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Oct 05
World Teachers' Day 2021 supports educators through pandemic recovery

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The events of the past year-and-a-half have made for very different World Teachers' Day celebrations, and while last year's event was about resiliency, this year's focus is on recovery for educators following challenges in teaching through the pandemic.

Founded by UNESCO and held every Oct. 5, World Teachers' Day honours teaching staff around the world for their tireless efforts in and out of the classroom. "Teachers at the heart of education recovery" is this year's theme, highlighting the effect the pandemic and taking steps towards a return to normalcy with in-class instruction.

"Our staff have demonstrated tremendous dedication throughout the pandemic, meeting the learning needs of every student in a very stressful climate," said Surrey Board of Education Chair Laurie Larsen. "We support each and every one of our teachers and educators as they work through the challenges of the past 18 months and move forward through this school year."

"In working with teachers and educators, it certainly has been a year of significant stress and uncertainty at times," said Selma Smith, Surrey Schools director of instruction with Continuing Education. "Trying to make sense or meaning of what this pandemic has meant to each of us, our society but also for education."

Smith said there was a shift to hopefulness and optimism in the spring with the availability of vaccinations. However, she noted in addition to the pandemic, other local and global events – such as the discovery of unmarked graves at former residential schools and this past summer's B.C. wildfires – have impacted educators, as their work includes supporting students with what's happening in the world.

"In our collective journey ahead, the well-being of all members of our school community will lead to better outcomes for each learner," she said. "No matter what your role is – student, parent, educator –  everyone needs to pay attention to their own mental health."

Smith said the district is working to provide educators with additional resources, in line with the Ministry of Education's K-12 Education Recovery Plan.  Additional resources can be found at Surrey Schools Mental Health and Wellness page.

UNESCO is hosting a number of webinars related to the theme of recovery, running through Friday, Oct. 8. For more information on World Teacher's Day or to register for a presentation, click here.

Happy World Teachers' Day to our Surrey Schools educators – we honour you today and every day!

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