Teaching in Public Schools???




Last July I received an invite from one of our local universities to speak to teacher candidates again in September.

Public speaking and presenting is not my passion, but investing in teacher education… our future… is.

At that time our teachers’ federation and provincial government were in the heat of the contract battle, but I agreed to present, optimistically thinking that by September there would be labour peace and that I’d have the opportunity to provide a positive and encouraging message for our future colleagues.

My topic?

“Teaching in Public Schools”….

… and I’d be followed by the presenter on…

…teaching in independent schools…..


When I returned to work in mid-August there was still no end in sight. The Labour Day weekend, which normally signalled the return of students and teachers to school, came and went. Besides sweating the day-to-day work in assisting schools in preparing for the upcoming school year, whenever it was to begin, I was now also becoming anxious about the timing of my upcoming presentation.

Right up until the night before the Secondary session, I attempted to revise and tweak the presentation in hopes that I could help make sense of this turbulent time and somehow leave student teachers with a positive optimistic message that would help propel them forward as they prepare to join our profession. At some point that evening I hit the wall, and realized I could do no more.

After a restless night I got up early to discover a reason for hope:


Baldrey Tweet


I had no time to change the Powerpoint, but knew I had to quickly change my plans for the delivery.

The presentation to Secondary student teachers was a bit rocky, but I knew I had a day before repeating the presentation to Elementary/Middle School student teachers. I’m not sure what led me to believe that I would have any time to work on the presentation given that we would have only a few days to get schools up and running.

The result: only a minor change to the Powerpoint, and once again the need to change the delivery on the fly.

In the presentations I tried to convey what led me to teaching, and how my personal experiences shaped who I became as a person and as an educator; how interactions early in my childhood would shape the focus and purpose of one of my missions in schools {Mosaic, Melting Pot, Tolerance…. Which is it?}; the issues that became priorities {What got our students there?, We are not cookie-cutter kids. Cashing in on Opportunity = Responsibility, On “How Do We Identify & Teach Students with Learning Difficulties” and #edcampdelta}; and the need to be open to how our careers paths may evolve and change.

However, most of all, I wanted to leave a message of the importance that teacher candidates stay focused on, and to not forget, the passion and purpose that has drawn each of us into the world of education.



Teaching in public schools – UBC 2014 from M. Kee


And by the way….

My slide, “Your attitude will determine your altitude.”…

– I didn’t come up with that. Others have also used it.


…I got it from Big Willy on MasterChef….


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