What if teachers adopted “Net zero?”
Things would change dramatically in schools.
First, the “collaborative meetings” which Minister Abbott claims are so important wouldn’t happen. Teachers are not paid, nor required to attend meetings (except for one staff meeting a month) outside the school day.
Field trips wouldn’t happen. Since the planning, organizing, and collecting of money, forms and other things necessary for these trips to happen are not part of our work. While away with students, teachers are away from their families. Parents who chaperone go along by choice, and teachers who organize and run these trips also do so by choice.
Extra help at lunch time, or after school would also cease. Teachers are paid only for class time. The marking and preparation of lessons, report cards, adaptation of work for children with special needs, and many other things are all done on our time.
Sports, clubs, science fairs, music performances and theatre performances would stop.
Most of these things are done outside of the work day and ‘outside’ of the ‘hours of work’ for teachers. Tournaments, play days, track meets, assemblies, performances, all require hundreds of hours of work. That work is unpaid.
Teachers would start telling students who don’t have a pen, pencil, eraser, paper, or calculator that the classroom runs on “net zero.”
The teacher will no longer give them the materials. It seems that some people don’t realize that there are no cupboards filled with these things in schools, and teachers spend, on average, $500 dollars of their own money for supplies they give away. Perhaps teachers should start to charge ‘user fees’ like the government does.
Graduation ceremonies would have to be taken over by others. That is not paid work nor a requirement.
Reference letters and assistance with university applications would also need to be taken over by others.
Net zero by teachers would mean go to school just before the morning bell, teach your students, leave for lunch (since those in the private sector can go out for lunch) return to teach for the afternoon, and leave promptly after the last bell.
No lunch time activities like student council meetings, practices, extra help sessions, meetings, phone calls, parent interviews and rehearsals. No after-school practices, extra help sessions, meetings, phone calls, rehearsals, field trip organization, grad planning, and open houses.
Our government claims that along with no salary increase for teachers (who are ninth in salary in Canada but live in the most expensive province) they also need to take away other rights from teachers.
They want to roll back health benefits, take away job security, and provide even less for kids that need extra support.
Why haven’t teachers adopted the “net zero” teaching mandate? Because we are professionals who care about kids. Because we didn’t get into this career to just earn dollars. Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for teachers is a lost tradition.