PROSKIW: Teaching is tougher than it looks - InfoNews

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PROSKIW: Teaching is tougher than it looks

April 24, 2015 - 12:12 PM

Yesterday I had the chance to be a middle school teacher for half a day at the fourth annual Living Library at my old school. It was a little frustrating.

Groups of four to 10 students had 15 minutes to sit with me and ask questions about the business of local reporting. I was impressed with the thoughtfulness of many of the students but found out there was only enough time for them to visit with two guest speakers. That meant many of them really didn’t pick me because it’s a field they’re interested in but because the other booths were full.

I felt, for the first time, the frustration teachers must live with every single day. They know what needs to be done they just don't have the time and resources to do it.

Event organizer Deborah Holmes says for them to have enough time to meet with each speaker would require multiple days and that’s just not realistic. I don’t know if it’s budget constraints but it’s clear the teachers would like more flexibility and money to do this kind of out-of-the-box teaching.

Speaking with the students about what they learned in their brief time allotted, I was disappointed that many said they didn't learn much. With only enough time for two speakers before being sent back to class though, most had to settle for experts in fields they weren’t all that interested in.

I am impressed with how organized the event was and some students got to spend time with people like Mayor Colin Basran and Kelowna airport director Sam Samaddar. Sadly the best booths filled up quickly and most never got that chance.

I graduated from KLO in 1994 and aside from it becoming a middle school I was struck with how little things have changed since then. Almost every aspect of life has undergone dramatic transformation but mandated constraints means schools are still stuck in the 1990s. Teachers would love to do more non-traditional events but without the money they need, they are stuck with what they have.

I don't know how they do it, but if I'm invited back again next year, and I hope I am, I will do what teachers do and make the best of an almost impossible situation.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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