September! O, September! That month when we, unlike most other professions, get to start again, anew—fresh! Enjoy it, take advantage of it, make it work for you. It is a privilege.
My column this issue is by necessity going to be a hodgepodge of things. Firstly, I would like to thank everyone who wrote in for the Down to Earth book giveaway. More than thirty schools from across Canada weighed in and told us all about their “going green” projects. Amazing and most promising projects on the go! It would be impossible for me to recount all the projects and initiatives here, but I would like to take the opportunity to highlight a few.
One school detailed their recent green initiatives on two pages which included things like “upcycling” drink pouches, making bed mats for relief efforts from milkbags, tree planting (the importance of this cannot be underestimated) weekly yard clean-ups, daily waste monitoring and participation in a host of environment celebrations and initiatives such as Earth Hour and Earth Week. Another school installed a windmill and is now supplying a hefty portion of its own power! Yet another school painted yellow fish next to city water grates to remind residents about chemical use/disposal. Finally, Waverly Park School in Brandon, Manitoba detailed their initiatives in such a way as to make me wonder if they were even a school or rather a “green machine!” This 350 student K-8 facility is well on its way to becoming environmentally self-sustainable. In fact, this school also worked on a creative writing project about their “Going Green” which will be published by the Learning for a Cause Student Press later this fall. Kudos to Principal Bob Lee and all the students at Waverly Park School!
In the end, Learning for a Cause sent more than forty copies of Down to Earth to schools free of charge in the spring. We still have a good supply left to send too! However, we do regret that our postage grant has expired. So, if you would like to receive a copy of this award-winning book with introductions by astronaut Roberta Bondar and MP Justin Trudeau, simply send five $1 Canadian stamps to the address below. No need to send an environmental report but please do send postage or we will not be able to send your book. Please no cheques or money orders. Limit two copies per school. All requests must be on school letterhead.
Now, let me turn my attention a bit before concluding. This year I would like to hear more from you! Yes, teachers speak up! Tell me about your interesting classroom projects, school initiatives or maybe just about your frustrations and concerns. Ask advice! Just write to me! I will write my column from your letters and, hopefully, make my contributions to Canadian Teacher Magazine a little more interactive, interesting, practical and personal. Public education is seemingly at a very crucial moment in North America just now. Let’s talk about it. Let’s explore the questions, frustrations, joys and wonders of this most exciting career. All comments will be published in the form of, “says, Lisa M. of Vancouver.” If you prefer to have me mention you by full name, position or specific school or board, please indicate so. You may write to me by email at Michael@LearningforaCause.org or by post at: 11 575 PM Favier St., Montreal, QC, H1G 6E5. Automated voice mailbox at (206) 888-9549. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts, opinions, stories, advice, jokes, anecdotes and more. Write!
And, most of all, Happy September!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Ernest Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet is a writer, educator and social activist. He founded the Learning for a Cause Initiative in 2004 and was a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009. Michael divides his time between Montreal and New York City. www.LearningforaCause.org
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s September 2010 issue.