Teachers are VALUABLE!

Posted on: April 10, 2012

I am watching, unfold in our province currently, a dispute between the Teacher’s Union (ergo, the teachers themselves) and the Province, (or the minister responsible for negotiating their contract). Please note: I’m going only by reports and am not looking up anything to confirm. These reports are verbal and face to face, so I trust the speakers. 

The first thing the Province, did? (Acting in good faith, of course). 

They spent more than a week (with over 80? speakers given a minimum of 15-minutes) discussing the fact that the teachers, in a bona-fide union, were considering going on strike. 

Arms were raised; parents cried foul; and in the end, the PROVINCE decided, by vote, to bring in a bill. Bill 22… This bill, in effect, fines the UNION over $20,000,000.00 PER DAY they chose to strike.  

And this is NOT union busting, HOW? 

I can honestly say it sickens me. When it boils down to the bottom line, the MAIN reason (although they won’t even consider this if you mention it) is because millions of hard working parents would lose their DAYCARE service and have to find ALTERNATE care for their children. 

EXCUSE ME? This just nauseates me. TEACHER’S are a VALUABLE RESOURCE. No, I don’t believe they should wield extraordinary powers or be given special treatment; but I do NOT believe their rights should be undermined because PARENTS might have to look after their OWN children! Good grief! 

The government is now making videos (ads) showing how they haven’t the money to raise teacher salaries. (How much that ad cost, buddy?) Or other ads; showing students upset that they are losing their EXTRA-CURRICULAR activities… (EXCUSE ME? You won’t pay the teachers fairly AND you expect them to work overtime; for free???) 

Then there is the wonderful feeling teachers must have when they think of the extra, unpaid hours they do put in; marking papers; feeding information for report cards into a program. (Said program regularly crashes and loses information, (and the government continues to tout as “the better way”), pouring (I believe at last count) $10,000,000.00 in to repair a system that has never worked and will never work)

Or when they (the teachers) are doing extra-curricular activities with kids who don’t seem to understand that the teacher is volunteering their time. (Instead of whining those kids need to direct their hurt or angry little thoughts toward their parents. Ask the parents to volunteer and see the kids make the playoffs; win the cup; make the trip). Stop depending on an UNPAID teacher to do it for you. 

I believe, what probably hurts the most is when the government, basically, tore up their last contract; demanded they (the teachers) ‘fall in line or quit’ (hmmm; kinda like FB’s forced time line)

Treat the teachers fairly! Smaller class size limits. ELIMINATE KINDERGARTEN… (But that’s MY personal thought; I don’t think they want to do that, in fact they’ve just implemented full-day kindergarten. Why? So parents can work and their children are cared for. BABYSITTERS.) 

Back to what the teachers want. Smaller class sizes. No more than 30 students per teacher. PERIOD.

More ‘special needs’ helpers. With EACH SPECIAL NEED CHILD BEING EVALUATED INDIVIDUALLY AND APPROPRIATE HELP OFFERED! (Ie: Some special need children only require minimal attention; others need a FULL-TIME aide. Some can be managed with others; some require INDIVIDUAL attention.) 

I don’t think this is unfair or unreasonable. It is disrupting for a teacher to have to spend her whole day baby-sitting or molly coddling three or four students while the rest of the class is left to its own devices. It’s not fair to those students. Understand this: I’M NOT against handi-capable children being in the classroom, I’m against their needs being considered as more important that an able-bodied child. (again, I digress…) 

   1.            Smaller class sizes.

   2.            A better ratio of special need teachers

   3.            A RAISE. They haven’t had one in several years. They are making less than their counterparts across the country. Is this fair? We live in one of the HIGHEST cost provinces in the world, and teachers need to commute nearly two hours EACH way, or live in tiny dorm rooms to make ends meet. 

Now they are in contract negotiations. A joke, as was proven last time when the government ignored a legally signed contract and re-wrote it, passing it into law. I’m still stymied by that act. 

When ANY other union in the province is in negotiations, and talks break down, they have the right to strike. 

Other fines levied for acts of civil disobedience (because that’s what it boils down to… oh, you law guys, lay off, not literally…sheesh!) have topped at a million dollars for the most disrespectful slap in the face. The Teacher’s Union? TWENTY MILLION PER DAY. (Or just under $450 per member, per day.) That’s fair… NOT. 

I stand behind the teachers 100%. If parents want day care, have them pay for it; or hey? Here is a concept; stay home with your kid… Support the teachers, after all, they’re who you trust to care for your child for five hours a day; doesn’t it make more sense to have them on your side? 

(Teachers? Here’s an idea for you: You’re being forced to do report cards? Ask the kids what grade they want. It’s no skin off your nose, and it saves having to enter all that data twice… I’m not being spiteful; I’m being realistic.)

And now, I’ve written this with a splitting headache, so maybe I’ve been a little less than ‘polite’; I apologise now… NOT for my opinions, just in their delivery… 


(PS: I waited nearly two-weeks before posting this because I thought I’d want to make changes. In fact, it may not be ‘report ready’ but it says what I wanted to get off my chest (I’ve a large chest…) so I’ve not altered it. I know, someone is going to notice that I probably should have, and that’s okay… I appreciate feedback…)

PPS: The person appointed as the ‘mediator’ to help the two sides come to some agreement? Oh, yeah, an oversight on the government’s side, he’s the guy who wordsmithed Bill-22, refusing the teachers the right to strike… yep, HE’S NOT BIASED…


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