/Teachers are taking a stand

Teachers are taking a stand

To the Editor

RE: “Volun-told” Minden Times Oct. 1

Let me start by saying no teacher in this province wants to strike! No teacher wants to “work to rule”! These are actions in response to the way OPSBA has approached bargaining. This round of bargaining commenced by OPSBA demanding: that we allow them to strip contract language as well as items that have been fairly negotiated and fought for over the previous 20 years. These are actions that place pressure on administration. Coming to a negotiation with demands set a negative tone from the onset. Our contract has been expired for 14 months. The government seems content to drag its feet with all of its employees’ contracts not just ETFO.

At what point and time should ETFO take a stand?

Should teachers continue to act like all is normal?

At no point in time during this work-to-rule job action have extracurricular clubs and sports team stopped. What has happened is teachers are choosing not to volunteer their time as is their choice regardless of our current situation. At no time during this negotiation period have teachers been instructed to not volunteer their time by ETFO.

One donates their time because they see value in what they are doing. Also they volunteer their time because people value what they do. The actions of the government demonstrate that they value the organizers of the Pan Am Games and they value big business. What is clear is that they don’t value the people who make Ontario a world class place to receive an education.

True field trips are not happening.

I love taking my students on field trip but trips do require a significant amount of time to organize collect money and find chaperones. Much of this time is after hours. Not to mention that trips often do not fall during school hours.

I would imagine that you are not a very popular person for belittling the volunteers of your community. Volunteers are the lifeblood of any community regardless of its size. Being a volunteer is remarkable!

If you felt that your community didn’t value what you did why would you continue to donate your time? Giving your time to make life in your community better is never unremarkable or unexceptional! To say that undervalues the sacrifice of time many of us make.

For every hour I donate to my students I take away from my own family. If a teacher doesn’t at least see that their employer values this sacrifice why would they continue to give their time?

Most teachers are also community volunteers. They won’t stop their community volunteer activities because there is a work-to-rule at their place of employment. To insinuate that is both insulting and asinine. Teachers are not petty children who when they don’t get their way go and pout in the corner.

We are professionals tasked with shaping the future. That’s not piety that’s reality. We don’t take this job lightly. Teachers are educated professionals who always weigh their actions sometimes even to a fault. We know that our actions impact our students both for good and bad. If standing up for my profession fighting for a more effective work environment which includes lower class sizes and fighting a dangerous president mean that my students miss out on a year of school sports and clubs? That is a sacrifice I must make. Most students won’t like it but will eventually understand. And as they grow older and join the workforce they will appreciate us making a stand.

We don’t do this flippantly.

Standing up for what is right is often not easy and often has costs associated with it but is always worth it in the end.

As an aside if you are volunteering because you have to it’s not volunteering. Being forced to do something is conscription. Giving of your time is a gift. Anyone giving a gift of their time is exceptional. I’m very thankful for every member of my community who gives of their time.

It is an act that is most exceptional!

Steve Quakenbush