I am not a December baby, but my birthday is in the latter half of the year, the second week of September. This fact, combined with an uninterrupted passage through secondary and post-secondary education, meant I was merely 22 years old the first time I stepped in front of the English classes which made up my teaching assignment. I had the fortune of landing my first job in a small BC community, and this meant I was offered a teaching assignment which would have likely taken years to secure in a larger centre. It seemed rookie teachers, at the time, typically did not teach senior courses. The result of this good fortune meant I was in front of ‘children’ who were only four years my junior. I struggle to match the faces of recent students with their graduation year, and I cannot always recover their names from the thousands on file, but I remember my first English 11 class very well… especially Adrian.
I have shared before the story of my move from the lower mainland to small town BC. It was something of a culture shock, to say the least. It took some time to get used to the absence of traffic lights and the presence of moose. I learned the value of a block heater and the irrelevance of a briefcase. However, it took some distance in years for me to appreciate the flip of that coin: the greenhorn city boy, clearly out of his element. From my students’ point of view – especially Adrian’s – I was ripe for the picking.
Before I get too far into this narrative, let me clarify that Adrian was not a bad guy. In fact, I liked him. I appreciated his sardonic wit, and he was among the few students shorter than me. Without intent to vilify him, I would call Adrian the class clown; and, often, I featured large in his jokes. As a young man, lacking confidence and in an unfamiliar setting, I began to dread Block A and the weeks when it appeared four times in our 5x8 schedule.
I could share many examples of Adrian’s misbehaviour, but one comes to mind which well illustrates Adrian’s clowning. During my practicum, mentors stressed the importance of creative lesson planning and preparing engaging activities upon which to build the learning. To that end, I often incorporated activities which called for movement and were noisy. Just such a lesson was underway in Block A when my Principal Louise Burgart visited my classroom. Her visit was not formally evaluative, but I was nervous, nonetheless. As she was speaking to me, the buzz of the students was rising to a high pitch. I could not make out what Louise was saying. With the intent to demonstrate my authority and control of this classroom, I decided to get the group’s attention and quiet them down. So, I barked out, “Hey!” or, “Class!” Only, it did not come out deep, loud, and commanding – I had yet to cultivate my teacher voice. In addition, I was a little stressed, the tension locking up my vocal cords. I was able to make a sound, and it was heard over the din of the room. Adrian heard me. From the back of the room, he turned around and said, loud and clear, “Wow! I thought that was a woman!” I had no comeback, and feared my Principal would be disappointed in my weak discipline.
It was not long into the fall when I stood one morning in the photocopy room, staring at the machine as if it would magically produce an English 11 lesson for me. The night before, once I had finished my marking and planned for my other classes, I had turned my attention to Block A. But the well was dry, and every lesson idea that formed in my imagination dissolved again when I thought of Adrian. I could not face the morning unprepared, so I did not allow myself to sleep. Instead, I turned on MuchMusic, hoping for inspiration. Haywire was on heavy rotation. I finally fell asleep around 2 am, curled into a foetal position in the glow of the TV. And, it was the next morning, in that copy room, where my colleague offered the second-best piece of advice I received as a rookie.
He had come with his own blackline masters in hand and casually asked how I was doing. In a moment of weakness – or perhaps it was bravery – I told him the truth: I was not prepared for Block A, and it was first period this day. His face gave no insight to his thinking, but he told me to “wait here.” A few moments later, he returned with a file folder of exercises. They were simply worksheets to reinforce writing skills. Nothing exciting, or necessarily engaging. He handed me the file and invited me to copy the entire inventory; he even pointed out a set of exercises I could use immediately – this morning – in Block A. His advice was something like this: “You don’t have to try and do backflips every day. Don’t make these exercises your bread and butter, but it’s okay sometimes to resort to a simple structured lesson. The bell will eventually dismiss this class. And believe me: you’ll remember the lesson far longer than they will.” And he was right. First period came and went, and the sky did not fall. Even Adrian was quiet and focused on the task at hand, occupied if not engaged. It would not be often that I resorted to a doorhandle lesson, but I now knew I would come through alright.
Adrian kept me on my toes, but I came through the school year alright, too. And, I survived in part due to the best advice I received that year. It came from Louise, my Principal. I had a few conversations with her in the months before Christmas and, during one of them, she offered this advice: “You catch more flies with honey.” Now, she was not advocating for bribery or sweetness. She was telling me that reprisal and humiliation will not foster relationships. Long before education became highly attuned to it, Louise was advising compassion as the foundation for discipline. Her words and her mentorship have served me well these many, many years.
The collective wisdom BC Principals and Vice-Principals hold is vast. It was this week during Coffee Connections that I overheard our members sharing sage words of guidance. Among the gems, I heard, “Look for the positive, the negative will find you” and, “We can say we don’t know all the answers” and, “I felt that it (working 6am-10pm each day) was heroic.”
If you ask me, candid conversation about the work we do is a great way to start the day with colleagues. We have two more Coffee Connections scheduled this year, June 1 and June 15. Maybe we’ll see you at one, and feel free to bring a friend!
Darren Danyluk would be delighted to connect with your Chapter through a virtual meeting or, respecting all local health protocols and schedules permitting, Darren could book travel to your community for a visit. To discuss a booking, please contact Sharon North.
BCPVPA staff continue to work both in the office and remotely, and will continue to align with any provincial health guidelines that may be announced. We are here to support our members: please do not hesitate to contact us.
The BCPVPA Board of Directors election closed last night, May 19, at 5pm. The five successful Directors of the Board for two year terms 2022-2024 are:
Heidi Grant - SD91, Nechako Lakes
Sid Jawanda - SD57, Prince George
Paul Marsden - SD36, Surrey
Navshina Savory - SD38, Richmond
Tara Zielinski - SD45, West Vancouver
The successful candidates are listed in alphabetical order, by last name.
These five Directors will join the 2021-2023 Directors on the BCPVPA Board, beginning July 1, 2022:
Brian Leonard, SD43 (Coquitlam) – President
Darren Danyluk, SD6 (Rocky Mountain) – Past-President
Jacqueline Borosa, SD92 (Nisga’a)
David DeRosa, SD20 (Kootenay-Columbia)
Sanj Johal, SD44 (North Vancouver)
Read Jorgensen, SD61 (Victoria)
Sally Zryd, SD73 (Kamloops-Thompson)
We are delighted to announce the recipients of the 2022 Partnership Awards. The individuals and organizations that are recognized this year have made a significant impact on the lives of students in BC public schools:
John Remple, nominated by the Vernon Chapter (School District No. 22)Central Community Church, nominated by the Chilliwack Chapter (School District No. 33)Eagle Wing Tours, nominated by the Greater Victoria Chapter (School District No. 61)Rob Tournour Masonry Ltd., nominated by the Sooke Chapter (School District No. 62)Chris Paulson & Rachelle van Zanten, nominated by the Nechako Lakes Chapter (School District No. 91)
Read about their community work in the May 16 Member Update. Thank you to all the chapters that submitted nominations.
Saanich News | Educators honour Greater Victoria businesses for improving students’ livesVernon Morning Star | Building birdhouses leads to B.C. honour for Vernon man
The BC Student Voice newsletter highlights the impressive and diverse speakers from the virtual event held on April 21, 2022. It includes key takeaways and reflections from student participants and summarizes the subjects that were discussed. We hope that you find the topics and responses as inspiring as we do!
BC Student Voice 2022 Newsletter
BCPVPA’s Professional Learning & Development Directors are seeking member feedback on the programs, events, and offerings they have been curating for your professional learning. We value your ideas as to how we can continue to grow and develop in our support of members.
The survey will be open until June 15, and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete – thank you for your feedback!
Complete the survey
We are inviting BCPVPA members to participate in the Diversity Matters Survey to help us to better understand the composition of our membership, and to create programming to assist members in supporting racial equity in their schools or programs.
It should take less than 5 minutes to complete the survey, and the survey will remain open until May 31. Thank you for your participation.
The Canadian Human Rights Act stipulates that it is not a discriminatory practice to collect information if it is intended to be used in developing policy to support under-represented or marginalized people. Survey responses are anonymous.
Read this week’s featured articles from the March 2022 issue of Principl(ed):
Navigating the Teacher Regulation BoardThis article from BCPVPA’s Member Support Services team outlines the main points of navigating the Teacher Regulation Board, and defines The Teachers Act, who it governs, and the steps to the formal complaint process.
Visit the BCPVPA Member Portal
To set up your password, follow the simple instructions sent in the August 31 Member Update, and log in anytime via the Sign In option on our website. You can easily update your account details under the 'My Profile' tile if you change roles, schools, or personal contacts.
What will you find in the Member Portal? Check out the overview, and we’ll bring you highlights each week in eNews as we continue to add content to the site.
Member Portal Highlight | We have so many events and programs coming up: take a moment to login to the Member Portal and visit the Professional Learning tile to read about all of our upcoming learning opportunities.
Visit the Member Portal, and let us know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Principl(ed) Podcast with host Chris Horton is a made-in-Canada monthly series that connects with BC school Principals and Vice-Principals who are working everywhere in the province, from the smallest rural schools to the bustling urban centres.
The Principl(ed) Podcast is on hiatus until the 2022-2023 school year begins. We are excited to bring you the voices of education leaders across the province when we are back in September.
Listen to previous episodes on iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more! Link to your favourite platform here.
We continue to work with the data that we obtained from the Thriving in Education survey. Read Part 1 of an overview in the November 2021 issue of Principl(ed), and read the March 2022 Principl(ed) for Part 2.
If you are an experienced school leader and interested in exploring Generative Leadership Theory, our Amplification series is now open for registration. We would love it if you joined us virtually for this four-session program.
Sessions will be held:
October 12, 2022 November 23, 2022February 15, 2022March 7, 2023
We are excited to announce that registration for Connecting Leaders Conference 2022 is now open. This year, we will be transitioning back to an in-person event, along with the option to participate virtually. The conference will be held Thursday October 20, Friday October 21, and Saturday October 22 at the Victoria Conference Centre, with this year's theme:
Reconnect | Rejuvenate | Rejoice
Conference-goers will be immersed in learning sessions led by Doug Keeley, Carolyn Roberts, and Kevin Lamoureux. There will be early-bird pricing so be sure to register sooner rather than later!
Registration is now open for BCPVPA Foundations: The Next Generation of Short Course I. In conjunction with the UBC Faculty of Education, we are excited to offer Foundations in person on the UBC campus in July 2022, respecting any health and safety protocols that may be in place at that time. The full-day sessions on July 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 will be framed around the BCPVPA Leadership Standards for Principals and Vice-Principals in BC, with the overarching theme of ‘Equity’.
We look forward to seeing you at Coffee Connections, hosted by BCPVPA President Darren Danyluk and senior staff. Find the link to register for all spring sessions under Member News > Hot Notes in the Member Portal. Register for all sessions, and attend when you can!
In this week’s blog, Charles Ungerleider asks, “What happened to early health screening?”
Read the latest blogpost here
Charles Ungerleider is a Professor Emeritus of Education at The University of British Columbia and Managing Partner at Directions Evidence and Policy Research Group. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed in the OpED articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, policy, or position of the BCPVPA.
We are sharing book titles, articles, videos and podcasts to help support our members' continuing work of anti-racism and equity, and to help deepen our understanding of Canada’s diverse communities.
We would love to hear if you have found this column helpful, or if there are other ways that you would like to see BCPVPA share resources, please contact Erin Hughes.
May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada, and this week's column celebrates AHM with articles and resources.
25 books to celebrate Asian Heritage Month in Canada
Meet Metro Vancouver's inspiring Asian-Canadians
How Paolo Oliveros, a Filipino media personality, is highlighting the Asian LGBTQ community
Canada’s Asian Heritage Month
ReFresh is a BCPVPA health resource with simple exercises and information that you can explore. ReFresh appears as a Member Update every Wednesday. All ReFresh posts are archived here.
Read the latest ReFresh: Finding your zzzzzzzz’s with Natural Help
Each month, your BCPVPA PLD Directors will upload
pertinent articles, blog post, or podcast on BetterEducate and in the new Member
Portal and in the BCPVPA Member Portal under Resources/ Readers’ Corner for your quick learning opportunity.
Read the latest article, and find Discussion Tips and Prompt Questions: "The top 4 advantages of being a principal / vice principal — plus tips to leverage them for wellness"
The spring series from Take Me Outside, and our Canadian Outdoor Learning Partners, brings a list of new workshops and resources. Check out the 'top ten tools for spring' here and their upcoming workshops:
Activating School Communities to Reduce Food WasteThursday, May 26 at 4pm for 1 hour with EcoSchools Canada and Food Cycle Science
Join representatives from EcoSchools Canada and Food Cycle Science for this 60 minute virtual workshop complete with ideas, inspiration, prizes and a certificate of attendance. This team will share resources and ideas about sustainable solutions and other innovative approaches to schools becoming more environmentally friendly.
In times of need, your team shows up. We make sacrifices. To help people we know, and people we don’t. Right now, patients need blood, plasma, stem cell, organ and tissue donors more than ever. They need us. So give today at blood.ca.
BCPVPA members received an invitation from Qualtrics to the UBC The Art of War, Strategic School Leadership and Psychological Safety Survey on Tuesday April 19.
Find out more
LAST CHANCE to respond: closes May 22
We are excited to see schools 'jean up' this month in support of the BC Children's Hospital Foundation campaign. Engage your school community while helping BC’s sick and injured kids to get out of their hospital gowns … and back into their own jeans.
Until May 31, 2022, Odlum Brown Limited are matching all donations made through your school fundraising pages up to a cumulative total of $30,000.
School Critical Incident Support and Ministry Notifications: Recent events have brought safety planning and response to the forefront. Schools can contact Safer Schools Together to access 24/7 incident response and support, and are reminded to notify the Ministry as soon as possible for incidents involving media or that may result in a high profile police investigation at email@example.com or 778-974-6388. There are also VTRA and DTA training offerings available this month for new staff or those seeking a refresher.
2022 International Assessments: The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is being administered between April 18 and May 27. Administrators are reminded that student participation rates are particularly important. For students to be counted as participating, they must complete all components of the assessment - Part 1 and Part 2 of the cognitive test as well as the student questionnaire. If you have questions, please email NatIntQuestions@gov.bc.ca.
Read the Deputy Minister's Bulletins
Public updates on 2022 Teacher Collective Bargaining are available from the BCPSEA website.
The Provincial Collective Agreement between BCPSEA and the BCTF expires on June 30, 2022.
Applications are now open for the 8th cohort of Transformative Educational Leadership Program at UBC. Become a part of a professional network focused on building leadership capacity and contributing to system change within the K-12 system. Application deadline is June 15 with the program set to start in October 2022. For more information please go to telp.educ.ubc.ca.
Join the Platform!
BetterEducate platform is now BCPVPA
Connects: powered by BetterEducate.
and sign up for your free membership with the promo code BCPVPA123.
The Early Intervention Program (EIP) is a province wide professional support service provided by the BCPVPA at no cost to you and is completely voluntary and confidential. The program supports BCPVPA Benefits Plan members experiencing health-related personal and/or professional challenges. Find out more
Are you or a colleague thinking of retirement soon? Please check the BC Retired Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association for benefits offered to retired members, such as affinity, health & travel insurance, prestige coverage, pensions & other topics of interest, and you will also find a mail-in application form on the site. The BCRPVPA looks forward to hearing from you if retirement is in your near future! Contact the BCRPVPA
Visit Make a Future for an up-to-date job board with all of the latest opportunities in the BC Education sector. Career opportunities will also be available in the Member Portal.
NEWElementary Vice-PrincipalSD 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin)Find out moreClosing date: May 27, 2022
NEWElementary PrincipalSD 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin)Find out moreClosing date: May 27, 2022
NEWCommunity School PrincipalSD 70 (Pacific Rim)Find out moreClosing date: May 27, 2022
NEWAssistant SuperintendentSD 68 (Nanaimo-Ladysmith)Find out moreClosing date: May 30, 2022
NEWVice Principal of Aboriginal EducationSD 42 (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows)Find out moreClosing date: May 31, 2022
Elementary PrincipalSD 48 (Sea to Sky)Find out moreClosing date: May 22, 2022
Executive Director Human ResourcesSD 62 (Sooke)Find out moreClosing date: May 24, 2022
Principal of Hazelton Secondary SchoolSD 82 (Coast Mountains)Find out moreClosing May 27, 2022
SD 8 (Kootenay Lake)Principal PoolVice-Principal Poolopen until filled