Candace Spilsbury, chair of the Cowichan Valley School District Board of Education. (Photo by Mark Margerison)

Candace Spilsbury, chair of the Cowichan Valley School District Board of Education. (Photo by Mark Margerison)

Guest column: Recognizing exceptional professionalism on World Teachers’ Day

Oct. 5 World Teachers’ Day

By Candace Spilsbury

On Monday, Oct. 5, our district and our community will mark a very special and unique celebration of World Teachers’ Day. This year, more than any other, we take the time to stop and reflect on the tremendous work that teachers have done over the last year. While previous years were marked with simple celebration and recognition, this year we want to highlight the gratitude we owe our teachers for their steadfast dedication to their students, their schools, and our communities.

We often talk of transformation, and moving our work towards a change in education. At no time did we ever envision the tremendous shift that COVID-19 would bring to our education system. This pandemic has challenged teachers to build a new system in days and weeks. Rather than build this system brick by brick, they have been asked to build a sturdy foundation, put up supportive walls, install a protective roof, and furnish the building all at once.

The repeated transformation of our education system over the last six months has been nothing short of phenomenal. Teachers rose to the occasion and were hard at work ensuring that supports and educational opportunities were there for all learners. Rather than ‘remodeling’ the education system teachers were building something completely new and unique from scratch and without blueprints.

Our board recognizes the tremendous work that teachers have led over the last year and we are deeply appreciative of their efforts. Without this important work, our students would be missing out on so many of those elements of school that cannot be replaced with online learning.

We know our teachers have been at the forefront of this educational transformation. Now, under COVID we know their jobs are more complicated than ever before and require more time, care, and attention to detail. Just as our community continually supports our essential service workers, we need to support the hard work done every day at every school.

Our schools reflect our communities, and what happens within our schools determines what happens in our futures. Thanks to our teachers, our learners will have a safe and warm environment to grow in so they can transition to a future of their choosing. In doing so, they will create a better world for us all.

Candace Spilsbury is the chair of the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District.