In our school, we intentionally call our occasional teachers Guest Educators. We teach our students to treat them with respect in the same way that you would treat a guest in your home. We share with our students, that its our job to make a good impression so that when the guest educator must choose which assignment they accept, they select Sir Arthur Currie.
This year, more so than any other year that I can recall, our Guest educators:
Stepped in and stepped up regardless of the detailed or missing day plans,
Took it in stride when they were greeted with, “We need you elsewhere, today”, when they thought they were going to support our multilingual learners and instead we needed them to cover a grade 4/5 classroom,
Shifted on a dime when they learned that the music teacher’s position wasn’t picked up and therefore although it was reflected that they would have a planning period, it was suddenly cancelled,
Smiled as they greeted students who had been greeted by different faces all week because of the need for extended absences due to quarantine protocols,
Popped down to say, “Hey, how can I help?” on those days when they saw the infamous white board littered with names and the dreaded OPEN beside too many names,
Came prepared with favourite activities and special books for those moments that required additional learning activities,
Comforted students who were struggling with the loss of routine,
Tidied the room at the end of the day for the returning educator or the next guest educator and
Supported fellow guest educators, who at times seemed to outnumber our regular staff.
Without sounding too dramatic, the doors of so many more schools would have been closed, if it were not for these incredible hard working guest educators.
I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to also recognize two Long-Term occasional educators, who part way through the school year joined our school team to support 2 classes. They stepped into unique situations ~ ones where there had been a number of changes for these classes (both physical and personnel wise). Our LTOs (who are now cherished staff members) needed to hit the “restart” button to build team, to build community, to build confidence and to gain trust. It is absolutely remarkable when I see those classes now ~ the students look physically different. They are happy to come to school, they trust that there will be routines, they see themselves as learners and they know that their educator loves them and enjoys spending time with them. I love it when their educator highlights their learning on Twitter and fills the walls of their classroom with evidence of learning.
As the cycle of hiring goes, I know that in no time, many of these amazing guest educators will be hired as contract educators. They will be excited to have their own classroom and they will do amazing things with their class.
We feel so honoured that they have selected to spend these formative experiences with us. They are admired for their commitment to their profession, their compassion for students and their ability to demonstrate flexibility and innovative practices.