Shawn L. Bird

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

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?


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