Celebrations are being organized around the world to celebrate World Teachers Day, including international organizations such as UNESCO that are calling on everyone to consider undertaking a special celebration for this important event.
“Teachers…ultimately determine our collective ability to innovate, to invent, and to find solutions for tomorrow. Nothing will ever replace a good teacher. Nothing is more important than supporting them,” said UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova.
World Teachers’ Day is held annually on Oct. 5 to celebrate the essential role of teachers in providing quality education at all levels. Celebrated since 1994 across the globe, it is an opportunity to honor the teaching profession and support teachers in their efforts to empower people to build a better world.
This year, to mark World Teachers’ Day, Wolf Creek Public Schools selected Terry Dortman of Diamond Willow Middle School in Ponoka to be featured as one of many stellar teachers in the school division. As part of that selection, Dortman was asked to share various aspects of his career in WCPS, his views on the teaching profession and how he believes this noble career impacts the citizens of the future.
Dortman started with Wolf Creek Public Schools in 1988 and is in his 25th year of teaching.
“I’ve known since I was in high school that this was the life I wanted…to help shape young people and hopefully give them a positive experience during their school years.”
He has always enjoyed working with people; in particular, young people. Coaching different sports to younger kids during his high school and university years opened the door to this rewarding profession called ‘teaching’. In fact he thinks it’s the best job in the world.
“Seeing the smile on a student’s face when they’ve learned something new; seeing the smile on a student’s face when they’ve made a new friend; seeing the smile on a student’s face when someone has done something nice for them; seeing the smile on a student’s face when they’ve worked hard at something; seeing the smile on a student’s face when they’ve completed a task; seeing the smile on a student’s face when they’ve experienced success.”
These priceless moments continue to give him reason to smile often at his job. Larry Jacobs, superintendent of schools, who has also known Dortman for many years, expressed his appreciation of his smiling nature and commitment to students. “Terry has demonstrated over and over again, through his successes with students that our profession can be rewarding, fun and one of the best career choices anyone could ever make.”
Dortman teaches Grade 8 math, physical education 6, 7 and 8, and French to Grade 6 students at Diamond Willow Middle School. Dortman enjoys the opportunity to work with students after school.
He continues to coach a variety of sports at the middle school and high school levels.
As an experienced teacher, Dortman recognizes the value of why teaching is important.
“As teachers we have both the privilege and responsibility to, at least in part, help form the future of our society as a whole,” he said. During the seven or eight hours that many teachers spend with students every day, he believes, as the saying goes, ‘We don’t just teach curriculum – we teach kids.’
“Enjoying the energy and enthusiasm middle school kids often bring, there’s rarely a dull moment and never the same day twice,” Dortman said.
He and wife Phoebe have been happily married for 25 years. They have a 22-year-old son, Eric. Coaching runs in the family. Both Phoebe and Eric enjoy coaching basketball at the middle school and high school in Ponoka. Dortman’s favorite sports through the years have been basketball, golf and water skiing. At this point in his life, his favorite activities are golf in the summer and refereeing basketball in the winter; favorite non-sport activities are playing drums and guitar and spending time with family and friends.
“In spite of an ever-changing, life in the fast lane, instant gratification, world at your fingertips society, I hope we can continue to foster and develop in students good basic life characteristics and values: honesty, integrity, best effort, friendship, loyalty, teamwork and empathy are just a few examples of the characteristics that I hope never go out of style in education.”
There are many other important and interesting lessons that happen in school every day besides the obvious reading, writing and arithmetic. He believes equally important and challenging for teachers today, are developing a student’s social, emotional and other personal and life skills.
“I’m a very lucky man,” exclaimed Dortman.