How flexible is education system, really?

Really means ‘teachers need to be flexible and compensate for the underfunding of the system'

Editor, The News:

Re: School board raises rent for facilities (The News, June 14).

In this article, Superintendant Jan Unwin uses the word flexible as it pertains to class sizes and case loads of teachers.

Now flexible on its own is normally seen as a good word – one that seems to fit with collaboration and team work.  It’s a word we like to think of when we think of getting along and compromising.

In this case, however, flexible is that buzz word from the ministry of education that really means ‘teachers need to be flexible and compensate for the underfunding of the system.’

When students sign up for courses, they pick alternatives in case classes are full.

They understand the system and they understand that when 32 students request a course in any given year that two of them will have to move on to their alternative choice.

There is always next year.

In terms of the idea of teacher load, or case load per teacher, as an alternative to class size limits, there are inherent pitfalls.

With tightening budgets and decreasing enrolment, scheduling of courses becomes more difficult at the secondary level.

It would be very easy to place 37 students in one block and 23 in another to achieve case load, but that does nothing to produce the best learning conditions and working conditions in that classroom of 37.

The flexibility then lies with the teacher and the students to find workarounds rather than the system being flexible to the conditions needed for best educational practice.

How flexible is that?

Todd Patrick

Maple Ridge