Education a passion for all eight teachers in my family, so I was grateful for a February full of school activities in my capacity as an MLA, as well as the numerous basketball games and tournaments I’ve taken our own children to as a father.
Feb. 11 to 15 was Teacher Appreciation Week which allowed me to spend time in local schools and see first-hand the good work our teachers do every day. I visited 10 schools and preschools and read to students in an attempt to pass along some of my own passion for reading. The stories were fun and the students respectful and responsive. I was impressed with the libraries in our area schools and with the priority teachers placed on reading. I also participated in a Human Library event at John Pritchard School where I joined comedians Al Simmons, Big Daddy Taz and others to tell elements of our life stories to rotating groups of students who came to listen. It was fun, interactive and with two comedians involved, got a bit zany. I posted a video on my MLA Facebook page which generated some laughs (watch to the end).
The Manitoba Teachers’ Society also celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week from Feb. 11 to 15, taking me back to schools with small thank you snacks and letters of gratitude and appreciation for teachers and staff. If you missed Teacher Appreciation Week, teaching is hard work and often underappreciated, so it’s never wasted time when someone takes a moment to say thanks. I had the privilege of connecting with an old high school teacher of mine over lunch. He’s since retired, but it was good to catch up and discuss life, politics and education.
Lastly, our government announced a system-wide education review and invited parents, teachers and students to give their input on how Manitoba’s education could be better. This is not about salaries or divisional boundaries, but about the delivery of education. No review of this nature has happened in 50 years, and anyone old enough to remember 1969 will know that much has changed since then! And sadly, for the several years now, Manitoba’s scores have lagged behind the rest of Canada in Math, Science and Reading (Grade 8 scores). This should concern us all. Full details on the review as well as related links can be found under the news tab of andrewmicklefield.com. Or email me your thoughts directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have much to be grateful for in Manitoba and education is part of our rich legacy. We have thousands of dedicated teachers working hard every day, year after year, in often challenging situations in changing schools and with diverse student populations.
We must embrace the future with forward thinking, and for now, never forget to say thank you for all the good we see around us today.