Pay teachers well and classroom results will follow

It’s no accident that Canadian schools are among the best in the world. But if we withdraw education funding, the damage will be deep

Pay teachers well and classroom results will followCanadian schools are among the best in the world, and B.C. schools are arguably the best in Canada. This is so much the case that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is studying our educational system to see how we’re achieving such exceptional results. It’s no surprise then that Canadian teachers are among…

Human spirit has the strength to tear down walls

Many walls remain in the world, including physical ones and those of racism, sexism and economic injustice

Human spirit has the strength to tear down wallsThe most significant global event of my lifetime has been the fall of the Berlin Wall. It not only changed the geopolitical climate we live in, it also demonstrated the power of the human spirit. As a teacher, I often bring up this event. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently spoke to the graduates of Harvard…

If we’re laughing together, perhaps we can bridge the gap

I have to do all I can for peace and truth, even posting my Middle-Aged Middle Eastern Guy rap on YouTube

If we’re laughing together, perhaps we can bridge the gapSometimes you need to risk appearing foolish to speak a very deep truth. As a person of Middle Eastern ethnicity, I’ve long felt a tie to all peoples of that area of the world. As I watch the news, I see a horrible conflict between the Christians, Muslims and Jews of this region. Perhaps it’s…

Pro-life, pro-choice? Prove it

It’s time for advocates on both sides of the abortion divide to be true to their preferred monikers

Pro-life, pro-choice? Prove itThere’s perhaps no more contentious topic of discussion in Canada than abortion. Even Canadian lawmakers are hesitant to debate the subject. As a high school teacher of a class called Social Justice 12, I can’t ignore the topic. And my code of ethics requires that I facilitate legitimate research and respectful discussion, all the while…

If you stay true to certain ideals, life sorts itself out

Author James Allen tells us to embrace purity, patience, humility, self-sacrifice, self-reliance, fearlessness, knowledge, wisdom, compassion and love

If you stay true to certain ideals, life sorts itself outWe all face challenges, times when we feel like the bottom has fallen out and nothing makes sense. While it may be tempting to give in to vengeful thoughts and actions, teachings developed in every culture point to the same principles. As we live by these ideals, life finds a way of sorting itself out.…

The truth always comes out and truth liberates

We can be individuals who seek to change the world or people who choose to turn a blind eye to injustice

The truth always comes out and truth liberatesThose who advocate for human rights are often frustrated when crimes committed by those in power carry no apparent consequence. We need to remember, however, that truth never disappears. Roughly 100 years ago, Dr. Peter Bryce was commissioned by the Department of Indian Affairs to assess the health conditions at residential schools across Canada. What…

Always ask the fundamental question: Is this life-giving?

We cannot allow profit to be more important than the well-being of the human family

Always ask the fundamental question: Is this life-giving?Since taking office in 2013, the world has been calmed by the presence of Pope Francis. The documentary A Man of His Word notes his lifelong effort to respect each person, regardless of their station in life. Since becoming Pope, he has emphasized the importance of giving homes to refugees, challenged traditional Catholic teachings on…

We shall overcome crimes against humanity

Attacks on places of worship are based on the horrendous lie that we need to fear those who are different

We shall overcome crimes against humanityHumanity is reeling from the deaths of innocent people all over the world in houses of worship. Members of no religion seem to be immune from violence, nor can any major religion claim to be free of extremists who perpetrate hate crimes. Many will ask what the world is coming to. In fact, these horrendous…

The journey of reconciliation and healing follows a shared path

Far too many of our family histories include persecution and disruption. We should never forget this common bond

The journey of reconciliation and healing follows a shared pathIt’s said that what happens to one person impacts us all. This may seem absurd but as I gain experience, it becomes ever clearer that we have a common humanity. I’ve been teaching high school students about genocide for over 10 years. In the final project of the course, students research a topic of interest…

Why helping the downtrodden around the world helps us all

The idea that you can wall build walls and create quarantines is as ridiculous as it is dangerous

Why helping the downtrodden around the world helps us allWhen we carefully examine fear, we can see that it’s mostly irrational. Legitimate fear is a good thing, however, because it pushes us to eliminate actual dangers to our well-being. During the Cold War, the threat of a nuclear Armageddon was very real. Many of us took up the task of changing global conditions by…

Turning your job into your mission in life

How do you deal with unhappiness at work? You find meaning and value in what you do

Turning your job into your mission in lifeA recent study said 47 per cent of Canadians are unhappy in their jobs. Many cite lack of pay as the main reason but it’s not the only factor. Many find the work environment difficult or say their work lacks meaning. Of course, leaving a job isn’t necessarily a good thing. It can take significant…

We have an obligation to use our gifts for good

We’re all born with a unique and inherent capacity to do good. The trick is to put it to use

We have an obligation to use our gifts for goodAs we go through life, we’re given many pieces of advice. Those that are most truthful tend to survive the test of time, and the best advice brings enduring happiness and a sense of peace. At an orientation social before I began my first assignment as a young teacher, I sang a song for an…

What purpose do hatred and vengeance serve?

Forgiveness isn’t easy. But forgiving others sets us free to live to our true potential

What purpose do hatred and vengeance serve?I admit I’m only beginning to understand the concept of forgiveness. But I do know it’s a common thread in the lives of the people who I most deeply admire. I can imagine Nelson Mandela sitting in his tiny prison cell, fighting an internal battle to keep from losing hope. Somehow he came to the…

New generation of women find their voices in politics

They have a history of grassroots social activism and community involvement, and it serves us all well

New generation of women find their voices in politicsAngela Merkel has announced that this will be her last term as German chancellor. This has created some concern, as many credit her with navigating her country, the European Union and even the global community through many stormy waters in recent years. When we look around the world, however, we see that there is no…

We need not fear the voices of our children

When youth take a political stand, it’s inspiring. History is full of such amazing and courageous young people

We need not fear the voices of our childrenNelson Mandela said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way it treats its children.” American news and social media were recently stirred up by a video of children meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The video went viral. The children represented a youth organization known as the Sunrise Movement, which…
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