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The heartbeat of education

September 25, 2018 Greg Jeffery

Students are the face of education and teachers its heartbeat. For me, and many other teachers who know the importance of the student–teacher relationship, that is the plain and simple truth. What’s really cool is how that one sentiment is right now being conveyed in two separate campaigns.

“Teachers, the heartbeat of public education” is the theme for World Teachers’ Day this year. I love this because it is so fitting. Public education has many moving parts — ministries, school boards, district administrators, school support staff, and specialists like audiologists and speech pathologists. All these individuals and organizations play a role in creating the best learning conditions possible for students.

However, only teachers are responsible for the challenge of teaching our young people the curriculum and, most importantly, teaching them how to learn. We supply Alberta’s “body” of 700,000 students with the knowledge, inspiration and caring it needs to grow and thrive. As Shayna Lewis put it in her editorial on the Canadian Teachers’ Federation website, (, we teachers “are the heartbeat of public education continually energizing all other parts of the system, and lending the momentum that fosters students to become positive contributors to their communities.”

The Alberta Teachers’ Association’s new campaign is “The Face of Education.” It depicts a diverse cross-section of K–12 students who share some of the small things their teachers say and do to support them as they progress through their years in the school system. The actors featured have faces that are dynamic, full of potential and reflect the variety of character that teachers see in their students today. What I like most about these ads is how they pick up on what teachers inherently know: when teachers have time to build relationships with their students, they can help those students grow, learn and achieve their fullest potential.

You, the heartbeat of education, are working hard to keep those faces of education bright-eyed and ready for the future.

Keep up the great work, Alberta teachers. The world needs you.

Oh, and starting Sept. 26, watch our website and social media channels for ways you can join us in the very special wrap up of the Association’s 100-year anniversary and World Teachers’ Day! ❚

I welcome your comments — contact me at

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