Diane Dewing, OTF President, receives CTF Special Recognition Award

The Canadian Teachers’ Federation Special Recognition Award is presented to those who have made significant contributions to publicly funded education. Diane Dewing, whose career has been dedicated to students, teachers, and publicly funded education, is most deserving of this award. This can be seen from her remarks in receiving the award at the CTF annual meeting on July 11, 2019.

Congratulations, Diane and thank you.


Thank you. I am honoured beyond measure by this award. I love this profession and know that we all work hard. To be recognized by you, my peers, is overwhelming.

Please take this message back to your members: I stand here because of publicly funded public education and because of the dedication of teachers.

I come from a bad place – poverty, hunger, violence and neglect. You have all met students like me. No parent ever attended a teacher conference, an awards ceremony, heard me sing, or advocated on my behalf. That said, I was never alone. My teachers, singly and in groups, supported me in countless ways. They fed me, encouraged me and guided me with wise words and carefully chosen books. They researched and helped me apply for bursaries and scholarships. They challenged my assumptions and nominated me for awards. They provided me with a safe space. My teachers stepped beyond a purely pedagogical role and changed the course of my life. Their dedication and commitment inspired me to step into their shoes. I love teaching and spent many years supporting some of our most marginalized students. They are my people.

It has been an easy step to move beyond the direct support of students to the support of teachers. I have been a fierce advocate for them at local, provincial and national levels. As you well know, the work is hard, but the work is good. Along the way, I supported the leadership journey of others. This is what my teachers taught me – we lift each other and lead from behind.

Finally, I want to thank my husband. He has repeatedly and good-naturedly stepped forward when I assumed additional responsibilities away from home or was enmeshed in difficult issues. Being the spouse of a teacher is hard enough; being the spouse of a teacher-leader requires patience and understanding beyond measure.

Once again, thank you for this award. My teachers inspired in me a belief that the knowledge and relationships created in publicly funded education is society’s great equalizer. I know that without them, my life could have been very different. Thank you to all our teachers. You inspire me – and I am one among thousands.