Editor's notebook

January 14, 2015 Gordon Thomas

Know where you stand and where to turn for help

“The strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it.”
— Rona Barrett, columnist and businesswoman

And so here we are, up to our underarms in the weighty and varied demands of our professional lives as yet another school year rapidly advances into its dog days.

For teachers, keeping up with the constant demands that exist both inside and outside the classroom is exhausting and time consuming — there just aren’t enough hours in a day! So it’s easy to let slide some of the other important aspects of a successful teaching career: understanding contract details, the particulars of the Code of Professional Conduct, the latest policy on appropriate technology use or smoothing out that growing rift with a certain colleague down the hall.

With all this in mind (and because we couldn’t think of a better idea), we thought we’d use this issue of the ATA Magazine to remind teachers that the Alberta Teachers’ Association is here to help during those moments when the activities of the day-to-day grind are forced aside by important career questions or even crisis.

Member Services is the name of the program area within the ATA that exists to help when questions arise or trouble starts brewing, as coordinator Brian Andrais outlines in his article “What does Member Services do?”

To complement Brian’s piece, we’ve compiled a collection of articles that explain some of the legal details that affect a teacher’s life and where teachers stand when it comes to their professional conduct, professional practice and employment in this age of constant scrutiny.

Penned (or keyboarded, to be more precise) by executive staff officers within the Member Services program area, these articles provide tips on maintaining healthy relationships with colleagues, starting a teaching career successfully, understanding contracts, maintaining the dignity of the profession, the pressures created by student medical needs, the murky world of ratings websites like RateMyTeacher.com and the pitfalls of emerging technology. Every one is a must read. (I’m serious. I expect a report from each of you by Friday.)

The world has changed for teachers — as anyone with more than a few days in a classroom can surely attest — partly due to technology, partly due to ever-increasing demands. What hasn’t changed is the fact that the ATA has staff on standby who are willing and able to listen to your problems and provide expert advice.

Remember, we are here to serve you and we’re just a phone call away. Now read on … and be sure to take notes.

Also In This Issue