Shawn L. Bird

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

poem- fight for rights #Iwillholdtheline August 29, 2014

Filed under: Poetry,Teaching — Shawn L. Bird @ 8:31 pm
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I will fight for what’s right.

I will demand my government obeys the law.

I will fight for what’s right.

I will stand in defence of contracts illegally torn.

I will fight for what’s right.

I will not blink when it threatens

I will fight for what’s right.

I will shout about injustice and lies

I will fight for what’s right.

I will shame them before the world.

I will fight for what’s right.

I will hold the line.

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Our British Columbia government illegally tore up our contracts in 2002 when our current premier was Minister of Education.  We have fought for the last 12 years against this injustice.  Two provincial Supreme Court decisions ruled against the government, stating that they violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The decision demanded the government reimburse us for what they took away.  As well, the United Nation’s International Labour Organization ruled against their flouting of treaties and international agreements.  We are on strike because a government that acts illegally must be held to account.

The most recent Supreme Court ruling was in February, 2014.  You can read the ruling here.  You will see constant references to how the government bargained in bad faith, provoked strikes, and acted illegally.  They are still behaving the same way, so we are fighting to preserve fair bargaining for all working people, because if they destroy us, they will destroy every union in the province.   You should care about this.  You should care a lot.

 

 

poem-creative protest June 27, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:48 am
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Today,

I’m picketing injustice

with my son’s guitar.

Time to learn

how to play.

A rainy picket day

may as well bring new skills,

since there’s no other pay.

 

 

political statement- BC teachers’ strike June 26, 2014

Filed under: Commentary,video — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:23 pm
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This is why teachers in BC are on strike.

I find most people in our community understand that we’re out for a reason and they are *very* supportive: bringing us food, coffee, waving, honking, etc.

Occasionally people shout “Get back to work, you lazy SOBS!” (Not many- about one or two a day) We are sorry the education system was able to teach these people neither  how important it is to research an issue before you articulate an opinion, nor how important it is for people to stand up for themselves against illegal actions from their government.   We’ll stand up for the kids of even those uninformed people.

For details, here is a very entertaining and accurate presentation about why every working person in BC needs to be alarmed about this government, why teachers voted in such numbers to walk.  If they can do this to the teachers, they can do it to you.

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I am the BCTF.

 

allegory of the rich man and his gardener June 21, 2014

Filed under: anecdotes,Commentary,Pondering — Shawn L. Bird @ 7:20 pm
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An allegory:

Chris has the most beautiful garden in the city.  He has a gardener who has been working on it for years, carefully cultivating special plants, and creating special features that are the envy of people who come from all over the world to admire the garden.  The gardener is paid a fair salary for his expertise and years of training, so he is happy.

Years pass.  The gardener hasn’t had a raise in years, and things are getting more expensive.  Gas for his car now costs double what it did when he started working.

Chris asks the gardener to put in a fancy water feature, and several fruit trees. “I’ll cover the bill when rents are paid,” he says.  That’s fine, the gardener makes a good wage, and he loves the garden.

Chris goes around to his tenants to collect the rents.  To the small houses, he says, “The view improved now the neighbour’s tree is down.  You owe more.”

To the really huge houses, he says, “Never mind. You don’t have to pay your rent.”

Then he pays all his bills, but because he didn’t make the big houses pay their rent, he doesn’t have enough to pay the gardener all he’s owed.

Chris tells the gardener he still expects the fancy water feature and the fruit trees, as well as the lawn to be mowed, the beds weeded, and the shrubs pruned.

The gardener loves his garden: the new water feature is going to be stunning when he’s finished with it, and the fruit trees are amazing, blooming gloriously, but some fungus is creeping onto the petals, and then insects are bothering the fruit.  He can’t quite figure out how to stop that, but he’s read about a great fungicide that should work.  He just needs to test to see exactly what the problem is.

“I don’t have any extra money for this!” Chris declares.  “I pay you enough!  Your demands are ridiculous!”

The gardener wants his garden to be perfect, so he does his best, working in the evenings and bringing things from home.  He can’t afford to subsidize the proper fertilizer, tests, and fungicide, and when the mower runs out of gas, he can’t get more fuel  since he no longer can afford a car himself, so he can’t drive to get some.  He asks for an increase in his wages, and a budget that covers the demands Chris as made.

“This is not in line with what other gardeners are paid!” Chris shouts, though the gardener knows he is not asking for anything more than every other gardener in the city gets for the same kind of garden.

He begs Chris to please provide him with the budget necessary to do what he’s been asked, but Chris glowers and tells the gardener he’s being greedy and lazy.

The gardener tries repeatedly, feeling guilty about the way the fruit trees are dying, and he is frustrated because he knows if he could just get the proper funding for what is required, he could produce the kind of show garden Chris he wants.

With so much work, no extra staff, no supplies and not enough money to buy them, the garden inevitably falls into ruin.

“What a terrible gardener!” Chris says.  “I’m going to take back pay because he’s not working hard enough!”

“What a terrible gardener!” his golf club cronies in their rent free big houses agree, adding.  “It’s so hard to get good help cheaply any more.” Then they shout, “FORE!” as their golf ball sails over the artificial turf and the plastic flowers of their golf course.

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In case you missed it:

Chris is Premier Christy Clark, the garden is the education system, and the gardener is the teachers.

 

 

poem- the line June 20, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 12:30 am
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Picket signs

propped in front of us

we strike for a better world

either strolling the side walk

or strumming harp

or guitar.

A strike is like a barbeque

for a cause

fueled by coffee and doughnuts

instead of beer and beef.

 

 

poem- stand up June 19, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:27 pm
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“Why are teachers even bothering to picket,

when you aren’t getting strike pay any more?”

he asked.

I told him it was because teachers are moralists

who are defending democracy

and fair working & bargaining conditions

against a corrupt government:

A government that ignores the court rulings

spends billions of tax payers’ dollars appealing

judgments by the Supreme Court

and the United Nations saying they

are WRONG to steal from our kids.

It will pay billions for a stadium roof,

but will not pay for educating its children.

I told him that in such a war,

pay is a small thing.

We will fight, because if our government

succeeds in destroying OUR union

then every other working person in this province

is in peril.

If OUR contracts can be shredded with impunity,

so can YOURS!

We are fighting for YOUR rights

and for our students’ right to a properly funded education

against a government with an agenda

to destroy public education and the middle class.

We’re fighting for YOU! I told him.

“Oh,” he said.

 

What do you appreciate in your teachers? May 8, 2013

Filed under: anecdotes,Teaching — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:05 pm
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I asked the few 16 to 18 year old students here today in my Communications 11 and 12 (non-academic English) class what they appreciate about their teachers.   We had a little fun rephrasing things into positive statements. 🙂

  • Patrick appreciates when teachers trust him
  • Katelynn appreciate when teachers put themselves in students’ shoes
  • Jessie appreciates the time teachers take to help him understand
  • Nich appreciates when teachers are nice
  • Joel appreciates when teachers give him food
  • Celeste appreciates when teachers don’t give her homework
  • Ryan appreciates when teachers are nice, and when they’re helpful to students

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Many students were away today on field trips or work experience, so it was a small class!

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Personally, I appreciated when my teachers were enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their subject, beyond the curriculum.

What do/did you appreciate most in your teachers?

 

 
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