Friday, December 14, 2012

In regards to today's teacher's strike.

I've been meaning to say a few things on this, aside from the few comments on teacher-bashing Facebook posts that I've been seeing.

The work-to-rule thing sucks for the kids.  I know that, and I totally get it.  No after-school clubs, no extracurriculars, no field trips - it sucks for them.  I'm not about to deny that.

The one-day strike happening today.  It sucks for parents.  One of the functions of public schools is cheap daycare, along with the education of our children.  I sit in a position of privilege here, I realize that.  Between an ex-husband that is generally available and willing to take his kids; a boyfriend also willing to hang with my kids and a job that, worse come to worse, will let me stay home for a day to watch them myself, I'm not going to be horribly affected by this action.  That's a privilege and I recognize it.  Many parents are not in such a lucky position.  I get that too.  I'm glad for their sake that this is only a one day action.

Teachers work damn hard.  I've watch my sister go through the rigors of constant training and upgrading skills (the courses which are paid out of pocket).  Lesson planning and grading that goes well into the nights and weekends.  I barely see her between the months of September and June, she's so busy.

I entrust my kids to their teachers care for 5-6 hours a day.  Damn right I want them paid and compensated well.  It's not greed, it's what they have coming to them.  I've read time and time again that they are doing wrong by the children by holding out and taking job action.  No one has pointed a finger  at the school boards and government who also continue to hold out on negotiations.  No one seems to be up in arms about school board trustees with six figure salaries.  It's the teachers because "That's my tax money!"

If my kids teachers are well compensated, that means they're going to be happier and more satisfied with their job.  Which means my kids get a better education.  I'm okay with my taxes going towards that.

Frankly, everybody deserves to be well compensated for their jobs.  Not just teachers.  Labour organizations and unions have helped people with that in various sectors.  Other sectors, such as the retail and service sector are starting to organize.  Read up on your labor history.  If you have eight-hour days, or paid sick leave or vacation time or benefits, that's the result of the work of labour organizations.  


  1. I wasn't aware of this teachers strike.

    1. Yeah.. they've been under work-to-rule for a couple of weeks now. No extracurriculars, all that. Today they had a one-day strike.

  2. Compensation is tricky, to be sure. You want people to be fairly paid for their hard work, especially when it is really important work. You want them to be able to afford to get well qualified. At the same time, you don't want to create a class of untouchables who draw a high salary whether or not they work well. The answer is to tie compensation to expertise, effort, and performance. This is tricky in all jobs, but especially with teachers. Grades are not a good barometer. There are so many other factors that influence those. Ditto for whether students are actually learning. It seems like a start would be to have a sympathetic, smart administrator who has also been a teacher actually observe teachers in the classroom - a lot. This administrator should also know the students well. Maybe a teacher has catalyzed a change in a certain student's life, but that transformation has yet to reach the student's grades. The administrator should know that.
    But my solution has a lot of problems. It depends on there being the same administrator for several years, and on the administrator having a good relationship with the teachers and students. And then there's the problem of how you standardize all this and turn it into a compensation system that will work for a whole province, state or country.
    Yes, tricky.


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