First launched as a pilot project in January 1998, the NWTTA Thank You for Making a Difference (TYFMAD) initiative was developed as a proactive communications strategy to increase public awareness of the positive contributions NWT educators make to the lives of students.
The TYFMAD initiative is made possible through partnerships with three valued supporters. Northern News Services Limited and First Air, the original project supporters, have worked with the NWTTA from the beginning. The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) added their support to the initiative in the early years.
The NWTTA values the support and contributions of its partners for the TYFMAD intiative.
Each year from mid January to mid February, NWT students are invited to submit words of thanks to teachers who have made a difference in their lives. Entries are collected at NWT schools where a school-based draw determines one entry for submission into the NWT-wide Grand Prize draws.
Two Grand Prize draws are made during NWT Education Week at a Celebration of Education hosted by one of the NWTTA regions. Student winners are rewarded with a laptop computer and the educators win a flight for two to any First Air destination.
During the first 'pilot' year, TYFMAD was launched in Yellowknife. Twenty-nine entries were submitted - enough to encourage supporters to broaden the intiative across the NWT in the following year.
Each year the number of entries continues to increase.
Over the past years more than 20,000 TYFMAD entries
have been put into the hands of those NWT educators
who were thanked by their students.
Here's what NWT educators say about receiving words of thanks from their students:
- It was a wonderful feeling to know that I have affected a student's life in a positive way. You always hope that you have but to see the thank you written out is great
- Touched with such a lovely letter.
- Very pleased, I didn't know that I had such an impact on the students I taught. I was thrilled to read what these students had to say.
- Appreciative of the kind words from the students. Motivating!!
- It was really nice to be appreciated and it made me want to do even better...it's nice to have feedback on what you are doing good so you can strive to do better
- It is always nice to receive feedback from students especially from those you don't realize that you have impacted.
- It is the best kind of evaluation of my job ever!
- I am pleased to have students positively reflect on their experience with me as a teacher. I value their opinions.
- I was honored.
- It was nice to see former students still appreciate your hard work. It makes things feel worthwhile
- I was very surprised and pleased. I still have that nomination on my bulletin board and that was 6 years ago.
- Loved it. It is a good feeling to be appreciated.
- It's such a wonderful feeling to know you are making a difference in children's lives and to know that I'm thought of.
- I was very pleased. I have been surprised at what students remember and what made an impression on them.
- …very gratifying to know that you are viewed in a positive light and have made a difference in a child's life.
- I felt very honoured to be recognized, and it was a real positive boost for me...
- It made what we do so worth it, to actually have students tell you that what you're doing means something - it means the world!
If your organization is interested in learning more about the NWTTA Thank You for Making a Difference intiative, please contact NWTTA Central Office.