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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Number 5, April 2004

Beginner’s mind: First time at the AGM

by Keith Parson

It is said in Zen that "in the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few."

If you have never been to the Annual General Meeting of the BCTF, I urge you to attend at least once in your career. I’ve been a teacher for more than 20 years, and this was my first time. I’m sorry I waited so long.

I learned about the process of decision making, involving 700 delegates from across B.C. It is orderly, democratic, and fair. Resolutions, recommendations, motions, and amendments rolled along one after the other under the careful guidance of the chairpersons. I observed delegates who are seriously committed to public education and who spoke with sincerity and determination. It made me hopeful for the future. I saw how teachers care about other people when they demonstrated support for social justice initiatives. I got to know the names of BCTF executive members and how they are elected. It seemed to me that the AGM is more about political awareness than politics. Everyone understands how important it is to stay united in the face of our current difficulties.

After it was all over, a few days later, I found I had a renewed respect for my profession and my own life’s activity. I want to thank all the delegates who worked so hard. I thank my friend, Philip Wong, who recommended that I go. And I thank Neil Worboys, for his years of hard work on our behalf!

To teachers who have never been to the AGM: If you are a beginner like me, what would your possibilities be?

Keith Parson teaches at William F. Davidson Elementary School, Surrey.

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