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Long-time teacher feels unprecedented disrespect
I’ve been a teacher in School District 71 for 28 years.
Throughout this time there have been many contract disputes but never have I felt the disrespect that exudes from this government towards teachers, and I keep asking myself why the government is so opposed to increasing the funding to public education.
I don’t have a problem with parents sending their children to private schools, because that’s their right.
However, I have a big problem understanding why our government not only funds private/independent schools, but has in fact increased funding for independent schools by 45.6 per cent since 2005 and in that same period has only increased public school funding by 16.9 per cent (as per BCTF estimates).
Not only have there been many contract disputes over the years, there have been many changes in the classroom (especially regarding class composition).
More and more students are being diagnosed with learning disabilities and require individual education plans or modified programs; more and more classrooms have multiple students with moderate-to-severe behaviour challenges and students with English as a second language. Yet the support for these students has been steadily reduced over the years to the point where it is commonplace for one education assistant to be assigned to work with two (and often more) students in one or more classrooms.
I’ve had to share EAs in the past and I can honestly say it becomes a little difficult when your behaviour student is having a meltdown but the EA is with their other class at the time.
At the bargaining table the weekend preceding our strike action, the government wanted the teachers to agree to a clause stating that if either side was not satisfied with the appeal result they had the right to terminate the existing contract within 60 days.
In other words, if the government doesn’t get their way, they are giving themselves another way to avoid funding public education.
I’m glad I chose the profession I did because I look forward to going and working with my students every day, and I feel rewarded every time they make an accomplishment and develop a love for learning.
These students deserve a properly funded education system because they are our future.
Mrs. G. Robertson
Kindergarten Teacher, Brooklyn Elementary