Letters to the Editor

Time for truths about teachers

Editor, The News:

I find it hard to believe that the public would buy into the disrespectful teacher bashing by our government. It tells stories about the lack of government report cards and meetings being so harmful to our students. It’s time for some truths.

My 220 parents are better informed than they were with report cards. Through email, my parents are guided to student planners that contain the marks for every assignment for every course they are taking (unlike government report cards). The parents sign the planner to show they are aware exactly where their child is. They know what the expectations are and whether their child is on track, behind or ahead.

All grade 12 marks have been posted for scholarship and post secondary needs.

Meetings are still happening, Teachers meet collaboratively with each other, as well as with other support staff.

Meeting with parents has never stopped. Teachers have been in touch with many parents by phone, email and in person since September.

As for doing my job, I still prepare lessons, teach, assess (two hours every night), contact parents and meet colleagues to work out plans for struggling students.

My students have not suffered because of job action.

As for my classes, the government lack of proper funding is hurting kids. My grade 8s are 30 to a class with special needs and international students who barely speak English. My communication 11 and 12 classes are made up of many international, SPED and teens at risk. There is no time to give each one the attention they need, so it is watered down trying to give each one their share.

The international students are not kids to the boards or the government; they are big dollar bills. These kids come to a strange country, living with strangers, cannot speak the language and have no friends. These kids arrive with the same issues (learning, emotional, social) that our kids have, but because they are not funded by the government, they do not qualify for the resources our kids get. I have several stories that would break your heart, but nobody seems to care except the home-stay parents and school staffs. Boards are forced to become businesses because of underfunding.

There are many teachers changing professions or leaving the province because there is little to keep them here. They come out of university with huge debts. They can only look forward to being in a dead-end job. They have to fight for respect. I have 10 years of university training and 25 years experience. Yet, I am being told how to do my job by non-educators.

There has never been a negotiated contract since going to provincial bargaining in the mid ’90s. Millions and millions of dollars have been spent on an organization (BCPSEA) that has never met its purpose. Because of this, I make less and less money every year and my benefits have not been improved in 20 years. I pay my premiums faithfully year after year, but get turned down for every new medication or treatment that is new since then, which included life-saving drugs I needed when I got breast cancer.

Is this my reward for years of university education and service to thousands of families during my career?

We are at a disadvantage because we work with children. We care about our students and have tried to make a statement about government abuse without hurting them.

What choices do we have?

Nina Fowell

B.A  M.Ed, teacher

Thomas Haney secondary

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