FOULDS: Teachers deserve kudos for leaving labour mess outside class
The sealed envelope was handed to my son by his teacher, with the stern instruction to not open the envelope and to simply deliver it to his parents.
The son, being a 10-year-old with a million thoughts and interests ricochetting through his head, forgot about the envelope for a few days.
Then, while digging out a lonesome lunch bag and his agenda on the weekend, he found the envelope with which had been entrusted not to open.
He brought it to me, a bit twisted but with the flap sealed tight.
If nothing else, my son is a good kid who listens to his teacher.
That, or the mind-numbing and seemingly neverending battle between the provincial government and B.C. Teachers’ Federation bores him to the core.
I opened the envelope and found a one-page message below an illustration of four kids walking to school and a headline that read: Action For Change.
My son had delivered to me a brief message from the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers’ Association, a message regarding the ongoing job action being undertaken by teachers as they remain at an impasse with the B.C. Liberals on a new contract.
This is the same message that apparently raised the ire of one Kamloops parent, who complained to the media about kids being thrown into the labour battle by teachers.
The letter sent home simply reminds parents and guardians why teachers continue with their job action and updates parents and guardians on what teachers continue to do during the long labour showdown.
The letter notes there has been no progress in contract negotiations and that funding and staffing have not been restored to meet negotiated class size/composition levels despite a court ruling deeming removal of those contract provisions by the B.C. Liberals as unconstitutional.
To the best of my knowledge, those two statements are factual.
The rest of the letter touches on fewer librarians and learning-assistant teachers, salaries of teachers in B.C. compared to the rest of Canada and the lack of money to fully fund school activities.
All are common concerns, all can be debated and none are in any way being used to indoctrinate children.
This letter is a form of communication between a teacher and a parent — nothing more.
The letter also advises parents on what teachers are doing during the job action.
Contrary to some reports, teachers continue to report progress and meet with parents, submit attendance records to the school office and coach sports teams after school hours.
This letter is informative and welcome.
It is not an example of teachers trying to mould the minds of impressionable youth (that dubious distinction belongs to the four teachers who wore black armbands in classrooms in 2009, to protest foundation skills assessment tests).
B.C. teachers have been without a contract for four months, yet life goes on at schools in Kamloops.
My son’s teacher continues to email information when required and we are welcome to meet with her if we have a concern regarding our son.
The school’s track and field and volleyball teams are guided by teachers and the principal, all of whom are heavily involved in home and away events.
A few dozen kids travelled to Vancouver for the recent Me Day event, with bleary-eyed parents dropping their offspring at Aberdeen Mall to board buses at three in the morning.
There, standing in the chill of the witching hour, were the teachers, ready to begin a day that would end at seven that night.
The point is this: Labour disputes are usually nasty and both sides will likely merit criticism by the time this dispute is settled.
However, as of the end of October, it must be said the teachers have done an admirable job of focusing on what they do well and leaving the ugly stuff outside of the classroom, where it belongs.