Just before I headed out to hear one of the keynote speakers at the BCTF summer conference Wednesday morning, I read the paper. I was dismayed at the We Say article on the letters page that criticized the intent of workshops at the BCTF conference.
Obviously, the writer of that editorial did not actually look at the line-up of workshops offered, nor does he/she have any idea of the intent of the conference!
There are hundreds of teachers at the conference, giving up their summer free time in order to learn more about how to reach the teachers in their districts.
Yes, part of the conference deals with communicating positively about the challenges of their careers. But there are also other topics being discussed.
I attended a meeting on Tuesday of TTOCs (teachers on call) in which there were numerous young professionals who would love to be teaching in a classroom, but who had been on call for the past seven or eight years! It is very challenging to hold a part-time position for years, hoping to be offered work that suits one’s skills.
Not only is it financially difficult, but waiting for “your own classroom” while you try to keep up with your skills is discouraging. The discussions touched on support for these young teachers (mentoring, as well as opportunities for them to work on projects) as well as sharing ideas that they use in classrooms.
Another session I attended was focused on teachers building professional development opportunities in their local districts. Every single teacher in the room was working toward bettering the learning of teachers, to pass on those skills to their students.
There are numerous other conferences for teachers offered throughout the year that are designed to share ideas, resources and strategies for teaching. One of these is The Start UP! program offered next week at TRU. It is a conference that teachers attend voluntarily to boost their collection of ideas for teaching.
Teachers seek out professional development opportunities throughout their careers to improve teaching practices. The intent of the BCTF summer conference is not one of those — it is held to help the representatives of the BCTF to better communicate with their district teachers and to support them to be better teachers!I congratulate the teachers attending the conference and the BCTF for making this conference available.