Teaching with a heart

Radium resident co-writes teaching book

By Dauna Ditson


After a 34-year career in education, Jane Thurgood Sagal only retired for a year. When a friend, Sandra Finney, asked her to coauthor a book for teachers, Ms. Thurgood Sagal was eager to get back to work and share what she had learned over the course of her career.

Ms. Thurgood Sagal spent 11 years as a teacher and two years as a principal before transferring to Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education, where she worked for two decades. After she retired, she moved to Radium Hot Springs in 2012.

Reflecting on her days as a teacher, Ms. Thurgood Sagal told the Pioneer she had always felt lucky because she knew how to manage her stress as it arose and had a great deal of confidence in herself, even early in her career.

In coauthoring The Way of the Teacher: A Path for Personal Growth and Professional Fulfillment with Ms. Finney, Ms. Thurgood Sagal wanted to share the resources she had found useful in the classroom. She said writing the book was an opportunity, “to reflect on what had helped me and therefore what others might find to be helpful as well.”

On the whole, she said, “(the book) is really about opening to the teaching life with a wise heart.”

Her hopes are that the book will help teachers become more self-aware, more creative, more understanding of others and more compassionate to themselves and others. She also hopes that the book will encourage teachers to investigate their belief systems as they relate to themselves personally and to their roles in the classroom.

“When we decided to write this book, we were nearing the end of long careers in education – ones that provided us with many perspectives on what it means to be a teacher and what kinds of teachers we most wanted to be,” Ms. Thurgood Sagal wrote in a follow-up email. “The teachers we wanted for children and teenagers were ones with an authentic presence, joy in helping students learn, and a passion for learning themselves. Experience taught us that who teachers are on the inside – the personal qualities they bring to the classroom – make the most difference in fostering the academic and personal growth of their students.”

Tragically, one of Ms. Thurgood Sagal’s sons died while she was working on the book. She said she could feel his spirit with her and that he improved her work. “He was helping me write more from the heart,” she said.

That lesson – to live and work wholeheartedly – is the central message of her book, and possibly of her life.

Ms. Thurgood Sagal plans to start on her next writing project, an autobiographical novel, this year.

Just Posted

It’s the last day to vote in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots must now be dropped off in person to meet the deadline of 4:30 p.m.

How to decide what to vote for in B.C.’s referendum on electoral reform

Ballots are due at Elections BC on Friday, Dec. 7, at 4:30 p.m.

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

B.C. man linked to human remains probe to stand trial on unrelated assault case

Curtis Wayne Sagmoen will appear on all three Vernon matters this week

B.C. lumber industry trade mission still has high hopes for China

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson cut short trip after Japan, Korea stops

Omar Khadr to ask for Canadian passport to travel, permission to speak to sister

He spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15

Most Read