A Unity of Diversity

Tim StephensonBlog, Reflect Better


  • #sundaySPARKS is a Twitter space where educators talk about what’s sparking them that week.
  • Spread a tone of unity, support, understanding, and care.
  • Wouldn’t it be amazing if educators from diverse backgrounds could find a beautiful unity in both working together while also celebrating the experiences each comes to the table with?


I was involved in #sundaySPARKS, hosted by the lovely and talented Georgina Dean (@TechyLeaderEDU), last Sunday. This is a Twitter space where educators come together and talk about what’s “sparking” them. I must say that Georgina is the most gracious host. She sets up the space and elevates anyone who would like to share something true to their lives as teachers. It is one of the most edifying and uplifting teacher forums that can be found. So many thanks to Georgina!

On this particular discussion, a teacher from right here in British Columbia, Sean Adelberg (@SMARTSocialSean), told us that his “one word” for 2022 was unity. My first thought was YES! Finally, someone in the teaching world is deliberately attempting to bring back the idea that we are stronger together. Bring unity to the world! I love it.

Let’s control the things that we can control and then immerse ourselves in the glorious opportunity we have to teach, to illuminate the world of possibilities, to expose the students we meet with the excitement of modern times. Click To Tweet


But why did this resonate with me so much? I believe the main reason was that the last two years of education have been wrought with discord to the point of bordering on disunity. I’ve been witness to this as recently as the previous week where I had to take the step of self-care and remove myself from a teacher forum where the message was negative and discouraging. The reason I left the chat was not that I had any sort of personal issue with the people, because the truth is I find these people to be incredible teachers who are doing amazing things with their students. The issue was the negative tone, one that drifts through so many hallways. It’s the government, it’s the health officer, nobody understands the teacher’s concerns, teachers are burnt out and leaving the profession. The litany of concerns just seems never-ending.

But then along came Sean and he said…UNITY. Brilliant! If we all could say that from this point forward, we are going to spread a tone of unity, support, understanding, and care. What a shift in our mindsets would ensue. Unity implies oneness, sameness, and agreement. It empowers the incredible resilience of teachers!

New Skills

Think of all the things that you didn’t know how to do before the pandemic. I had never even heard of Zoom or Teams. Yet now, I’ve taught students in Florida. Thanks again for the opportunity, Jillian Dubois @JillDubois22! I’ve also taught students in Ontario (my niece, Melissa’s class), and students in other places in BC. I’ve been able to interact “face to face” with educators around the world and meet people I never would have met. I’ve learned to podcast, I’ve started blogging and now because of the power of this newfound connectivity, I’ve started an instructional series on YouTube to help teachers teach about space. Through all these things, I have the chance to bring about a sense of positive unity in the education sphere. Oh that we would all do what we can to add to the world a growth mindset, just as we expect from our students.

Teachers Unite!

There are many things that all teachers have in common, but the one I’d like to point out is that we all have a university degree. In the earliest of days, once a young person had been trained in the arts, grammar, arithmetic, music, and astronomy (yay, astronomy!), they would proceed to higher education institutions that were being newly formed in the 12th century. The people came from diverse backgrounds and a plethora of intellectual thought, yet at this place, there would be a unity of diversity. When we blend this phrase, we get the word university. The diverse nature of understanding was met with a desire for unification and the perpetual search and stretch for greater knowledge.

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Focus on Our Circle of Control

So my suggestion is, that as educators, trained and skilled as we are, let’s focus on what we can do. Let’s control the things that we can control and then immerse ourselves in the glorious opportunity we have to teach, to illuminate the world of possibilities, to expose the students we meet with the excitement of modern times. These are exciting days with rapid advancements in technology that will make for a dynamic place to grow up in. Enjoy each day in the classroom, and as Sean suggested, let’s focus on unity.

About Tim Stephenson

Tim has been teaching in Langley, British Columbia for over 25 years. He’s a science teacher, particularly astronomy, which is a course he has developed into a full credit senior science course. In his school, he is known as AstroStephenson. Way back at the beginning of his teaching career, he wrote a book, really to himself, that contained his teaching philosophy. It was a project that would define his career. He is a possibility thinker, a dreamer, a doer, an innovator.

From the very beginning, he knew that he wanted to teach by putting students and relationships ahead of content, and putting experiences and emotions ahead of the curriculum. The result has been a long career of rich and rewarding experiences for both himself and his students, the pinnacle being in 2018 when he was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.

Now Tim would like to share with you his thoughts and experiences on teaching with the hope that by reflecting better, you will feel empowered to try new things, teach in new ways and see the possibilities that are there for all of us in the teaching profession.