Fed up with the province

I am so fed up with our provincial government’s unreasonable stance

I am so fed up with our provincial government’s unreasonable stance with respect to the B.C. teachers’ strike.  I wish that the government could step back and see what’s at stake here: our children, our country’s most precious resource.

Last night, I attended our grandson’s Grade 12 graduation. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the devotion and care he’s received from teachers at his school, Carihi, in Campbell River. His teachers have struggled to give him and every other student they teach the kind of education children deserve. They struggle because they are overworked and underpaid.

Education is in crisis. Teachers are expected to do more every year with less and less resources, and with less and less security.

In this province, every teacher has to deal on a daily basis with children who come to them from broken homes, with learning disabilities, and a whole range of I.Q.’s. Throw in some special needs kids into the mix, and you have bedlam.

In a classroom of twenty-five and more, if even one child is having a bad day, he can disrupt the learning experience of all. And yet, we expect the teacher to manage without adequate support through teaching assistants and other supportive personnel. At the end of the day, we have a teacher who is stressed to the max and students who don’t get the education they deserve.

Some of the public is swayed by government arguments that teachers are being greedy in asking for more salary and steady contracts. Teachers earn every penny. Ask any mother of even just two, how she copes for the day. It’s not easy. And yet we ask teachers to handle twenty-five and more individuals with unique needs every day and teach them something as well.

And contrary to some popular belief, teachers do not work regular hours and have long vacations. They often put in long hours after the children have gone home marking papers, preparing for class instruction, or providing extracurricular support for their students.

When they are off on some well-earned vacation time, they also use this time to take more courses, and plan for the upcoming year.

The other bone of contention for teachers is classroom size. Teachers are asked to handle classrooms of 24 children in the early primary grades and after that, there is no limit. Can you believe it, no limit? If Christie Clark sat in on one of these classrooms, she’d be whistling a different tune.

As far as I’m concerned, teachers are saints. They are dealing with our most precious resource and they deserve to be well-paid, well-supported with teaching assistants, and respected for what they do. Without them, we have a sorry tomorrow.

Diana Stevan

Campbell River