ATA News

Students choose you every day

Off Script

When I am fortunate enough to address new teachers, I always talk about the importance of relationships in education — the ones we create with our students, their parents, our colleagues and our school’s community. If you have been in the classroom, you know exactly what I am writing about. The relationships we build in our schools are important as they are a source of support and energy. I encourage new teachers to foster the good relationships and learn to steer around the toxic ones, though that is always easier said than done. 

Recently, I have run into some former students who are now teachers. We reminisce about the funny things that may have happened in class, such as the fact that I acted out a scene of King Lear with a Mr. Potato Head. Or we simply talk about what they have been up to since graduation. 

You never know when and where you might run into a former student or what their reaction might be when they recognize you. At some point in our careers, for a variety of reasons, we are someone’s favourite teacher and conversely someone’s least favourite teacher. These moments with former students are special and it is always fun to run into them (though I am sometimes unsure what to do with the comment that I still “look the same”). 

So why do I bring this up today? Well, as I write this, it just happens to be Valentine’s Day — always an interesting holiday. Now, I am not really one to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Really, it’s just an excuse for me to eat chocolate, which I can do pretty much any day of the year. However, this holiday does remind me of relationships, both personal and professional. Teaching is difficult and challenging work but also rewarding and wonderful. We often don’t know the impact we have on the lives of our students. 

Colleagues, you are the best part of someone’s day; you are their safe space and the reason a student is excited to come to school. If you ask me, that’s pretty special and should be celebrated every day.

I welcome your comments. Contact me at

Jason Schilling
Jason Schilling

ATA President

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