Editor, The News:
I, too, am a lazy, greedy teacher who wants nothing more than the best for my students, but is being punitively docked wages by a premier who hates me for standing up for their right to a first-class education.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher who is currently pleading with the bank for some mortgage relief for the foreseeable future.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher who will one day soon feel the need to visit the food bank that all of our schools and districts support throughout the year.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher who will do my best to put food on the table for my three young children this summer with 10 per cent less than nothing since being provoked (again) into going on strike.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher who will be putting items on Craigslist soon to bring in a few extra dollars to pay towards ongoing debts and loans. Anyone want to buy a new(ish) 50cc gas scooter with only 50kms on the clock?
I am a lazy, greedy teacher who wants better resources for our classrooms, not just the ones I purchase with my own money all year.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher who would like to see special needs students better supported in and out of the classroom.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher whom the general public supports because they know just how lazy and greedy I am when it comes to teaching, supporting, nurturing and raising their precious children, no less precious to me.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher who struggles in his middle-class existence as an uncaring, bullying and anti-democratic government forces an entire class of society to be ground into the dirt while the world watches in horror and disbelief.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher who feels he has to take a stand in order to fight for a better education for all B.C. children – that’s your children and my own, too.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher trying to fight for better public education funding.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher trying to defend and preserve what was once the noblest of professions.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher whose mind is riddled with painful thoughts about the future of this province.
I am a lazy, greedy teacher.
Editor’s note: Sid Siddique is a teacher in the
Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district.
Pulling curtain back on underfunded public schools
Editor, The News:
When the job action in our schools comes to an end, I am hoping that teachers, parents, trustees and all citizens continue speaking out about the underfunding of our education system in B.C.
I want to urge everyone to continue getting involved, speaking up, speaking out, and advocating for more funding within the system.
It feels like we are living in a Wizard of Oz version of an education system. When you take a quick look, everything seems polished and flashy, but when you pull back the curtain, you can see all the slight of hand at work.
Perhaps it’s time we, educators and parents, stop contributing to all the special effects and hold the government accountable for what the reality is.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I do, as a teacher, to contribute to the false image of our school system and I’ve come up with a few things I plan to do and stop doing in the fall:
• I will talk openly with the parents of the students I teach about what supports our classroom receives and what supports their child is entitled to;
• I will not spend my family’s money in the classroom;
• I will not expect myself to return marked assignments and tests the very next day at the expense of spending time in the evening with my own family
• similarly, I will limit the hours I work on weekends.
Like so many teachers, I am also a parent. I’ve attended PAC meetings at my daughter’s school for the past six years and am continually impressed with the amount of volunteer time parents put in for fundraising, holding special events, and making the school a special place to be.
However, I have to admit I am conflicted by this.
Parents mean well and have nothing but the best of intentions. But the money parents funnel into the underfunded school system contributes to the Wizard of Oz education system we are living in.
What would happen if we said ‘enough is enough.’
What if we only fundraised for fun ‘extras,’ and not the things that should be expected within a school?
It would be an impossible choice to make, as we all want the best for our children.
I know my daughter’s school would look entirely different if you took away all the things the PAC fundraised for:
• $25,000 worth of less technology within the past two years (no projectors, iPads, TVs, speakers);
• $7,500 worth of less books in the library;
• $150 less per classroom for purchasing special supplies (for a total of $3,750);
• no updated computer lab;
• no outdoor basketball hoops;
• no outdoor play equipment for recess and lunch;
• no special art supplies for things like Christmas, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day projects;
• no sound system for assemblies and presentations in the gym;
• no curtains for the stage.
Eventually, students will return to school, teachers will go back to work, and the letters to the editor regarding the current labour dispute will stop.
I am begging every individual who believes our children deserve a quality education to keep talking about underfunding in our education system.
Keep pulling the curtain back and hold our government accountable.
A few teacher facts that were overlooked
Editor, The News:
Re: A brief history of teacher demands (B.C. Views, June 25).
Just a commentary on Tom Fletcher’s column, focusing on the items he left out or misrepresented.
First, he failed to mention that in the past 13 years, teacher salaries have gone up between 24-26 per cent.
By comparison, MLA wages have increased by 41 per cent and the premier’s wage has risen by 65.4 per cent.
Also not mentioned is the fact that the premier’s initial offer to the teachers was a 10 per cent pay reduction.
Similarly, he missed the fact that the only provincial jurisdiction with lower teacher’s wages than B.C. is Nova Scotia, a far cheaper place to live.
He also overlooked the fact that the B.C. Supreme Court has cited Premier Clark’s party for bargaining in bad faith, twice.
As for his assertion of “three months of prime-time vacation,” much of that is taken by courses to up-grade the teacher’s own education – something that Mr. Fletcher might consider seriously for himself.