Now in its 18th year, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Institute on Parliamentary Democracy has given nearly three hundred teachers from across province the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the political system by observing it in action. Through meetings with the Lieutenant Governor, Speaker, Ministers, Caucus leaders, Whips, and Chairs, as well as with Private Members, media and the judiciary, the non-partisan professional development program provides teachers with an all-encompassing overview of the realities of democracy and its importance in our society, thereby equipping them with valuable knowledge to convey the issues and intricacies of modern Parliament to their students. The Institute also promotes the sharing of ideas, resources and methodologies for teaching about parliamentary democracy with fellow participants. In this article, the author recounts his experience as a teacher-in-training who participated in a recent edition of the program.
When former Speaker Glenn Hagel launched the first Saskatchewan Teachers’ Institute (SSTI) on Parliamentary Democracy in 1999, he created an opportunity for teachers to gain an unparalleled view into the parliamentary process. Prior to my own participation in the program, I had an avid interest in politics for years and had been to the Saskatchewan Legislature several times before; but the SSTI was an eye-opening experience for me.