On Education – Philosophically Speaking

While in the process of completing my thesis, I’ve had more time to spend a concerted effort contemplating what is my philosophy of education, what are my non-negotiables, what are my underlying belief systems that influence who I am. My philosophy hasn’t changed much in my twenty years as a teacher and school leader. My passion for ensuring equity, supporting at-risk populations (both children and their families), and making school an active place of learning have only increased. I continue to be blessed with colleagues who are similarly passionate about education, and who love what they do as much as I do.

So, what do I believe? What does my philosophy of education encompass? Education is, and should be, joy-filled. The joy of learning, of teaching, of interacting with young people, of interacting with adult learners – staff and students.

Joyful. Joy-filled. Joyous.

Everything after that is icing on the cake.


Education is about children: providing every opportunity to every individual and maximizing children’s potential, regardless of their gender, age, academic, social, cultural, or economic status. A healthy education environment ensures that every student’s contribution will be recognized, valued, and rewarded. Just as important to the success of learners is recognizing the importance of families as the primary developmental arena for each child and encouraging active collaboration among families, the schools, and the community.

Education is about adults: releasing control, establishing a culture built on trust and respect, and supporting student-centric approaches to learning. A healthy education environment ensures that every staff member’s contribution will be recognized, valued, and rewarded, and that staff members collaborate as a team to provide supports for the whole child. Just as important to the success of learners is recognizing the importance of other organizations’ roles in their lives and the lives of their families: Child and Family Services, First Nations elders, and Regional Health Authorities are examples.

Education is about leadership: providing children with the opportunity to become confident in their abilities and in their student voice, providing staff members with a leadership model that strengthens their individual leadership skills as well as the effectiveness and quality of education for all learners, providing families with opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways to their children’s education and to the school community.

Education leaders, as professionals and lifelong learners, recognize that technology is an effective, appropriate and necessary tool to both enhance instruction and assessment and to provide analysis of programming and planning. Education leaders use data and research in decision-making processes to ensure that systems remain flexibly responsive while grounded in best practices. It is my goal to continue to model lifelong learning and the effective use of data, research, technology and personal interactions to support the mentorship of pre-service teachers, the professional growth of current teachers, and the support of current and future educational leaders within our district, our province, and globally.

(Image used via Creative Commons License)


About tjthiessen

explorer, administrator, consultant, student, leader
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