This year has been a unique start for the Gold Trail school district as the district has struggled to fill a number of full time teaching positions. As I repeatedly hear news reports that teachers are struggling to find meaningful employment, I am left to ask the question… is the true struggle to find meaningful employment in urban settings? If the answer is yes, then I encourage all teachers looking for employment to look at what rural districts across this province have to offer.
While it is easy to look at the perceived deficits of rural communities: no Starbucks or Tim Hortons, a lack of restaurants or shopping the strengths far outweigh these potential limitations.
Teaching in a rural school district has advantages:
- Opportunities for teachers to gain valuable teaching experience in a variety of roles
- Opportunities for professional development to all teachers in the district
- Opportunities for career advancement
Teaching in a rural school has advantages:
- School staffs work together collaboratively as professional learning communities
- Teachers know the name of every student in their classroom but also the names of each student in the whole school
Teaching in a rural community has advantages:
- Warmly welcomed and appreciated by community members
- Opportunity to take learning outside of the classroom
- Opportunity to save money with a lower cost of living
As I write this post, I am left to reflect on my own career and how I have professionally and personally benefited from my experience working in Gold Trail. I am certain that the developments in my career are partially due to the opportunities and experiences that were afforded to me because I worked in a rural district.
On behalf of School District No. 74, welcome to the 2012-2013 school year. September is an exciting time in the education system: students return to school with anticipation and excitement, parents and caregivers look forward to watching their children grow and develop new skills and understandings and school staffs look forward to welcoming and getting to know new and returning students.
Last year the Ministry of Education released BC’s Education Plan. A plan that is focused on transforming BC’s education system to one that is focused on meeting the unique learning needs of each student through:
- personalized learning for every student;
- quality teaching and learning;
- flexibility and choice;
- high standards; and,
- learning empowered by technology.
The Gold Trail Board of Education’s mission is to create a dynamic and supportive learning community that inspires and enables all students to achieve their potential. We have been moving towards personalizing learning for students for a number of years. Initiatives such as Connected Classrooms, Shared Learning, Reading Intervention, the Summit Project, Personal Education Planners and AVID have shown to be successful for students. As the district deepens our work to meet the needs of each student, we have invited Barry MacDonald, acclaimed researcher and author of Boy Smarts, to Gold Trail on Friday, November 23rd. He will be leading a day of learning for school district employees, families and community members focused on imaginative and practical guidelines for authentic engagement in meeting boys’ varied learning needs. The guidance offered can help parents and teachers in the challenging task of understanding each boy as an individual while also working toward a community plan to raise boys’ school achievement. Everyone is invited to attend this day of learning. We all have an important role to play in the success of our students and I look forward to working closely with you throughout the 2012-2013 school year.
I wish each learner, staff member, family and community member a happy and successful school year.