Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

Are you going to NaNoWriMo? October 14, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:47 pm
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If you’re interested in joining me at an attempt at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) November 2012, get in touch! They suggest a goal of 50,000 words in the month, but something is better than nothing! I’m at shawn (dot) bird (at) ymail (dot) com or you can leave a message here:


net zero? March 9, 2012

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:52 am
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All public sector unions are expected to take net zero on their contracts, and yet, the government itself has no issues giving itself double digit raises- forty percent or more.  I don’t think health care workers or teachers work less than these folks, and many of them are better educated than these overpaid bureaucrats.  Check out Norman Farrell’s insight in this issue.  He’s got facts and figures.  It blows my mind.


Why are teachers so upset? March 6, 2012

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:33 pm
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Teachers are upset because we were under the impression that Canada was a democracy, and we are very confused about why more people aren’t very, very concerned about a legislature that doesn’t understand that it is not above the law.  Laws are made to protect citizens.  International law exists to protect people in countries with poor legal systems.  Time and time again the BC government’s actions have been ruled illegal, both here, and in international courts, and they continue to violate the rights of citizens to fair labour practice.

Here is an article by Joe Bakon, a university law professor, explaining why every citizen needs to be very concerned about what’s happening in BC.



the 180 day birthday party March 1, 2012

Well. Teachers in BC are apparently going out on strike Monday.

Why? It is all about Bill 22 that strips the rights of teachers to negotiate contracts that protect learning conditions. Check out the bill- the provincial government will appoint a mediator who will only look at things the gov’t approves, and the gov’t doesn’t have to follow the mediator’s recommendations (just in case s/he doesn’t tow the party line and actually uses common sense). Does the gov’t not know what a mediator does? It’s a neutral third party, acceptable to both sides, who looks at ALL the issues, and finds an equitable situation for both sides of the dispute.  What they are imposing is a mediator in name only.  It’s a de facto puppet.

Do you want an American style, prescriptive system where teachers are not allowed to personalize their class room to the best needs of the students in the class?  Are you okay with your child in a room with 39 other kids, half of whom have learning issues, (behavioural, medical, genetic, etc) without adequate support workers?    How would you feel if someone could show up at your place of work, decide you’re not suitable, and fire you on the spot, without giving you an explanation of what ‘suitable’ means, or allowing recourse to appeal?  Yes, I know that happens sometimes in private business.  Minimum wage places do it all the time.  Is  it right?  Do you like it?  Is it fair?  Is it professional?  Is it what you think public education should be like?

Here is a brilliant blog post from Cheryl, a teacher in Port Coquitlam, explaining the things that have been happening in schools and what we’re fighting for.

I love my job, but it’s getting harder and harder to do it well because of the supports that are disappearing.  One of my colleagues was frustrated enough to leave last year.  She has taught in elementary and high school.  She is doing an MBA program. After semester of study, she was accepted into an internship, and as an intern she is making more than she made as a teacher  at the top of her pay scale. i.e. with a degree and a decade of experience.  I repeat: as an intern!  We don’t do this job for the money, we do it because we love being with kids, and helping them learn.  It’s not an easy job.  Like Cheryl quotes in her blog, it’s like planning a birthday party for 30 (or in my case 100) kids every day.  The gov’t needs to value our professionalism and our skill.  They need to work with us to maintain one of the best educational systems in the world, not continuing to undermine it.

It’s scary in our profession right now,, and what the gov’t is trying to do is going to make it a whole lot scarier.  We’re under attack.  How much do your kids matter to you?


this letter is purple September 14, 2011

Every one of my students is special and unique.

I don’t care if they’re white, black, green or purple.
I don’t care if they are drama kids, jocks, or computer nerds.
I don’t care if they are tattoed, pierced, or sport virgin skin.
I don’t care if they are rich or poor.
I don’t care who they want to have sex with.

I don’t want any of my students to feel  hopeless and alone because of gender identity or sexual orientation .

I care that my students feel valued and safe.
I care that they can get information they need to live healthy and happy lives.
I care that they have role models who can show them how to behave respectfully, amid individual differences.
I care that they know their biology is not a crime or a sin.
I care that they know that they are worthy of acceptance and respect.

I care that they leave school and lead productive lives full of love and friendship.

I want each of them to choose life.

I support the purple letter campaign to adopt a provincial policy of inclusion and acceptance in our schools.

Our kids are worth it.

All of them.


PS.  I’m proud of my former student, Ryan Clayton.  He does amazing work to raise issues of sexuality in our province.  He makes a difference  for students who need the message of acceptance that  he brings to them.  For some, it is a matter of life and death.  Thanks, Ryan!



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