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Don’t condemn teachers for holiday breaks

Editor:
Re: ‘Most employees do not receive three months off work to recharge,’ KTW Aug. 5:
I had to agree with a couple of Simon Mason’s assertions in his letter, wherein he corrected a couple of misconceptions on the part of Dawn Aziz, who had commented previously on the ongoing labour dispute between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the provincial government.
He is correct in stating teachers working for the Kamloops-Thompson school district are paid, in the main, for 12 months’ service over a 10-month period.
That is why teachers on a continuing contract pay into EI but cannot collect it in the summer.
As well, Simon underlined the BCTF is on strike and not simply locked out, as was maintained by Aziz.
At this point, Mason and I begin to differ in opinion.
He stated many workers “would love three-plus months to recharge.”
Again, I have to agree, but rather than deride those who have an enviable work situation, I would applaud their foresight and energy and recognize the time and money spent to put themselves in such a position.
As well, Mason states he hopes teachers “have reflected during the summer on what they are teaching their children and grandchildren.”
I believe the message to our children is quite clear.
The citizens of our province have a right to quality public education and the BCTF and its members are prepared to fight to ensure that right is enjoyed by the citizens of B.C., even if it means short-term sacrifice for long-term goals.
Difficult times require difficult choices.
This is not an easy situation and there is no telling when or how this mess will be resolved.
In the meantime, let us remember there are at least two sides to this issue.
Apparently, Mason supports the B.C. Liberals. I support the BCTF in its effort to halt the deliberate erosion of quality public education in BC.

Peter Nelson
Kamloops

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9 comments

  1. the students need a recharge, too.
    Pro-D days, stat holidays, and summer vacations were something I always looked forward to as a student. It was a brain break, and a time to relax, and have adventures. Until someone decides otherwise, school is always going to be out on those days/months. What point is there to begrudging the fact that one profession gets something the rest of us don’t, due to the nature of the work? Unless we just make the students go to school year round because mommy and daddy don’t like what teachers have/make. I’m sure our children will love that!

  2. Should it be mentioned that school breaks were designed for the students and their families and not as a holiday schedule for teachers.

  3. Mr. Mason made his daily bread from the same pot that feeds the teachers. Mr. Mason never had to go out on strike because he rode the teacher’s coat tails to his bank account. Not only that he rode the teachers coat tails to his summer holidays as well. Lets not forget the number of assistants Mr. Mason had at the board office even though he worked on one file at a time. Most importantly Mr. Mason never took his office home with him like most teachers do. Yes Mr. Mason has not been in a classroom since his days in high school, but now he quacks like a seagull on a chessboard flapping and knocking the pieces over and craps on the board and then tells us he knows how the game is played. Of course he knows since the chess game winners in the Old Boys Club are predetermined and Mr. Mason knows that.

  4. When we make a decision to enter a profession, we make a choice to do so, or not to do so.

  5. When you factor in a school year that lasts from September 3rd to June 29th (and I am talking SCHOOL days, not any additional working days teachers may have) and when you consider summer break, Christmas, Easter and Spring break, 7 stats and 4 pro-D days, and you deduct all the weekends in there, Teachers work for 171 days per year.

    Hang on.

    Let us compare Nurses, Police, Firefighters, Paramedics and a good number of unionized tradesmen. Most of these people work 4 days on and 4 days off. They do not necessarily get stats off, but they do get on average 21 days of vacation each year (which generally translates into five 12-day vacations per year when you place 4 shifts off in between normal days off) This means they are only at work for 161 days per year.

    So before you whine about perceptions, get your facts straight. Teachers actually work MORE days than most public essential service employees. Remember too that Nurses make a median wage of $106,000.00 in BC. Firefighters make a median wage of $103,000.00 Police make an average (between city and RCMP in BC) median of $85,000,00 and paramedics even less. Teachers, – at the very bottom of that heap make a mere $69,000.00 as a median wage.

    BC Teachers work more and make less. Those are the facts

    • Teachers only work 6 hours a day plus a couple sometimes for for marking or a bit of lesson preparation which can mostly be done while the students are busy in the class. The other people work a 12 hour day. Not a very good comparison.

      • Your belief that teachers prep and mark when the class is busy is incredulous.

        • Well they did when I was in school. And my kids teachers did as well. Class prep consisted of flipping the stack at the beginning of the year.

      • There isn’t a teacher around that does not put in countless unpaid hours at home and during off time marking assignments, exams, preparing lessons, helping students, communicating with parents and helping with extracurricular activities.

        In contrast, those with the lowest educational requirement (as in no educational requirement at all) making a median wage of $103,000.00 per year can and frequently do go 4 shifts without ever doing any work at all. They get paid to sleep and cook meals for each other. It gives them lots of time to work on their PR and public hero image to make you believe their work is far more dangerous and heroic than it really is.

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