NSTU Members Reach Out to Colleagues on World Teachers’ Day

To mark October 5, World Teachers’ Day, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union is encouraging teachers and Community College faculty and professional support staff to reach out to their American Southeast colleagues affected by Hurricane Katrina. Through the Katrina Bookmark
Project, NSTU members will receive a commemorative bookmark for a suggested donation of a toonie.
“By profiling this very important day for the world’s teachers, we hope to provide the opportunity for our members to give something back to their community,” says NSTU president Mary-Lou Donnelly.
Donnelly says this project places no burden on students and their families. “Our theme for the day is “Spare a toonie for a colleague.” By doing so, we will not only be helping educators in Katrina-affected areas of the United States, we will be raising the profile of our own members and teachers world-wide.”
All funds will be forwarded to the Katrina Disaster Appeal of Education International’s Solidarity Fund. To kick off the project, the NSTU donated an immediate and additional $10,000 to the fund. Teachers in Nova Scotia, many with an Acadian background, share a 250-year history and deep bond with the people of Louisiana.
Currently, as many as 250,000 elementary and secondary students are out of school; 10 colleges and universities in the area have been closed leaving 75,000 students without access; hundreds of schools have been damaged or destroyed; homes of thousands of educators at all levels were damaged or destroyed, thus, leaving them homeless. To date, people from the Gulf Coast area have been relocated to approximately 19 states, thus the education systems in those states are also being impacted.
This project is generating excitement not just in Nova Scotia, but also across Canada and internationally. The Prince Edward Island Teachers’ Federation is selling 2,000 bookmarks and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation will offer an additional 500 at its World Teachers’ Day Open House in Ottawa. The NSTU is also featured on Educational International’s website for the
UNESCO proclaimed October 5 as World Teachers’ Day in 1994 to honour the international teaching profession and the value of teachers to society. Since 1995, the centennial year of the NSTU, consecutive Nova Scotia provincial leaders have proclaimed the day. Premier John Hamm has done so again, for 2005.