Dear Colleagues and Friends,
I write this, my last column, with a heavy heart. I am of two minds about my decision, but, alas, I know that the time is right for me to leave. When I began writing for Canadian Teacher Magazine a few years ago, I was in the midst of expanding my career as an educator. I wanted to offer workshops, speak at conferences, write for trade publications and reach out to other teachers to collaborate and grow. I did. It has been a fabulous few years. Canadian Teacher Magazine stands out among all these experiences as one of the very best. But the time has come for me to admit to myself that I have too many fingers in too many pies.
Although I have been a photographer for most of my life—I began clicking away around the age of ten—it has become somewhat serious in the past couple of years. With my hard work and dedication, success has followed. With success has come interviews, photo essays in magazines, travel, and even a book deal. In other words, photography is taking up all of my “out of the classroom” time. It is this passion to which I must now commit myself wholeheartedly. As a result, I have decided to “retire” from all the peripheral educational activities that have dominated my life over the past decade. No more conference talks, no more leading workshops and, more regrettably, no more CTM articles. I’ve always believed that life is but a book and all books have chapters. As I close this chapter, another one is beginning to develop. That’s exciting. We all need to grow and experience change and this is not always easy to do. I’ve come to depend on my pages here. They are a place for me to rant and rave, for me to reach out. Without them I will surely be at a loss for some time. But, in the end, I will have moved on and so will have CTM. Again, change is good. I embrace it.
Before I sign off one last time, I’d like to take this opportunity to reach out to you, my colleagues. I’d like to encourage you to write for this magazine. Whether you write one essay or reflection, or whether you become a regular, just do it—write. It’s a wonderful experience and you will form many new contacts, friends even, from coast to coast to coast. Share what works for you in your teaching practice or comment on what doesn’t. Both are useful for others to experience through your insights. Teaching can be a very isolating career and writing for CTM can help bring you out into the collegial world. Canada has thousands and thousands of teachers. Get to know some of them. Get yourself out of your comfortable little shell and challenge yourself to pick up the quill or dust off the typewriter. Or, if you must, use an iPad. Just get writing! I’m counting on you and so is CTM.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Ernest Sweet
Michael Ernest Sweet is a Canadian award-winning educator, writer and photographer. He is a recent recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for significant contributions to Canada. View more of his photography at michaelsweetphotography.com.
Editor’s Note: Michael understood exactly our aim when we launched Canadian Teacher Magazine—to link teachers throughout Canada with a publication that provides a venue in which you can speak to one another no matter what region of the country you are living and working in. He embraced that opportunity and wrote of his dreams, his projects, his hopes for education in Canada. We will miss Michael’s enthusiasm and passion for teaching that has shone through his contributions to CTM over the past few years, but wish him every success as he explores his interest in photography. And we welcome your ideas if you feel inclined to share them!
This article is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Jan/Feb 2013 issue.