Many things about teaching – about our whole society in fact – have changed over the past 15 years since I joined the Alberta SPCA. When I started here in 1999 a large part of my job involved mailing VHS tapes on loan to schools (for those too young to remember VHS, ask your parents – or your principal). The internet was new and unreliable, and print ruled the day. Our primary way of communicating with teachers was through our newsletters – AnimalWise from 1999 to 2009, and Caring & Sharing before that.
Now practically all of our resources are online and our EveryLivingThing e-newsletter is delivered directly to your email inbox. You can also find us on facebook, follow us on twitter, browse our flickr site and watch our YouTube channel. Of course, you can still use traditional methods like email or telephone if you want.
Our primary engagement with students used to be through our essay and drawing contests – which attracted thousands of entries every year. Now, your class has a chance to make their mark on the Kindness Map in three possible ways. Every year, by the time June comes around, our map of Alberta is covered with the good things students have done learning about – and acting on – compassion for animals, people and the environment.
With current technology we’ve been able to expand our resource offerings. We now have online CTS resources that provide everything needed to fulfill agriculture courses in animal care, which feature the latest in humane animal care techniques. Our recommended reading section has now become an online store to make it easy to order any of the books that we have personally reviewed.
Some things remain the same though. We still have classroom posters every year – larger and more durable than the AnimalWise centrefolds, and which now include lessons that can be submitted for our pizza contest and put on the map. We continue to meet teachers at Teachers’ Conventions and Specialty Conferences throughout the year, and we still offer information to help you decide about zoo field trips, dissection, and classroom animals – among other topics. We still provide links to other kindness websites and keep our kindness calendar updated.
Of course, the one constant factor is the dedication of teachers to helping their students grow in compassion to every living thing. It’s always gratifying to hear from teachers who are doing great things for their students, whether it’s using our resources or your own ideas. We hope you continue to work hard for your students, and let us know what else we can do for you.