In some cases teachers are spending more time with children than parents and it’s important to realize the role teachers play, says parent Nadine Conkin of 150 Mile House.
The kindergarten mom was speaking Wednesday morning while attending a demonstration she had organized in support of teachers, where she and other parents had made florescent-coloured signs and joined striking teachers outside of Marie Sharpe Elementary School in Williams Lake.
“I feel the government is dictating to our teachers that they have to go back to work. There’s no increase in wages and there’s no teacher support when it comes to students that need special assistance in the classroom,” Conkin says.
Conkin wants the government to support children because they are the future and questions why daycare support from the government is higher at $35 a day per child than it is for a child in school.
It’s not about wages, but it is about the whole package, she adds.
“I’ve watched children needing extra support in the classroom and not getting it. It’s the other kids that are suffering because the teacher’s hands are tied if they have no supports.”
Pointing to her own children and the others standing around her at the demonstration, Conkin suggests they could be future politicians, future doctors, and future nurses.
“If they don’t get the education they need then where are we?” she asks.
Conkin has a sister and brother-in-law who are teachers and says she doesn’t live near them and cannot support them in person, but hopes that her actions send a signal that she supports teachers everywhere.
“The more people that are aware of what’s going on the better. They think it’s about the teachers wanting an increase in wages. This isn’t about wages; it’s about support for our children in the classroom. They aren’t getting that.”
During the demonstration, Cariboo Chilcotin Teachers Association president Joan Erb and B.C. Teachers Federation staff person John Ehinger greeted the teachers, parents and children, handing out chocolate bars.
The group was also joined by John Nasuszny and Bob Macnair of the United Steelworkers who showed up carrying union flags in support of the teachers.