So far this year things look a lot better than previous years. We have been given some funds from the ITA for capital equipment, with more to come over the next few years. Many schools are offering the Skills Exploration courses and receiving $100.00 per student, which really helps with consumables. We have Trade Sampler programs (these are usually ran through the colleges and are intended to help students take the next step between skills exploration and Train in Trades programs) that the ITA is willing to look at funding in your schools. The BC Construction Foundation is still working for Tech Ed through Project Shop Class and giving $250.00 to each Tech Ed teacher that applies. Our class sizes are back to more appropriate numbers. And to top it all off, we have new curriculum that gives teachers lots of flexibility in what they teach in their shop, while being progressive in what youth are going to need for future careers.
At our District reps meeting during sharing out from each district there was a positive atmosphere. Hopefully since the October Pro D day and District reps meeting you have been able to meet as an LSA to hear from your district rep. One common thread seemed to be the worry about finding new Tech Ed teachers to take jobs in districts. With only 16 graduates coming out this year, and roughly 20 next year, we have an issue. I attended the BCIT Program Advisory Council meeting last week and there is the recognition from both BCIT and UBC that we need to explore options to get more teachers trained for Tech Ed positions. We have a small working group doing some follow up meetings to see if we can put some kind of new programs together to help fill the vacancies coming up. If your LSA identifies you need to do some recruiting, you may want to get your district to send a representative to the annual UBC Recruitment fair. This could be very helpful for district that needs to try and lure graduates away from the lower mainland.
The faculty has scheduled its annual Education Career Fair for January 19 http://teach.educ.ubc.ca/students/career-fair/ All pertinent information about how Exhibitors can register and contact coordinator is listed on this site.
At our District reps meeting we had 4 positions come up for executive work. Martin Lim is continuing on for another 2 years as vice-president, and Brad Purves is continuing on for another 2 years as treasurer. We had Devon Burroughs step down from Secretary and Heather Elliott has taken this position. Ryan Harman has stepped down from registrar and Russell Evanisky has taken on this position. I want to thank Devon and Ryan for putting their touch on what the executive has done over the last 2 years and hope that they continue to connect with the exec on issues from their district. Having some new people join the exec is refreshing and important to keep us current and excited to serve its members. To kick us off we are meeting in a few weeks, face to face, to see what our goals we want to work on over the year.
For those that did not attend the Super Conference, which was notably less attended by Tech Ed teachers than our traditions conferences, you did miss something unique. That was the physical size, with over 6000 teachers all at one conference. It was great to see other specialty areas, mix with elementary to high school teachers, and often just connect with other teachers from your district that are not Tech Ed teachers. We did our part by offering up what I would call some alternate workshops that non Tech Ed teachers seemed to thoroughly enjoy. I want to thank the entire executive that joined ranks with other PSA members to volunteer in the running of the event and supported our presenters. It was truly a joint effort, and thus there will be a sharing in the profits also. I also want to thank our presenters for stepping up by representing Tech Ed and helping other teachers learn some new skills.
Derek Dirom, Susan Crichton, Heather Elliott, Ryan Harman, Devon Burroughs and Steve Claassen hit home runs in my books.
On the topic of hosting our annual conference, hopefully a district will discuss it amongst their LSA and offer to host next year. At this point we do not have a conference location. It really is important that LSA’s do offer to host even though it means “more work”. I still have fond memories of how when we hosted in 1999 in Courtenay, every Shop teacher stepped up and helped in some way. As is the case for many LSA’s only some teachers like to go to the meetings, but when hosting a conference with just a little nudge, colleagues get a chance to work together. From that event we enjoyed several years of greater participation at our annual fishing trips and year end BBQ’s. If your LSA is interested in hosting, please let an Exec member know and we would like to have a running list for at least 3 years out.
In closing I would like to say two things. If you haven’t renewed your membership, please do. And secondly I am really looking forward to another great year to work as an exec member for you on such things as Heads Up for Safety renewal, continued relationship with the ITA, feedback to ADST curriculum team, and supporting the other exec members on initiatives they would like to move forward on.