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We can make a difference


November 4, 2021 Jason Schilling, ATA President


Throughout my life, all I ever really wanted to do was make a difference. That’s why, as a student in school, I was involved in the students’ council. In university, I was the vice-president of the student local, and in my first year of teaching, I joined my ATA local’s Teacher Welfare Committee.

After I graduated from the University of Lethbridge, I felt well prepared for teaching, but there was one thing that we didn’t talk about in university that I felt a lot over the course of my career — the moral distress of teaching. Feeling like I was not meeting the needs of my students every day weighed on me as I trudged to my car at the end of the day. It was not a feeling I had all the time, but it was still there. 

This troubling feeling that I was not making a difference motivated me to get involved with my ATA local in a variety of ways — attending meetings, making sure I was up to date on issues and volunteering for committees and community projects. I am not sure I explicitly planned on being an advocate for public education, but in an effort to make a difference, that is what I became. In the early part of my career, I certainly never planned to be president of the ATA, but one thing leads to another. 

Recently, the ATA partnered with the Alberta School Councils’ Association to launch a campaign called Stand For Education, which focuses on three main issues: funding, curriculum and class size. Together we are advocating for a more inclusive, diverse, well-funded education system. It’s just one more way we as teachers and parents can make a difference for our students and ourselves. I hope you will join us at ❚

I welcome your comments. Contact me at

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