New professional learning and development network to benefit teachers across the country
As we all well know, change is multidimensional – it’s personal, it’s structural, it’s systemic, and it’s continuous. Just as we are constantly changing and growing as human beings, so too organizations must change and evolve.
The Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF) is no different, living much change and transformation in recent years in terms of its programs as well as through its staff with many retiring after serving years of service. From my many years of experience working at the CTF, I’m very fortunate to hold much of the Federation’s historical knowledge, and in particular, of the former Professional Development program area. I recall inspiring conferences in which over 300 colleagues from across the country discussed issues relevant to public education, schools, classrooms, teachers and students. The many thought‑provoking publications produced at the time are still in circulation today. How can we forget my former colleagues whose vision and belief in social justice inspired us all: Heather-Jane Robertson, Damian Solomon and Noreen O’Haire. Together, we addressed issues that were either prevalent in the classroom, systemic in nature, or had the potential to cause a seismic shift to the foundation of publicly funded public education.
Then, due to organizational ebb and flow, the CTF Professional Development program area was temporarily put on hold. Until now.
We are delighted to introduce the new CTF Professional Learning and Development Network – PLDN for short. It brings together colleagues who work in the professional learning area of their provincial and territorial teacher organizations (who, by the way, are some of the most dedicated professionals I have ever met). As with other union professionals, the teachers’ well-being is up front and centre. They have been in the classroom and have been in teachers’ shoes. Their fingers are constantly on the pulse of educational change, of societal shifts and of teachers’ professional and personal growth. They urgently want this network; they need this network, and classroom teachers will benefit from it.
Teachers understand the value in active communities of learning since they live it every day in their classroom, promoting individual value within the collective, providing the opportunity for equal voice, and nurturing a safe and inclusive space for sharing and learning. That is what we are striving for with the PLDN — an active and dynamic community of learning that we will build together and sustain with a view to benefitting all Canadian classroom teachers.
Beyond the obvious sharing of knowledge and resources, the PLDN will become the go-to place when colleagues need advice on a pressing issue; the place where we can ignite a necessary conversation and connect with other national networks of union professionals working in research and/or promoting gender issues, French-language education in minority settings, to name a few.
The CTF is committed to ensuring that the PLDN community of learning becomes a rich hub of knowledge, resources, and teacher pride under the overarching theme of union solidarity for a strong publicly funded public education system.
In each issue of Perspectives, we will feature a PLDN column that will address issues of importance to union professionals and classroom teachers such as mental health in the classroom, inclusive education, mentorship, leadership, and more. This is a promising step for all of us dedicated to professional learning and public education.