M o n d a y, F e b r u a r y 1 0 , 2 0 2 0
S a S k at o o n S ta r P h o e n i x
Teacher/sTaff appreciaTion week Teachers and support staff bring learning to life
By J e a n n i e a r m s t ro n g
Few people have greater impact on children’s lives than teachers. Teachers are more than educators. They are role models, life coaches, cheerleaders, influencers, discovery guides and mediators. From February 9 to 15, people across Saskatchewan have the opportunity to recognize the important role educators have in our children’s lives during Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week, as proclaimed by Saskatchewan Minister of Education Gordon Wyant. T he theme for this year ’s special week is “Bringing Learning to Life,” says Ruth Griffiths, a board member with the Saskatchewan Association of School Councils (SASC). The non-profit volunteer organization works to contribute to the learning success and well-being of students within their school and community. Griffiths says it takes creativity and imagination to bring learning to life in the classroom. “Learning really needs to be engaging to students. They have to understand what they’re learning, why they’re learning and what the value of the information that they’re learning is to their everyday lives. It needs to be relevant.” She points to programs including financial literacy, civics and citizenship, and Ag in the Classroom, as examples. “Ag in the Classroom teaches kids about the food chain and how food arrives at their tables. In our school division, in Kindersley, there’s a lot more emphasis on inviting local community members into the schools to talk about their professions and how they have applied learning in their own lives.” Educators face numerous challenges in bringing learning to life, acknowledges Griffiths. ClassTHIS SECTION WAS CREATED BY CONTENT WORKS, POSTMEDIA’S COMMERCIAL CONTENT DIVISION.
Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week is an opportunity to recognize the important role that educators and support staff have in our children’s lives. G e t ty I m aG e s
rooms are larger than ever, comprised of students with diverse needs, backgrounds and who are at different levels of learning. “I think the whole idea of project-based learning is really helpful in that respect. Project-based learning makes it easier to reach kids at different levels.” Parents are also important partners in the education of their children. Griffiths says there are many ways parents can join in bringing learning to life for their children. “There are lots of examples of that. From something as simple as baking with your kids and teaching them about fractions when they’re using a measuring cup and measuring spoons… or coming to the classroom and talking about what they do for a living and why it’s important. It’s
important for parents to have those conversations with their kids and interact with them on a daily basis.” Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week is celebrated across Canada, but the event originated here in Saskatchewan 33 years ago. In 1988, the Canadian Home and School Federation adopted Teacher Appreciation Week and introduced it to jurisdictions across the country. Over the years, the designated week has evolved to honour, not just teachers, but support staff including educational assistants, school librarians, janitors, bus drivers, educational psychologists, speech pathologists and administration staff. “They all work together as a team to provide services to the students,” says Griffiths. “Teachers and staff members
do so much for students on a daily basis. I know parents appreciate that, but a lot of times, it goes unsaid. It’s kind of a given. So it’s good to have one week of the year that is focused on our
teachers and support staff, that says to them, ‘You’re really important to us and what you do makes a difference.’” Communities choose many different ways to honour teachers and support staff during this special week, led by school community councils. Griffiths says that gifts of food are one of the most common ways people choose to show their appreciation, including bringing trays of baking, fruit and sandwiches for school staff members to enjoy. Parents can also volunteer to do lunchtime supervision so that all teachers and staff can gather together at the same time. Students also have the opportunity to show their appreciation to teachers and school staff by presenting special assembly programs, or decorating their schools with banners and posters. “There’s just a multitude of things that communities across the province are doing. And I know that it’s greatly appreciated by teachers and support staff,” says Griffiths. To find out more about the Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week events at your school, contact the local School Community Council (SCC). Contact information can be obtained through your neighbourhood school or parent group.
T E A C H E R A N D S TA F F A P P R E C I AT I O N W E E K FEBRUARY 9-15, 2020 How to Participate: 1. Cut out letter template 2. Write your message of appreciation
3. Take a picture 4. Share on social media – #TeacherStaffAppreciationWeek and tag @SaskTeachersFed 5. Give to your teacher and/or school staff member! Teachers and school staff make a positive impact across our province every day. Let’s show them how grateful we are for their dedication.
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