Stick together, teachers

In response to the latest updates on our bargaining sessions, I wrote Fred Robertson, our local president, with this reply.

Dear editor,

In response to the latest updates on our bargaining sessions, I wrote Fred Robertson, our local president, with this reply.

Fred,

The information sent to me today is depressing and very aggravating.

BCPSEA does not have the interests of the students as their main focus.

They want to break the BCTF and have a free hand in draconian management of the schools.

They are right in that we have a 1950’s curriculum, but they want an 1850’s system where there is inadequate funding, no worker benefits, and a pay scale that costs them nothing.

I am an educated teacher, a Prime Minister’s Award winner with almost 35 years of experience.

I constantly have to fight to get supplies, commitment from resource room personnel to service the special needs students in my care, and funding for the programs I run.

It is a never ending series of:  “We have no money for that.”

I also realize there are only 23 per cent of the general population that have kids in school.

The fight will continue as the government pops up new legislation to cover their asses and make it more difficult for us teachers to do what we do best, teach.

I recently had a very difficult student  — behaviour and IEP — come up to me after a very hard day and give me a hug at three o’clock. He said: “Thank you for today.”

I almost wept because I realized that I was the best thing he has in his day.

How can teachers be parents, caregivers, support workers and still teach the academic curriculum?

It is a very special job.

Very few can do it and very few realize the commitment that teachers have to their classes.

I personally, spent over a thousand dollars on my own class last year because I realized the need to do so.

After many many meetings I have come to the conclusion many teachers out there also spend massive amounts of money on their own classes.

It is more that we are subsidizing the educational system to the tune of many millions of dollars every year.

What other profession asks their workers to input this amount?

We are a very caring lot.

There is a limit, however, to my input. If the present move to reduce teachers salaries by 15 per cent were to succeed, I would expect a full-blown strike the next day.

We have tried very hard to explain to the public about class size and composition.

I am not sure that we are being heard.

I am a teacher because I WANT to be a teacher.

I enjoy going to work every day, something that many people cannot say.

The future of our profession is truly on the line.

The only way that we will survive this onslaught is to stay together and present a unified front that reflects our true belief in the public school system.

I rest my case.

Greg Murray

Port Hardy