The beginning of September signals the beginning of a new school year, and the beginning of the school year is usually one of those extra stressful times for most teachers. Even though I’ve taught for many years, I’ve had lots of nightmares about what could go wrong. I won’t share them here because I’m too embarrassed.
Teachers spend lots of time and energy setting up classrooms for student success and hope what they’ve done will pay off for students. During the summer, many teachers will have attended workshops and have taken courses because they want to improve their teaching practice for the benefit of their students. I spent some summers all through my career taking courses and attending work shops to stay current and improve my teaching practice. Teachers are also students, life long learners really.
This new school year, the Ontario government is trying to use it’s power to bully Ontario secondary school teachers into accepting working conditions the Ontario government wants. The Ontario government calls teachers partners in education implying the government and teachers have a relationship where negotiations will go on. What kind of partnership can teachers have with the Ontario government when the government is a bully with the power to legislate what it wants and chooses not to negotiate working conditions in good faith.
I’ve listened to Laurel Broten, the Minister of Education discuss the issue on the radio and marvel at how skilled she is at not answering questions and promoting the government’s agenda. The same type of teacher bashing happened back in the 1990′s in Ontario. I can tell you it was a dark time. Teachers were bullied by legislation to do things not negotiated. Our morale was really low, and the low morale affected students as well. Students were very empathetic. They appreciated teachers’ contributions in and out of the classroom. As an Ontario secondary school teacher, I joined my colleagues and used the only defense we had and chose to work to rule. If it comes to work to rule situation again, it’ll be a shame. But, enough of the doom and gloom. School starts on Tuesday, and I’d like to share this short video with its positive message. Yes, we are all in this together.
Image thanks to Wiki Media Commons