
       when you give a person just enough comfort to be themselves.”
                               – Harper Lee
By Barb Wilson, Jennifer MacDonald, and Tamara Sengotta, co-chairs of Teacher Mentors of BC
THIS PROFESSION IS HARD; we are charged with the              Most often, teachers who become mentors were mentored
intellectual and emotional well-being of our students         themselves. Mentors are colleagues wanting to give
while also balancing parent involvement, administrator’s      back. They are collaborative partners who do not create
expectations, professional relationships, and district        evaluations or report back to anyone. In fact, it would be
initiatives. We do most of our learning on the job, but it    against our Code of Ethics to do so. Mentors are great
can be a lot less overwhelming with someone by your           listeners, colleagues to debrief with after a rough day or
side. It takes a community to support and encourage new       celebrate with after a great day.
                                                              Everyone has their own passions, values, and strengths that
Teachers are natural helpers. Classroom teachers often        they bring to teaching. In mentoring, time is initially spent
share resources and unit plans, and support teachers          getting to know one another, finding ways to trust and
may share sage words of advice after a long day. These        be vulnerable together so that learning and growth can
moments of kindness play an important role in creating        happen. The relationship facilitates listening, questioning,
communities of support for new- to-role and early career      and talking through problems that arise. Mentors attend
teachers. Mentoring is an extension of this support network   specialized professional learning opportunities to esta-
and offers long-term, personalized, learning-focused          blish the skills needed to facilitate learning forward
opportunities.                                                conversations. These conversations can be reflective
                                                              and involve planning or problem-solving depending on
                                                              the needs of the new teacher in the moment. Mentoring
                                                              skills ensure a new-to-role teacher is feeling supported,
                                                              challenged, and connected to their professional vision.

                                                              Engaging in mentoring can be a lifelong pursuit. Mentors
                                                              are helpful when you engage in something new, whether
                                                              that be taking on a new grade, leaning into teacher
                                                              leadership, or learning the art of facilitation. Connecting
                                                              with a mentor who has lived experiences and strong
                                                              communication skills can help a new-to-role teacher build
                                                              confidence and contribute to improved student learning.
                                                              Mentoring is synonymous with lifelong learning.

                                                              Left: Teresa O’Sullivan and Corinna Fair work together on a mentee needs
                                                              assessment and mentoring plan at the Whistler Mentorship Retreat.
                                                              Opposite: Jeremy Wiebe and Tawnie Hildebrandt collaborate on strategies
                                                              to actively engage students in their learning during the Whistler Mentorship
                                                              Retreat. Photos provided by Barb Wilson.

8 TEACHER Jan/Feb 2021
Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation
My journey as a teacher started when I was a child. I would
line up my stuffed animals and teach them for hours at a
time. My mom was my biggest supporter, helping me set
up my makeshift classroom and praising my lessons. As I
worked toward my goal of being a teacher, the stuffies
came to life as students, and my mom’s presence was
replaced by an extraordinary school associate who
allowed me to learn in his classroom. His support and
tutelage helped me navigate curriculum, classroom
behaviour, and many other aspects of being a student

The journey suddenly reached warp speed as I received my
first classroom assignment. All at once the “stuffies” weren’t
co-operating, the curriculum was a blur, and I wasn’t sure
the principal would appreciate me phoning my mom                  CONNECT WITH A MENTOR IF YOU WANT TO:
during class time.
                                                                      increase your confidence.
After some deep breaths and tears of joy and trepidation,             improve student learning.
I contacted the district mentorship program. I was paired             become an empowered decision-maker.
with an amazing mentor who guided me through my                       develop better ways of communicating with students,
wonderings, listened to my ideas, collaborated with                   families, and colleagues.
me on lessons, extended my thinking, and helped me                    learn from the experiences of others.
formulate who I wanted to be as a teacher. Her thoughtful             develop strategies for problem-solving.
questioning enabled me to be more intentional about my
instruction. She was supportive, even when asking me hard         BECOME A MENTOR IF YOU HAVE A:
questions. She allowed me to fail forward and encouraged              compassionate lens and a joyful heart.
reflection rather than giving correction. She didn’t just share       desire to help others and give back.
resources—she supported my growth in understanding the                willingness to be open to other perspectives and
why behind the how.                                                   engage in new learning.
                                                                      desire to learn deeper communication skills (listening,
This year I have made a significant change in grade levels            questioning, pausing, paraphrasing).
and have asked to work with someone else who can help                 capacity to invest your time in helping others.
me navigate the different curriculum, but my first mentor
will always be in my life. I call my mentors during the work      RESOURCES TO SUPPORT MENTOR LEARNING
week; I call my mom on the weekend.                                   Mentoring Matters, by Laura Lipton, Bruce Wellman,
                                                                      and Carrlette Humbard

A MENTOR’S JOURNEY                                                    The Art of Coaching, by Elena Aguilar
                                                                      Cognitive Coaching, by Arthur Costa and Robert
When I was first approached to be a mentor to an early                Garmston
career teacher, I was hesitant. I’d been teaching for a               Better Conversations, by Ted Knight
number of years and felt reasonably comfortable with                  The Coaching Habit, by Michael Bungay Stanier
what I was doing in my classroom, but was I comfortable               Mentoring Minutes, a video series that takes you
enough to mentor someone who was new to the profes-                   through the skill set of effective mentoring. Each video
sion? I took a leap of faith and decided to give it a try.            is two to four minutes long. Follow the Mentoring
Mentoring turned out to be an amazing experience.                     Minutes YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/
Through working together, my mentee and I developed a                 UCmao_iDJ5FMKKbXA8OSq8hQ
close relationship. We engaged in deep and provocative
conversations, we planned units and co-taught lessons             MORE INFORMATION
together, we watched each other teach, we laughed, we
                                                                  Are you interested in or are you currently running a
cried, and we had fun. We learned so much from each
                                                                  mentoring program in your district? Then you are invited to
other. Mentoring afforded me so many benefits, and I
                                                                  contact the Teacher Mentors of BC (TMBC). We are a group
think one of the biggest was that it forced me to closely
                                                                  of educators who meet regularly to share our journeys of
examine my own practice. While working with a mentee, I
                                                                  mentorship and collaborate on plans for supporting early
had to reflect on why I did what I did, and that has made
                                                                  career teachers. Email teachermentorsbc@gmail.com for
me a better teacher. I learned a lot from my mentoring
                                                                  more information.
interactions. Being exposed to their new ideas has enriched
my practice too.
                                                                                                       Jan/Feb 2021 TEACHER 9
Teacher Education outside the classroom - pages 26-29 - BC Teachers' Federation
Diversity audits in library learning
commons: Equity in action
 “Libraries need to speak the truth so hard it hurts.”
     – Chief Stacey Laforme, Ontario Library Association Super Conference, Toronto, January 2020

By Rebeca Rubio, co-ordinator for libraries and information services,
and Leanne McColl, teacher consultant, Richmond
WE ARE IN A TIME of social revolution.         A diversity audit can be summarized           a marker, in a deliberate attempt to
The Truth and Reconciliation                   as four key steps: taking a random            honour authors authentically writing
Commission, in addition to the                 sampling of the collection, tracking it       about their own experiences, as opp-
Pride, Black Lives Matter, and Me              against diversity markers, generating         osed to having others appropriate
Too movements, have demanded                   data, and then using the data                 their voices. We then pulled a random
that we collectively examine our               to inform future acquisitions and             sampling of our young adult fiction
understandings of equity and dis-              directions. However, it is much more          and started tracking it against these
crimination. The demands by these              complex than these simple steps.              selected markers.
movements are necessary, and                   It is a rich journey of professional
responses to these demands are long            development that addresses our                Our next step will be to analyze our
overdue.                                       implied biases. It also tackles a critical    data and then use it to inform our
                                               question: to what extent is the LLC           practice and update our collections.
Schools, like other institutions, are          collection representative of the school,      Whose voices, histories, worldviews,
complicit in systemic discrimination           the community, and even the world?            and perspectives have we neglected?
and are part of a system that                                                                The diversity audit will be followed
needs examination. Equally, school             Secondary teacher-librarians in               by advocacy, applying pressure on
library learning commons (LLCs) are            Richmond are currently immersed in a          publishing companies to invest more
structures within this system. They            diversity audit. Our journey began in         in diverse literature. We will continue
can be fierce allies who commit to             September as we unpacked concepts             to amplify the voices that have not
equity and inclusion in their practice,        of identity, positionality, privilege,        had equitable space on our shelves,
collections, and programming. So, as           racism, systemic discrimination,              in our buildings, or in our classroom
teacher-librarians, it is time for us to ask   diversity, equity, and intersectionality.     conversations.
ourselves some hard questions: Which
aspects of our practice have we failed         Considering our desire to expose              Rabia Khokhar, a teacher-librarian
to examine lately? Which voices,               underrepresented voices, we set               from Toronto, noted, “Equity is not
histories, stories and perspectives have       out to establish categories of self-          something we do every once in a
we amplified in our collections, and           identification, also called “diversity        while, but rather the lens through
which ones have been silenced or               markers.” In setting those, we grappled       which we intentionally plan and carry
excluded?                                      with big ideas: How do we define              out our vision for the school library.”
                                               race? What is decolonization? What is
One way to actively answer these               gender? What are our understandings           Equity is something we can champ-
questions is to launch an LLC diversity        of sexual orientation and gender              ion all the time: refusing silence,
audit. LLCs have a duty to ensure              identity? How do we define “ability”          committing to learning and
that all patrons have access to                and “disability,” “visible” or “invisible”?   unlearning, and understanding
high-interest, high-quality books              How do we decide which groups are             that this important work begins with
that are representative of their lives         underrepresented or marginalized?             an examination of the self. An LLC
and the lives of those who make up                                                           diversity audit is important work—it is
their communities. A diversity audit           We settled on markers of race, gender,        equity in action.
is a thorough review or inventory              ability, and sexual orientation and
of items in the LLC, with the goal of          gender identity. We also included                MORE INFORMATION
determining exactly how diverse the            Muslim voices, as a response to                  The BC Teacher-Librarians’
collection is.                                 increasing Islamophobia in Canada.               Association hosted a webinar on
                                               Finally, we included “Own Voices” as             LLC diversity audits in January
                                                                                                2021; it is available at bctla.ca.
10 TEACHER Jan/Feb 2021
Outrageous homework assignment
   sparks anger, then reflection
By Sunjum Jhaj, Editor,
Teacher magazine
IN LATE NOVEMBER, an Indigenous
mother from Abbotsford shared
a TikTok video documenting her
heartbreak and outrage at a school
assignment her daughter brought
home. The Grade 6 student was asked
to list five or more positive stories about           This has been a humbling experience for all of us. As a school district, we
residential schools. This assignment, like            will redouble our efforts to interrupt and disrupt racism and all forms of
so much conventional history, drew on                 discrimination and remain committed to revealing and correcting miseducation
colonial narratives that intentionally                related to Indigenous Peoples. We will work with Indigenous community Elders to
omit Indigenous perspectives. It is a                 move forward together in a manner that honours each of our children and our
denial of the central role residential                common humanity.
schools played in Canada’s cultural                                          – Dr. Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools, Abbotsford
genocide against Indigenous Peoples.                 teachers reaching out more and                       deep personal and professional
Unfortunately, this assignment was not               building capacity in this area.”                     learning, deconstructing stereotypes,
an isolated incident.                                                                                     and acknowledging privilege. For
                                                     There are several resources and pro-                 reconciliation to be meaningful,
Our schools mirror the racism that                   fessional development opportunities                  we must commit to understanding
exists in society. We’ve repeatedly                  available for teachers to learn and                  the lived experiences of Indigenous
called for Lynn Beyak’s expulsion from               commit to reconciliation. One of the                 peoples and confronting our com-
Senate following her inappropriate                   most valuable resources for settler-                 plicities in anti-Indigenous racism.
comments about positive residential                  teachers are colleagues in district
school experiences. This Abbotsford                  Indigenous education departments.                    The BCTF offers several workshops to
incident occurred just as law professor                                                                   help teachers learn how they can
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond released                    “I value my relationships with my                    participate in reconciliation and work
In Plain Sight, her searing report on                colleagues, and make sure they                       toward antiracism. Some examples
the prevalence of anti-Indigenous                    know the door in the Indigenous                      include the Gladys We Never Knew
racism in our healthcare system.                     Room is always open should they ever                 workshop and accompanying
We’ve also recently seen widespread                  have questions or apprehensions in                   resource, and other workshops
police violence against the BIPOC                    confronting the topic of residential                 covering the UN Declaration on the
community and learned of our                         schools. My hope is that through these               Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the
government’s failure to provide                      professional relationships our staff                 Sixties Scoop, and antiracism. These
Indigenous people with the most basic                feel supported and well-informed                     and other professional learning
of necessities: clean drinking water.                to deliver content that will correct                 modules are available on the BCTF
                                                     misinformation on the history of                     website, under the Social Justice
Several teachers and district leaders                residential schools in Canada,” said                 Programs and Workshops tab.
responded to the incident quickly                    Taryn MacDonald, a teacher for
and thoughtfully. They acknowledged                  Indigenous success in Abbotsford.                    Schools have the power to create
the harm caused by this assignment,                                                                       societal change by educating future
apologized, and, more importantly,                   Janelle Dick, a teacher from                         generations. Through the inclusion
discussed actions to prevent future                  Abbotsford’s Indigenous Education                    of Indigenous perspectives across all
incidents.                                           Department, also highlighted the                     grades and subject levels, we can
                                                     importance of collaborating with                     work toward creating positive change.
Jessica Richardson, a teacher                        Indigenous people. In this way,                      “We need to take every opportunity
with Abbotsford’s Indigenous                         “Indigenous education is being led by                to learn, talk, and share. We need to
Education Department, noted, “My                     Indigenous people.”                                  be open to different perspectives that
fear is that this incident will have                                                                      bring us closer to equity. We need to
teachers stepping back from the                      While collaboration is an important                  move forward in a restorative, healing
content to avoid falling into a similar              first step, it’s essential to recognize              way,” shared Jessica.
circumstance. Instead, I hope to see                 that true reconciliation requires

Photo: The General Synod Archives, Anglican Church of Canada: Old Sun Indian Residential School, Gleichen, AB,
                                                                                                                         Jan/Feb 2021 TEACHER 11
1945. P75-103 S7-184.
                          A slow journey
                          By Shelley Balfour, Cranbrook District Teachers’ Association president
                          and Teacher Magazine Advisory Board member
                          AS A SETTLER in British Columbia,            schools for abuse and neglect of
                          identifying the part I play in recon-        students. In 2019, when I was home to
                          ciliation has been a circuitous journey.     attend the BCTF Summer Leadership
                          I have known for a long time that            Conference, I took a tour of the school
                          things were unequal and dreadfully           for the first time. The main part of the
                          unfair, but I couldn’t find my part in the   building remains untouched. Even
                          work that needed to be done. Now,            today, the sadness is palpable—I
                          at 58 years old, I can say that I am         couldn’t hear the tour guide’s voice, I
                          working on acknowledging the past,           could only hear the tiny voices in the
                          making changes to be a better ally,          night. Those little voices I didn’t hear as
                          and starting to help others see their        we drove past every day in my youth.
                          part in the journey to reconciliation.
                                                                       At age 20, I packed up my belongings
                          I lived most of my childhood in              to head north, with a “quick stop” in
                          Kamloops. My family owned a trucking         Lethbridge to visit relatives. I ended
                          company that leased property                 up staying. I found a job in a law firm
                          “on the reserve.” That was my first          and met my husband. I immediately
                          connection to those words.                   noticed Lethbridge had a much
                                                                       more visible presence of Indigenous
                          Every day we drove past the beautiful        people and a more overtly racist
                          setting of the Kamloops Indian               tone to it. From my legal secretary’s
                          Residential School. At the time, I           chair, I became very aware of the
                          didn’t think it had anything to do with      racist comments, the mistreatment of
                          me. However, in 1977, the year the           Indigenous people, and the inequity
                          Kamloops Indian Residential School           of the justice system. Thoughts were
                          closed, a group of Indigenous students       starting to percolate about what I
                          joined our junior high. Prior to this        could do to make a difference.
                          unexpected arrival, my school was
                          a sea of white faces with very few           My husband graduated from the
                          people of colour, including the staff.       teaching program the summer we
                          We had an opportunity to welcome             got married. His first teaching job was
                          the survivors of the residential school      at Upper Hay River Day School (now
                          into our classroom, school, and              Upper Hay River School) in Meander
                          community, but my recollection is            River, a tiny Dene Thá community
                          that we did not. As settler teenagers,       in northern Alberta. I worked as the
                          we watched, we judged, but mostly,           school secretary while he taught a
                          we ignored the new students. I don’t         class of eight students. For us this was a
                          recall the teachers making an effort to      grand adventure, but for the folks who
                          discuss the residential school system,       lived there it was a sad reality. The only
                          although they must have known                buildings with electricity and running
                          where the students had arrived from.         water were the school, the Catholic
                                                                       church, the Hudson’s Bay trading post,
                          Several summers ago, while visiting the      and the teacherages we lived in. The
                          Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg,             rest of the village lived in darkness. The
                          where an entire floor is dedicated to        settlers received the luxuries, while the
                          the history of the residential schools in    community members lived without. In
                          Canada, I learned that the Kamloops          winter, I often had a lineup at my door
                          residential school was one of the worst      to fill water jugs or to do laundry. I had
12 TEACHER Jan/Feb 2021
many cups of tea with friends while         Mary Paul: “Since it was within the St.   and reading the words of Chief Sophie
the washer did its work. It was during      Eugene Mission school that the culture    Pierre, I realized my place as a settler
these laundry dates I learned that          of the Kootenay Indian was taken          on this land is a privilege, and I began
these women sitting in my living room       away, it should be within that building   to understand that the only way for
were among the first to return from the     that it is returned.” Mary Paul knew      the healing to begin, for settlers and
residential school in Hay River after       that to destroy the building would not    Indigenous Peoples, is for people like
its closure in 1969. Their children were    destroy the memories. The year 2020       me to commit to acknowledging past
the first in generations to start at the    marked the 20th anniversary of the        crimes and to work tirelessly to make
“day” school in their own community.        opening of the very successful and        sure we don’t assimilate, but celebrate
They told me stories of the heartbreak,     beautiful St. Eugene Mission and Golf     what we all bring to the world. I have
the violence, and the difficult return      Course.                                   some reconciliation of my own to do.
to their homes, where they were
strangers to their own families.            For my Masters’ degree, I did
                                            an appreciative inquiry on the
During our second year in Meander           transformation of St. Eugene Mission      Opposite: lkamnin’tik (The Children)
River, I went so far as to foster a young   Residential School. I was struck by       sculpture by Cameron Douglas
girl named Roberta. We took Roberta         the words I remembered of Mary            honours all students of St. Eugene
with us when we moved south to              Paul and used them as the basis of        Mission Residential School.
Dawson Creek at the end of that year        the paper. Sifting through the many       Below: Monument outside the
with no formal agreement in place—          documents on Canada’s residential         Kamloops Indian Residential School.
we just took her. As we prepared to         schools, the stories of survivors, the    Photo courtesy of Ken Favrholdt.
drive out of Meander River, Roberta         Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
stood in the back seat with silent tears
and not uttering a word. Roberta
stayed with us for almost two years.
Her mom checked in periodically. I
believed that I had a responsibility to
change Roberta’s life for the better. I
had no experience as a parent and
couldn’t manage the behaviours.
It took me two years to realize what
she actually needed was her family,
not another white settler here to save
her. The village already had their
share of that with the Hudson’s Bay
trading post, the Catholic church,
and the school filled with white
teachers. I reached out to Roberta’s
mom and she arrived a month later
by Greyhound bus to pick her up. I
will never forget Roberta staring out
the window of the bus, tears rolling
down her face again as the bus pulled
away, my husband and I crying on the
dock. A regret I still live with.

A further move south, brought us to
Cranbrook in 1995. I discovered the
St. Eugene Mission Residential School
during a drive to explore our new
surroundings. It was a heartbreaking
scene of broken windows, neglect,
and sadness nestled amongst the
beautiful Rockies. In 1970 it closed and
sat empty until Chief Sophie Pierre and
her council had to make a decision.
They could tear the building down to
rid the community of the sorrow, or
they could heed the words of Elder

                                                                                                     Jan/Feb 2021 TEACHER 13
A journey with the
                   Project of Heart Canoe
By Rick Joe, teacher, Chilliwack
THE FIRST TIME I saw the Project of Heart Canoe was at a         Development in Chilliwack. The Speaking to Memory
Truth and Reconciliation Commission event in September           exhibit is a collection of documents that share stories of
2013. I am a canoe puller and have a high regard for             residential school survivors who attended St. Michael’s
canoes. I knew immediately that I wanted to participate          Indian Residential School in Alert Bay.
in this initiative. At that time, I didn’t know much about the
canoe. It wasn’t until I joined the BCTF Aboriginal Education    When the canoe first arrived, we hosted a traditional Stó:lo-
Advisory Committee that I learned of the canoe’s history         brushing off ceremony. The canoe does important work by
and travels across the province.                                 providing space and time for us to learn about residential
                                                                 schools. As people pass through and participate in this
The canoe was carved by Derrick George, a Tsleil-Waututh         project, they share their emotions and energy with the
carver, and his three sons. Una Ann Moyer, a Tahltan artist,     canoe. By brushing off the canoe, we cleanse the energy
took on the task of embellishing the canoe. She used tiles       and start fresh.
created by students from across the province. Each tile is
a witness piece, representing something meaningful from          I am St’at’mic from the Lil’wat Nation and was honoured
one person’s journey of learning about residential schools.      to be involved in the brushing off ceremony, but knew it
                                                                 was only appropriate for a Stó:lo- person to perform the
In June, I travelled to Port Alberni to pick up the canoe        ceremony. Previous Lieutenant Governor Steven Point
and bring it to Chilliwack, where I teach. In Port Alberni,      completed the ceremony.
Ahousaht Elder Tim Sutherland blessed the canoe and sang
a travelling song for a safe journey.                            The Stó:lo- Nation Research and Resource Development has
                                                                 an education longhouse with enough space for a class to
Currently, the canoe, along with the Speaking to Memory          sit with and learn from the canoe together. Unfortunately,
exhibit, is housed by Stó:lo- Nation Research and Resource       COVID-19 has limited opportunities for classes to interact

14 TEACHER Jan/Feb 2021
with the canoe. A group of Chilliwack teachers, including
myself, were accepted into the BCTF Teacher Inquiry
Project and will investigate how to create virtual learning
opportunities involving the canoe as part of our inquiry.

Chilliwack is also hosting the Light Box as part of our Project
of Heart exhibit. The Light Box is housed in the Chilliwack
Museum. The Light Box was created by the Comox Valley
School District’s Aboriginal Education Department. It has a
stained-glass top with the image of the canoe. When you
plug it in, the box lights up and the canoe glows.

The Light Box is a legacy project. Each local that hosts the
canoe creates a legacy project, so that the learning can
continue even after the canoe moves on to another local.                                            The Light Box, created by the
Port Alberni created a resource bank filled with units and                                          Comox Valley Aboriginal Education
lesson plans as their legacy project. They have offered to                                          Department as a Project of Heart
share this legacy project with anyone who wants to host                                             Canoe legacy project. Alan
                                                                                                    Macunalty photo courtesy of
the canoe.
                                                                                                    Comox Valley Art Gallery (CVAG).
The Project of Heart Canoe has toured the province,
visiting different locals and creating lasting and dynamic
relationships. The canoe gives us an opportunity to take             ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
time to learn about residential schools. It brings history           I want to thank my wife, Peggy Janicki, and our
into the present and helps us understand that residential            friend, Lillian Morton, for their help getting the canoe
schools are not simply something from the past. Together,            to Chilliwack. The work of the Aboriginal Education
Chilliwack teachers and students will be working on a                Departments from Comox Valley and Port Alberni
legacy project from our time with the canoe. It is my hope           is very much appreciated. Each local, and each
that we will use this opportunity to honour the students who         person involved in this project, has taken care of the
attended residential schools and create a lasting legacy in          canoe in a good way. My hope is that every local will
our local before the canoe continues its journey to spread           have a chance to host and learn from the Project of
its teachings in another local.                                      Heart Canoe.

   Students sit with the POH Canoe. Alan Macunalty photo courtesy
   of CVAG. Opposite: The canoe at the Sto:lo- Nation Research and
   Resource Development education longhouse. Rick Joe photo.

                                                                                                    Jan/Feb 2021 TEACHER 15
Re-envisioning classroom management:
There is no room for rewards in the
21st century classroom                                                                                                   iStock.com/Daisy-Daisy

By Ryleigh Jacobs, teacher on educational leave, Chilliwack
                PICTURE A BEAUTIFUL,           as educators: instead of motivating            Rewards demand that our students
                bright middle school           students to learn, rewards motivate            quantify each experience as they ask
                classroom, one that            students to get more rewards. If the goal      the question, “What will I get if I do this?”
                screams Pinterest on           in our classrooms is to create effective       Restorative practices, on the other hand,
                every bulletin board.          communicators, critical-thinkers, and          invite our students to wrestle with the
Suddenly, a 12-year-old boy stands up          problem-solvers who care about the             important question, “Who do I want to
mid-lesson and starts twerking while           well-being of others, then a prerequisite      be?” in a way that celebrates, values,
obnoxiously singing “Earthworm Sally.”         is the removal of rewards.                     and challenges them within a safe
His classmates aren’t sure how to react.                                                      community.
Some laugh, some roll their eyes, while        I am not advocating for anarchy, nor
others look to the mortified first-year        am I intending to leave you in the             One leader in actualizing communities
teacher frozen at the front of the             dark, stifled by classroom manage-             of trust, compassion and awareness
classroom.                                     ment hopelessness. I am, however,              in BC classrooms is the North Shore
                                               advocating for something that might            Restorative Justice Project (www.nsrj.ca/
The naïve and overwhelmed first-year           seem messy in the interim but is never-        programs/schools-initiative). In providing
teacher in this scenario (yours truly)         theless holistic and emblematic of 21st        a framework to build community
decided she was well past punitive             century learning. One such avenue to           and restore broken relationships, they
solutions like detention. While diffusing      achieve this is restorative practices.         effectively help all students to grow in
the situation as best I could, I made a                                                       a way that beautifully aligns with our
mental note to implement a positive            Restorative practices is a relational          BC core competencies of personal
behaviour rewards system as soon               approach to learning that aims to              awareness, social responsibility, and
as possible. My guess is, we have all          establish an inclusive, safe, respectful,      communication.
struggled with management issues               and responsible classroom environment.
and find ourselves somewhere on the            As an alternative to traditional discipline,   Now picture a young girl stepping off
continuum between punishment and               restorative practices invite students to       the bus, angry and desiring destruction.
rewards. Unfortunately, these two staples      consider their role within a community,        During morning circle time, she shares
of classroom management are two sides          encourage self-regulation, and teach           about hardships no Grade 6 student
of the same coin. While we have long           healthy conflict resolution through            should ever face. It took five months to
touted that punishment is dismayingly          structured time and activities. Simply         get to that point of sharing: five months
ineffective at promoting the skills requir-    put, it is a way of being and learning         of vulgar language and mild violence
ed of 21st century citizens, I believe it is   with others that closely reflects the First    toward myself and peers. Instead of
time we realize the same about rewards.        Nations principles in our reformed BC          shoving her peers in the halls, her go-to
                                               curriculum.                                    coping mechanism, she learned to
When it comes to classroom manage-                                                            regulate her emotions in the presence of
ment, it may seem like rewards do              When we ditch the rewards and adopt            her peers who had grown to respect her
the trick by incentivizing students to         restorative practices, we are forced to        through restorative practices.
effectively conform to expectations.           examine the social dynamics of our
Unfortunately, this is akin to slapping        classroom and grow together. Living            As forward-thinking educators, we are
a Band-Aid on a wart: a short-term             in a community is messy, and our               obliged to ask ourselves the following:
fix. Rewards erroneously shortcut the          students deserve to not only know this,        how can we cultivate autonomous,
essential process of cultivating values in     but be equipped to deal with it too. In        critical-thinking learners if we continually
our students that can only be done from        leveraging the mechanisms for social           insist that students act in prescribed
the inside out.                                engagement rather than social control,         ways based on reward systems? As such,
                                               we can offer the space and time for            I invite you to abandon the status-quo
Research initiated by Alfie Kohn1 reveals      students to develop their potential            of rewards, and recognize that your true
that rewards are ineffective: people           and recognize their role in a dynamic          power lies not in student compliance but
tend to revert to their default behaviour      community where belonging is not               in empowerment of all students through
once reward systems are removed.               contingent on conformity.                      restorative practices.
Even worse, rewards tend to undermine
                                               1 Kohn, A. (1993). Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans,
the very thing we strive to promote
                                               A’s, praise, and other bribes. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.

16 TEACHER Jan/Feb 2021
Self-directed professional development
By Robyn Ladner, teacher and BCTF Professional Issues Advisory Committee chairperson, Vernon
TEACHERS, like students, have different                                                                              of supporting their growth. But where                                                 You can use such guiding questions
learning styles and needs. Our profes-                                                                               do you start and how can you move                                                     to create a set of goals or ideas that
sional development (PD) activities should                                                                            forward?                                                                              can be referred to when looking for
reflect this. Research tells us that the                                                                                                                                                                   PD opportunities. Themes and areas of
most effective PD occurs when teachers                                                                               Choices for self-directed PD should                                                   interest begin to reveal themselves and
are in control of their own learning. The                                                                            be made carefully. A starting point is                                                can guide you as you search for and
COVID-19 pandemic has shifted how                                                                                    reflecting on your practice and teaching                                              browse learning experiences that may
teachers engage in PD opportunities.                                                                                 needs. What are you interested in                                                     fit your needs.
Time together in-person at conferences                                                                               improving or knowing more about?
or in collaboration isn’t possible. Web-                                                                             What additions and improvements to                                                    Self-directed PD can be transform-
inars and online conferences are often                                                                               your professional repertoire would best                                               ational. It is a method in which teachers
our only choices on PD days. Many                                                                                    support the needs of your students?                                                   are truly in control of their learning
teachers, weary of this format, are                                                                                  What parts of your teaching practice do                                               experiences, in their own time, and
turning to self-directed PD as an option                                                                             you want to strengthen?                                                               under their own conditions.

                       THE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT LENS                                                                                                                                                   Some options to consider when
                                                                                                                                                                                                           creating your self-directed PD plan:
   At the centre of the lens are teachers and their learning, both as a collective and as individuals. The term “teachers’
   professional development” is used to highlight its use both in thinking about individual PD and PD as a collective endeavor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           •   Read educational journals, books,
   The Inner Ring: Key criteria                                                                                         The Outer Ring: Necessary factors                                                      or articles.
   The inner ring consists of three factors that are                                                                    The factors in the outer ring are critical to the success of                       •   Engage in a teacher inquiry project
   necessary for an activity to be considered professional                                                              teacher-directed professional development as a collective
   development. If any of the three are not present, then the                                                           endeavor. In turn, this collective work provides the necessary                         or form a teacher research group.
   activity should not be seen as professional development.                                                             conditions for all teachers to be able to create their own rich
                                                                                                                        tapestries of appropriate professional learning.                                   •   Conduct online research of a
                                                                                                                                                                                                               professional topic of interest.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           •   Watch professional videos online.
   Diverse                                                                                                                                                                           Collaborative
   Teacher-directed professional                                                                                                                                        Teacher-directed professional      •   Develop and/or facilitate a
   development opportunities                                                                                                                                       development is best when teachers
                                                                                                                                                                            work together to plan, to          workshop for colleagues.
   should span a wide range
   of topics and learning                                                                                                                                                   deliver and to share their     •   Develop and/or publish a
   methods.                                                                                                                                                                     professional learning.
                                                                                                                                                                                                               professional resource/article.
                                                                                                                                                    Co                                                     •   Research, plan, and pilot a new
                                          se                                                                Relevant                                                b                                          or innovative program for your


                                                                                                            activity help me impr

                                                                                                     s this                                                                                                •   Pilot or develop new materials for a
                                                                                                                                                                             i ve

                                                                                               D oe        eacher? Does this activ the w
                                                                                                    as a                          it y        ork                                                              specific subject area.
                                                                                               role         m prove the work th        h
                                                                                                                               ey d elp th I do
                                                                                                       ed i                         oa
                                                                                                   o lv                                        e         i
                                                                                                inv                                     s a c tea n
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                                                                                                                                                                                                           •   Apply for grant programs that could
                                                 D oes this ac tiv

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                                                  obligations to c


                                                                                                                                                   ti v                                                        benefit your class or school.
                                                                                                                                                                      e ?
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                                                                                                 TEACHERS’                                                                                                 •   Enrol in an online course or webinar.
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                                                                                                                                                                                                           The Professional Development Lens
   opportunities                                                                                                                                                             Adequate funds for both
   for teacher-directed                                                                                                                                                       individual and collective    The PD Lens (left) is a tool for members
   professional development                                                                                                                                              teacher-directed professional
   span the full range of a                                                                                                                                           development opportunities must       to consider when making informed and
   teacher’s career.                                                                                                                                                                      be available.    autonomous professional development
   Career-long                                                                                                                                                       Funded and Supported                  choices: bctf.ca/PD-Lens

         BCTF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT                                                                                                                                               #ThisIsMyPD                           Jan/Feb 2021 TEACHER 17
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