Thursday, January 3, 2013

An Open Letter To Premier McGuinty and Minister Broten

I have been a secondary school teacher in Ontario for twelve years. During my years as a teacher I have been extremely generous with my time. I have contributed countless hours to coaching, student government and numerous other extra curricular activities. I have done so not as a sense of duty or obligation but because I enjoyed it. In addition to extra curricular activities I have spent many hours helping students with their math work. Over the years I have made myself available for extra help in the morning before school, at lunch, during my preparation period, after school and even in the evening via electronic communication. I have done so out of the goodness of my own heart. It was something I really enjoyed doing and it was extremely beneficial to many students.

With today's  announcement of contracts that are to be imposed my passion for teaching has disappeared. From this day forward my career is just a job. I will do my job to the letter of the law; nothing more, nothing less. On the one hand this saddens me a great deal. I find it very difficult to give up something that I have devoted so much time to over the years. However, I can no longer justify the time commitment.  I guess you could say my good will vanished when my collective bargaining rights were taken away. On the other hand I am excited to spend more time with my own children and to seek out volunteer opportunities within my community.

I will not return to doing 'the extras' until I am working under a FREELY negotiated contract. I imagine that others will likely do the same.

72 comments:

  1. Your students must be so proud of you if they read this.

    Your stand is basically 'things didn't go my way, so I'm taking my ball and going home'.

    I understand you're pissed at Bill 115, but over the last 10 years under the same Liberal government you've done a great deal better that 80% of people not working a government job. Please try to see the big picture…and please don’t punish your students that obviously need the help.

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    1. This is not a punishment dear. It is necessary. I would like to state that as a teacher, I spend copious amounts of my spare time trying to figure out how to integrate technology into my lessons and assignments with my students. This is to ensure the curriculum is interesting and meaningful to them and at the same time, they gain some life skills with technology (which is not in the curriculum by the way). I do not have the money or time to take tech courses and my Board does not pay for the professional development I need in the area of technology.I do believe it is time for all us to rethink extra-curricular activities as the domain of teachers. We all know that extra-curricular activities (in private / public) impact student achievement because it diverts them from boredom and helps them find their talents. I do believe that extra-curricular (sports and clubs) can be administered in partnership between Municipalities and the Ministry of Child and Youth Services and Education. My time as a teacher would be better served helping students with the curriculum and technology than sports...I do not get training in coaching, nor do I get training in blogging...but I'm supposed to do both in my job. I need to chose which is more important with the times and with my time...I chose technology. So I maintain the spirit of my professional development, outside the school day, and make it meaningful and relevant to me and my students.

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    2. I'm not taking my ball and going home. The rules of the game have changed. I have decided to play by the rules.

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    3. ....play by the rules and take my $80,000 and go home for July and Aug.

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    4. Yeah you sound like you're informed....dick

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    5. This is an old argument. Teachers have the summer off and earn $80,000. Please let me clarify, the teachers who are at the top of the grid have 10 years teaching experience as well as a variety of advance qualifications that they have taken (university courses and programs) at their own expense. I know teachers who have not been able to attend those courses for a variety of reasons. This doesn't mean that they haven't been furthering their education: taking courses to keep their tech licenses up to date, learning new technology for the classroom, classroom management courses, etc.

      Before you respond that you don't know what it's like in the real world, I left the corporate world to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher. While in the corporate world, I attended workshops, courses and trade shows at the expense of my employers. My trade journal subscriptions were kept up to date so that I could remain abreast with current trends that could benefit our clients. My desk was full of supplies so that I could do my job. I didn't think twice when new furniture was ordered for me or when I was told to expense my lunch. I took lieu days after pulling long nights sometimes. Has our economy taken a hit and are taxpayers angry at the amount of waste? Absolutely, as am I, after all I am one of those taxpayers too. Have teachers taken a it with each budget as other people have over the past 10 years? Yes, I seen my responsibilities increase with my benifits decrease. While this has happened, I have also increased the amount of money I personally spend on my classroom as the taxpayers can't afford it and I want to offer the best program for my students. We will continue to offer extra help when we can, but we are not required to run clubs and teams--that's a personal choice. The way that this government conducted this campaign was brilliant from a PR standpoint, but so underhanded that it reminds when corporations have had successful bankruptcies and plant closures.

      As for extra curricular programs, in the states you're paid to run clubs and teams as these things run outside of the school day and teaching. I just read over 40 different job postings including for an assistant wrestling coach.

      Now, back to summers off--I've been teaching for 16 years. I have only had 2 summers when I wasn't attending university and I spent that time developing curriculum with colleagues at a "summer camp" that I paid to attend.

      What scares me the most about bill 115. Is that it makes it illegal for me to challenge my contract in court. That is a scary precedent. If the government wants, it can say that teachers have to work for 10 cents on the dollar or take part of our pension and devalue it for the same amount and I have no recourse in the matter. Oh, wait, they did do that to my pension. If they believe in their cutbacks, why didn't they resend the 50% raise they gave themselves or that huge buyout back they're going to receive in a few weeks?

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  2. It's sad you see those things as 'the extras' that you can take away from students as you please... just goes to show you were doing them for the wrong reason in the first place. Are we supposed to be so impressed with your incredible altruism because you coached a sports team and so sad that you're having a temper tantrum now? And hey, if you cared so much about negotiations, why don't you talk to your union who refused to negotiate when they had the chance? Or do you just believe all their propaganda?

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    1. Anonymous, it is you that has believed all the propaganda. The teachers are protesting Bill 115 because they were never given the opportunity to negotiate. That's the bottom line. Right from the beginning they were told to accept what was being offered or a contract would be imposed. It makes me sad that extracurricular activities will probably continue to be on hold, but I am so grateful to teachers for taking a stand and teaching my kids that by standing together you can fight a bully, no matter their size!

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    2. No-one likes to have bargaining rights removed. No-one. But I believe the unions also removed your rights by leaving the bargaining table after one hour (ETFO) and 2 weeks (OSSTF). Many teachers have blindly followed the over-the-top rhetoric of a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately philosophy. The gov't lost 50% of it's taxable business revenue and since teachers are public employees this means in good times, you benefit; in bad you don't. You didn't do all those 'extras' because you are a saint; you did them because you know that teaching is not a 9-3 job. It is an extraordinary profession for extra-ordinary people. I hope you remember that after this passes. Those students you love deserve it.

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    3. Nancy, just to clarify, I think ETFO left after twenty minutes because they were told under no circumstances would there be a negotiation. I think OSSTF stayed longer because they couldn't believe that the offer was take what we are offering or it will be imposed. They left when they finally realized there would be no negotiations. As far as the poor government losing taxable revenue? The teachers have said from the beginning they were fine with pay freezes, I just don't get why there is not rioting in the streets when the government gave $50,000-$80,000 bonuses to MPP 's last summer, gave Dalton $340,000 severance pay when he quit being our Premier ( what other job, besides a Dictator or a CEO do you get a severance pay when you quit before your contract is up?) and forgives Billions of dollars from delinquent companies? I think the students deserve to know that teachers will fight for democracy when it is being threatened.

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    4. Nancy - Even with my taking a pause, my job is still not a 9-3. Until McGuinty Mondays and legal strike action, I put in 9 hours a day WITHOUT volunteering my time for extra-curriculars fro 8 am - 5 p.m with a 40 minute lunch - not an hour as many believe. This is the first year in 10 that I have actually taken the full 40 minutes and I have only done that 2 times since September. As a teacher who typically organizes the holiday concert and didn't this year, I was shocked at how much time I had for my own family. I do love my students but when my students call me lazy or that I am not doing enough for them, I find it hard to continue to use my own time for them. This year, I volunteered at Christmas Cheer instead of the holiday concert and the feeling that I had 10 years ago was restored. Maybe teachers need to reevaluate our extras and focus them on what we really love, not what we feel pressured by parents and administrators to do. My pause will continue.

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    5. I am currently a member of OECTA and formerly an ETFO member. I was proud of the stand ETFO took and I agree whole-heartedly that the imposed contracts are wrong. Those that don't teach, or that are not a part of education, may not get the extra commitments that we take on. I invite them to try teaching if they think it is such an easy career.

      I am an entrepeneur as well, and have worked in business the first half of my life. The workload is greater with teaching and the financial gains are less, however the job is much more fulfilling.

      For those that casually agree with these imposed contracts, imagine that you're employer decided to rip through your contract, stripping it of key parts. I'm sure you would change your tune and say how wrong this is. Then imagine you offered alternate cost saving measures and your boss just said tough luck! Deal with it. Then you would not be quite so understanding. Once one starts looking into the implications of Bill 115 it is quite scary! Hopefully people look at the whole picture before taking sides.

      Bill 115 is wrong and good for those that have stood up to fight against it!

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    6. Kim-- there were no MP pay raises.

      The teachers NEVER said from the beginning they were fine with the pay freezes. They are now claiming that's what they said, but they were absolutely NOT.

      Other anonymous-- I'm sorry you found out this year that you don't like doing the school Christmas concert. What does this have to do with anything?

      Last anonymous-- You were proud that your union refused to bargain and negotiate, but you're angry at the government for later taking away negotiations? Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Also, there's no point in acting like your opponents are "those who don't teach". There are plenty who teach and who are actually educating themselves on the issue and realize the unions have fucked up.

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    7. Nancy, ETFO was not under any obligation to negotiate one second with the government. The school boards are the employers--not the government. ETFO spent many hours, days, and weeks negotiating with the boards. However, due to the passage of Bill 115, ETFO and the school boards could not arrive at any agreement.

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    8. Good to see that someone has actually spoken what some are thinking - that unions have "f..... up". They are responsible for many good things for all members of the public sector, but right now, ETFO is a bully. Teachers are right in the middle of the unions and the government - no democracy on either side. We are threatened if we do not comply with our union, told that "that's what you signed up for" - if it's not about money, then why take our $500 day if we don't comply? I signed up to be a teacher, in the classroom doing whatever needs to be done to help kids learn. Why doesn't the union focus on all the things not going well in our school system - like ridiculous PD days for teachers, teachers not doing their jobs or attacks agains teachers? Those are problems too.

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    9. "Why doesn't the union focus on all the things not going well in our school system - like ridiculous PD days for teachers, teachers not doing their jobs or attacks agains teachers? Those are problems too."

      EXACTLY. Where are these teachers bemoaning the state of their profession when the unions are doing things that are counter-productive to education, students' needs, and teachers' (especially new teachers!) rights? I'm not saying that wages, sick days, etc., are not important... but as part of education/school systems, teachers' unions have a unique role, and it's not just to get teachers the cushiest deals. It's about realizing their actions impact the welfare of students, parents, and communities. This is a unique "job", and there's more to it than just getting the best wage and all the sick days you want.

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    10. 1. Why were other unions able to negotiate agreements? Why do teachers accept everything their union says and nothing their govt says?
      2. MPP's didn't get bonuses AND they no longer get pensions. In fact, their salaries have been frozen for the past 4 years.
      3. I can't comment on the premier's severance pay because I don't know if this is another error but most taxpayers would find it hard to condone $40,000 in bankable sick days - esp after you were paid for the day by working.
      4. Freezing pay for two years, a couple days unpaid leave, and no bankable sick days is not 'stripping' your contract. Didn't you get 22- 25% raise in the past 9 years?
      5. Skinny Dipper - Boards negotiate based on Ministry guidelines since the latter is the payor. You are sucking and blowing at the same time since you didn't mind the gov't negotiating contracts you LIKED.
      5. I CLEARLY said teaching is NOT a 9-3 job. It is a profession undertaken, for the most part, by people who give of themselves in ways no-one can imagine. They deserve all good things. But I do expect them to behave in ways they would demand from their students - rational thought, thorough investigation, no histrionics.
      I took my children to walk the picket line with you when Harris was trying to strip education of everything needed. I joined groups protesting the attempted decimation of the system. I have worked tirelessly for the past 24 years to support the education system. But after 9 years of labour peace and millions poured into our schools, I am feeling betrayed.

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    11. I am an elementary teacher and should not have to explain my reasoning to anyone for wanting a decent salary after and good benefits after 5 years of university (6 if you include the year I did not get into Teachers College because my marks had to be high A's). Teachers may have some perks that other professionals don't have, and other professionals have perks that teachers don't have. Quite frankly, I am tired of being under the microscope by people like you who feel you can judge me, what I do, how much $ I make, what my benefits are, my time off, etc, etc... You sound like a jealous child. Until you walk a day in my shoes, you really have no business of saying anything at all.
      BTW...my job may appear easy to people like you because I am good at it. I am VERY GOOD at what I do and I LOVE what I do. I am also proud to be a teacher. I have taught thousands of students who have come back years later thanking me. I manage behaviour, I love my students, my students respect me, and I TEACH them...not just how to write, read, and solve math problems, but also how to be a good person with integrity. If you have a child in the system, or have ever had a child in the system, you should feel thankful for that.

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    12. Um, Anonymous, you work in the public sector, so yeah, the public gets to judge/discuss what you are being paid. That's why when you were being underpaid/undervalued under the Conservative government, non-teachers stood up for you and demanded change. And you DO get a decent salary and good benefits. No one is arguing you shouldn't.

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    13. Just to clarify ... I never said MPPs got raises-they got their $50,000-$80,000 "performance bonuses " over the summer regardless of how many days they showed up-they apparently do not have a cap on sick days!

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    14. Kim-- What are you talking about? There were no MPP "performance bonuses".

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    15. Kim - MPP bonuses?? 0/10 on this assignment. Do better research.
      Anonymous - The government pays your salary. Government revenue comes from taxation revenues. Taxation revenues come from all those people who work at jobs you seem to deem inferior to yours. THAT is why people other than teachers get to comment. Similar to teacher comments about politicians salaries.
      And who the heck said you had an easy job? Certainly not me.

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    16. To Anonymous...You misread...I do enjoy organizing holiday concerts but with pausing my extras, I sure did enjoy spending time with my own family for the first time in 10 years. I have also learned the valuable lesson that my family, my health and my mental well-being is more important than any of my students. I was surprised to find how well I felt in the last 4 months, even with an ailing parent. I know many teachers who will continue to question how much more of their own time they give. It took Bill 115 to find out how stretched we were and how much more was expected. I guess I should thank Ms. Broten for giving me my life balance back.

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    17. Anonymous, I'm not taking away the extras. I'm simply choosing not to do them anymore. I have no intentions of stopping anyone else from doing them. I'm also not sure what you mean when you say that I was doing things for the wrong reason. What wrong reason could there be for staying after class to help a student?

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  3. Hide much anonymous? Good to see you drank the Kool-Aid.

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  4. Great argument Lisa. BTW, I'm Anon 1.

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  5. How about putting your money where your mouth is, Anon, and volunteer at your local high school or post secondary. I'm sure that, if you are qualified and caring enough, you would probably be more than welcome to help out the kids. Or is that just too elitist for you?.

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    1. Anonymous.

      What do you do for a living? I am curious? Did you need to study in a tertiary educational environment (University and college degrees are required for teaching in the Province of Ontario) for a minimum average of 5 years? Did you then take additional college courses (on average 3 or more, costing $2000 or more for the combination honors courses, never redeemed by the government) to land your full-time job, that you probably spent, on average 4 years to get, while supply teaching or working in contract roles? Is there imminent threat in your line of work i.e. that you could be verbal or physically abused, sworn at, life threatened, family threatened? Do you sit down in your job, get lunch in your job? Do you take your job with you every where you go because even when a kid threatens your life and your families well-being, you CARE ABOUT THESE KIDS because you know they NEED HELP and nobody (not ed. management clearly, and not the public) gives a damn except you (and sometimes the kids parent, but not always). Just wondering.

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  6. Well, I work during those hours at job that doesn't give the same 25-27% raises you teachers got since 2004.

    Secondly and more importantly that two people like us taking shots over the internet, why didn't your group negotiate like the other boards, and how are you putting students first by taking away the best part of high school?

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    1. For your information, other unions did negotiate but they also have a clause that is saying that they want the same deal as the one that ETFO and OSSTF will get. Some unions are afraid to stand up. Maybe because they are afraid to lose extra fundings (language). Some unions are just waiting for ETFO and OSSTF to do the job that they are afraid to do. Those groups did the same thing 4 years ago. If the government's deal was so good, why did they include a clause???

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    2. 24% I think u r misinformed. The contract we signed was for approximately 4%.

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    3. Is 2.5% increase per year an excessive amount to raise salary? Just wondering. Sounds like an acceptable cost of living increase to me. Definitely sounds high when you lump it altogether at once. Writers, when discussing remuneration, please publish your percentage in wage increase over the past ten years for comparison. Also include the cost of professional development that you have paid for in those ten years. Oh, and kindly include the amount of out of pocket money you spent to buy supplies for your employer or customers as well. Please tell us how much you make in vacation pay. Teachers do not get vacation pay. That was bargained previously in their sick day arrangement which is now null and void. Keep in mind that contracts are not yearly as well.

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  7. Great letter...if any of you above had to give up hours away from your own family to do the extras (which they are), you would understand. My husband and I are both teachers and devote a TON of time coaching and giving extra help. The past 2 years my husband has taken his team on a number of weekend tournaments and has gone away on overnight trips as well. We do it because we love doing it and we love to see the kids being active, being part of a team, and because ultimately they love it. BUT, this is not part of our job description so it is extra for us. A lot of the time I don't even get a lunch break because I am at band practice or giving extra help or work periods in my classroom to ensure my students succeed. I don't get paid extra for these things and it has become VERY apparent that the public has come to expect those things from us. They do not realize that we volunteer to do those things. A lot of teachers do not volunteer so it leaves all the coaching and clubs to those that will, which makes for a very heavy work load. Also, we can't forget about the marking and prep time that goes into a teacher's job. I spend at least 2 hours after school getting ready for the next day, prepping and marking tests and assignments that parents and students expect back within a couple of days. Teachers have families and lives outside their job and the public need to see that and needs to start appreciating what we do for our students.

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    1. Exactly. Well said. Although I love my job and students...my family and own children come first. Many people don't realize nor appreciate the many sacrifices most teachers make for our students-their kids.

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  8. We should all working to improve our lot. Don't shoot me because I teach. It is a career that anyone can choose. You have free will and rights. Btw I don't have all mine and that shouldn't be okay for anyone. This govt is trying to deny a group of citizens fundamental entitlements. And you feel that is okay because you earn less and its unfair or you make more and want to keep the masses down...
    Brian Farrugia

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    1. How true, we all have rights and freedoms, and bill 115 is trying to strip that very right from us...,.Who will be next???? Hope it is not one of the people criticizing us for being educators

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    2. Well said. I am in total agreement with your thoughts.

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  9. Plain and simple...our democratic government has changed itself to a dictatorship!

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    1. ...and so has the union!

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    2. How so? 92% of teachers voted in favor of the union's proposals! That's democracy at its best!

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    3. Not when you are forced to strike and threatened to have your money taken from you. 92% isn't 100%, and I know a lot of people voted in favor of the union's proposal because they had no choice - that's not democracy, nor is it solidarity! In some schools, you have to watch what you say and do because if you do not comply, someone will report you. How is that democracy at its best? Yes, something needs to be done, but the adults seem to have left the building for this issue!

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  10. Dave,
    It saddens me that this is your response to the ongoing labour strife. Not because I don't get it, because I do. I understand and fully appreciate your frustration. As a teacher in the same situation, I too, share many of those same frustrations. However, not doing the "extras" is not a solution.
    I, like yourself, give of my time to sports teams and clubs, school dances and in all those ways that often help define and colour the high school experience. This hasn't changed. In fact, I'd suggest we need it now more than ever. We need to continue to give rich high school experiences to every kid that walks through the doors. And we both know that much of school is about building relationships with people, teachers and students, alike. Often these "extras" are the connective tissue for many students. What does removing them accomplish?
    We are growing an increasingly cynical and disaffected young population and our removal of "extras" will go towards building it further. Not because they "deserve" it or they are "entitled" to it, but rather it disrupts an authentic opportunity to connect with an adult outside of a typical teacher/student relationship. This connection can often become a lifeline for many students. In fact, studies have shown that students who participate in the 'extras' often are more successful and feel safer.
    If we are to model good citizenship for our students, we should actively put pressure on our government, no doubt about it. However, the removal of 'extras' applies the pressure through students, rather than directly on the government.
    I am a believer that a negative act never builds community. It only destroys one. Instead, acting positively towards our students and giving them the world-class education (inside and outside the classroom) builds a long-term population that understands the eternal value of teachers.
    This is all to say, I hope you'll reconsider. Your students look to you for visions of leadership, teamwork, and above all, an opportunity to build community. I know, by being a regular reader of your blog, that you do this inside your classroom, however, we both know that for many students that's not where they see it the most.
    Respectfully,
    Scott Kemp

    P.S. I have put my name to this comment, because I believe that true democracy exists where people feel entitled and empowered to disagree and debate.

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    1. Thanks for the respectful reply Scott.

      I get where you're coming from. In most situations I encounter I try to find the positive solution. However, in this situation I believe that we have lost too much. By not standing up for ourselves now we're only inviting more of the same a year from now when negotiations begin again.

      I realize that my students may look to me for a number of things but I am not the only one in the community that can provide these things. I am more than happy to point them to opportunities that exist outside the school. I know that this is something different for many students but I think it's a change for students to grow and a chance for them to show their independence.

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    2. Scott you are the kind of guy who would snuggle up to your new 350 pound cellmate rather than fight for your survival. I guess on the positive side you'd have somebody to keep you warm at night but oh the snoring!

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    3. The government has fundamentally changed my working conditions without my say. This has now made my decision quite easy as to whether I should spend my time coaching kids after school or spending my precious time with my own children and coaching them. I will no longer be taken for granted to take care of other people's children for free on my own time. Get used to the fact that extra-curriculars will be gone for a long time, if not for good.

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  11. Dave, I couldn't agree more with your position. I am disheartened by the government move and will be taking a permanent pause until our democratic rights are reinstated, and taking my volunteering elsewhere.

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  12. Many people do not understand ALL that is involved in education. Society has come to accept these freebies...and loves to bash teachers when they aren't freely given. I respect the secondary teacher's comments, points pf view and support his decisions.

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  13. It's interesting that the government has diverted attention away from their own fiscal mismanagement onto a group of professionals that some members of the public love to hate.
    Eroding democratic rights is what is ultimately happening here. It's about the rights of teachers to collectively bargain with their employers, the boards of education NOT the government. Yes, the government funds education, but they don't have the right to intrude into collective bargaining. Teachers are just the beginning...all unionized workers in Ontario are threatened by this action.
    If the government thinks that by imposing contracts they are going to create peace in schools, they are deluding themselves.

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  14. To Anonymous - the other boards did not negotiate - they were told that their funding was going to be taken away (Catholic and French systems) if they didn't take the deal the government was offering. So "negotiating" under duress is not really a negotiation. And both unions also included a "me too" clause which meant that if ETFO or OSSTF got a better deal, they would reap the benefits of those to. So please do not use that as defense of what is going on.

    And really it comes down to a numbers game - the government is using Bill 115 to impose contracts that would save 2 BILLION in costs. However, they have also not collected almost the same amount in OWED taxes from businesses. So they are TAKING from education because it is an easy target and gets everyone's opinions and emotions fired up, meanwhile they are shrouding the real reasoning behind it (not to mention circumventing all of the money that they squandered - eHealth, ORNGE, Gas plants, 21 Million in "gifts," the Premier's own $350 000 severance pay - how do you severance if you QUIT?).

    TAKING 2 BILLION from the education sector is going to hurt students. The Peel board alone is losing 6 million in funding. If the teachers agreed to a pay freeze, agreed to grid reworkings and agreed to many monetary issues back in Feb. 2012, then they should be balancing the education costs, yet are still TAKING, but now are taking directly from the funds that will be used on students.

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    1. I totally agree with you.

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    2. Thank you! :)

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    3. Do you have a link with the source saying that funding would be pulled from Catholic schools?

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  15. As an elementary teacher, I have been "taking a pause" since September. I have missed out on many of the extra-curricular activities that I enjoy but I have also been made to feel guilty by many parents that they "have to pay for a babysitter" after school. I am not and never have been a parent's babysitter. In past years, I have endured parents yelling at me - not because they were invested in their child's learning but because I chose to remove a student from a team after he told his teacher to fuck off. I have had parents throw things at me during games. This, I did not enjoy nor do I miss it. I work between two schools with over 400 students and not one parent came forward to coach, raise funds, chaperone or volunteer to run breakfast/snack programs. Over 50 % of our families are on either unemployment or on assistance. On the other hand, my husband and I have spent more time together, have a stronger relationship and my teaching is tighter. My job is to teach. Yes, I am paid well but I also made the choice to go to university and to become a professional. I did this all on my own through student loans and working full-time. I will continue to take a pause until my rights as a Canadian in a democratic society are restored. By living in a democratic society, I can do this and with our current government having squashed collective rights, it is one of my only ways to show my discontent. For those who believe that their children are missing out, you are more than welcome to step to the plate. Until then, I will "just teach" and will put my efforts into other areas of my community.

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    1. I completely agree! I have done so much in my school over the past 10 years. My students, my parents and the community have noticed the efforts. They are upset at the removal of my services but now understand how much of my OWN time I put into THEIR kids. With my taking a pause, I have time for my own two children. I have coached their soccer, became their Scout Leader and have more time for my OWN family. And the general public (who do not know me) is going to be upset at how I spend my UNPAID TIME? If there is a problem with entitlement, it is NOT coming from the teachers.

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  16. ***UNBELIEVABLE!!!!*** We had our rights taken away, an unclear as of yet contract shoved down our throat that we didn't have any say in, and then she lies and says we basically wouldn't negotiate, all that we wanted was money, and that because we weren't doing extra cirricular activities (WHICH ARE VOLUNTARY) that we don't care about our students and we were creating an unstable environment!!! The nerve!!! We went to work and did our jobs every single day with this threat hanging over our heads except 1 single day of protest. In fact most of us held Christmas parties paid for by us personally for the students we DO CARE ABOUT pffft!!!
    We had already agreed to a 2 year wage freeze from the start!!!! They took away our bargaining power with that Bill so that we never had a fair shot at negotiating a fair collective agreement!!! Now they are repealing the Bill saying that we should go back to school, be happy, and continue to volunteer our time, energy, and (occasional money) to EXTRA cirricular activities because they are taking it back AFTER THE DAMAGE IS DONE????????????????I am so ANGRY AND INSULTED!!!!

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  17. Agree wholeheartedly with the author of this post. I will no longer volunteer at my school (2 sports seasons usually each year) until a new government is in place. Only through consistent pressure will this government be held accountable for bill 115.

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  18. As a retired teacher who had two daughters go through public schools I would like to say that there have been times in their schooling when an elementary or secondary school could not find a coach for a particular sports team. As a concerned PARENT I volunteered my time to coach these teams, just as I volunteered my time to coach houseleague or rep teams, as I have continued to do since I retired. All those people who feel that school teams or clubs or bands are so important should feel free to do likewise. Get a police check, study up on the activity, spend hours conducting practices and attending concerts or tournaments if you truly value these activities rather than sitting on the sidelines and make some connections with your own children.
    Bruce MacDonald

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  19. I'm retired now but I hear you!...and I support you totally. This is not the way to treat those who nurture the future citizens of our society. Stand up and be proud and true to your profession!

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  20. I can't think of one other professional job that is expected to stay after their paid hours to volunteer their time to help their clients/customers. Is there another profession that is required to take extra courses at their own expense?

    For years, teachers have devoted their OWN time to help their students but this IS NOT a requirement. The clubs and teams and expectations that have been put on teachers' plates have continued to grow year after year and teachers have continued to take it on, even though that means less time spent with their own families (I also have to pay a babysitter to watch my kids while I am coaching for free). However, people need to realize, this is not a requirement of our jobs. It is called EXTRAcurricular for a reason. We have done it for so long, that it has become an expectation and that needs to ratified and corrected.

    Yes, they were taken on because we (most of us) like to see our students enjoy coming to school, but we can also do that in the classroom in the hours that we are paid to be at our jobs. Yes, unfortunately, students are going to be the ones who lose out because the teachers are not offering extracurricular activities, but it is not our job to entertain and occupy the students' time outside of 9-3:30. That is the job of their parents!

    Instead of getting mad at teachers, recognize all that they have done on their own time and be appreciative of all they have done for your children and get mad at the right people...mad at the government who have made it hard to want to give more than you have to because they have taken away our rights as citizens. Hard to think of your job as more than that, a job where you are underappeciated and disrespected.

    The government has ignored us, as teachers, but maybe if the parents and students stand behind us and join in on our fight instead of fight against us, the government would be more likely to lend an ear. They don't care whether your kids get their extracurriculars back, they care about your votes and by making teachers look like the bad guys, they are gaining the support they need for the next election (and have lost from all teachers).

    Most teachers DO NOT WANT to penalize students by removing extracurriculars, we wouldn't do them if we didn't enjoy it, but what other choice have we been given? We haven't been given the support we need. We DON'T care about the money, stop listening to the propaganda. We need to make a stance and draw attention to the state of our government and the only way we can do that is to show people how much we go above and beyond what we are required to do and hope that they will stand with us.

    Put aside your personal opinion about teachers and how much money they make and how much time they get off. Please educate yourself about Bill 115 and the teachers obligatory duties in their jobs and ask yourself who really is the bad guy?

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    1. Well said Amy Harris

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    2. I think people feel that the extra curriculars are part of our teaching portfolio. It is what we do above and beyond our regular teaching assignment, to which we are to contribute 100% of our energy. So the extra curriculars come out of our own personal time and energy. So while teachers have decided to scale back on volunteering, it is so they can still ensure that they can continue to give 100% to their teaching and other necessary administrative tasks. That is where we don't scrimp and sacrifice, we usually take it from our own personal time. To have our personal sacrifices held up in such a way makes many of us very sad, and as a result, we are now valuing our personal time for what it truly is...personal time.

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  21. Has anyone commented on the fact that teachers are contracted and paid for 10 months of the year....not 12 months. We are contracted as professionals to educate children, YOUR children...notice the operative word ; EDUCATE....not babysit, entertain, tutor after school, coach, provide a shoulder to cry on, extra food in their bellies, mental health support, clothing, extra books and supplies out of our own pockets, put on shows, concerts, bake sales, fundraisers, weekend tournament supervision, end of the year trips to Ottawa ....the list is endless....again, we are hired/contracted to deliver and facilitate the success of every student in our class on an ACADEMIC level according to the Ministry of Education Curriculum. Looking at it from the 'public sector' perspective; is there anyone out there who volunteers their time in a public sector job to provide lunches for colleagues on a regular basis and out of their own pocket, do you clean your own office at the end of every day, do you wipe the snot of your co-worker after they have sneezed all over you, hug them and then with love and caring call their parents to let them know they're sick. Do you prepare your co-workers 'homework' to go home with him, do you take up your lunch hour daily with either supervising other co workers playing, helping them with their projects/work load, or developing new strategies for them to meet success and fulfill their needs. Yes, I am being sarcastic, however not exaggerated. In the 20 years I have taught, I have taught every grade from k - 8 and every facet of the curriculum. I have facilitated a choir at every school, done lunchtime concerts, taken choirs to competitions on my own time, Christmas concerts, plays, math clubs, afterschool homework clubs, volleyball, basketball, cross country, been on board committees, curriculum writing committees ( and that is small sample of the extras I have done)and can probably count on one hand how many times I have actually sat down and been able to eat and digest a full lunch (40mins)...oh...btw, thats not consecutive minutes. THESE events are NOT REQUIRED. This society has unfortunately become a society of entitlement. What are we coming to when we cannot see the value in not only the job being done, but the value in who a teacher is and the kind of impact teachers have on the children that will be taking care of us in our golden years. As teachers, we love to do the extra curricular stuff...it motivates, creates bonds, allows for emotional growth etc etc etc. Stop bickering and support the teachers who spend the bulk of a day with your child. We are fighting for our rights to do our job to the best of our ability and we deserve it. I do not make any apologies that I am a teacher and that I make a decent wage. I chose this profession on purpose because I knew I wanted to teach from the time I was 6 years old. I put the time, money and effort into going to school for many years to become a teacher. I deserve my wage and I deserve the right to fight for what is right in negotiating my contract, just like a public sector person would fight for their rights. Parents, please support our rights as we support you and your children every day in our classrooms. We are not punishing your children by refusing to do extra curricular activities, we are doing exactly what we are hired to do; EDUCATE your child. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child' and it seems to me as teachers we are being 'hung out to dry'. We are part of your village, support us, so together we can support OUR future.

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  22. thanks for sharing.

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  23. Dave,
    Thank you for your post. I agree wholeheartedly. I think the silver-lining in this situation for me, is a wake-up call to all the time and effort I (and most teachers) put into teaching our students, without any extra-curriculars. It's incredulous to me that extra-curriculars have come to be expected by some. There will always be disagreement and contention on the issue of continuing to "pause" or not, however if we continue to work as before, we are sending the message that we are okay with what has happened. And I am most definitely not okay what it.
    Most of the teachers I know, kill themselves, trying to do the best possible job at teaching their students. Teachers are not nit-pickers when it comes to the technicalities of what our job is or isn't. In doing this however, we have been taking advantage of, and taken for granted. Because of the nit-picking the government has done throughout this process, we have been forced to, as you say Dave, "play by the rules". Not one single teacher I know wants to do this, but we have been thrust into the political arena, and therefore must react. Also, in response to the "putting students in the middle" argument. I am proud of the example teachers are setting for our students. Our children are learning first-hand what democracy looks like in-action. As adults we teach by example in everything we do (sometimes a scary thought!). Despite the enormity of that responsibility, I will leave a legacy of empowerment, equity and action not of complacency and fear.

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  24. I am not a teacher and I don't pretend to know every aspect of what is involved in being a teacher; but I am a parent whose two children passed through elementary and secondary schools. I have met my fair share of teachers and never - ever - have I met one who wasn't proud of the work they do. And they should be. Lord knows it was challenging enough to deal with two children; I can't even imagine what dealing with 30 of them in a confined space - all day, every day - must be like. So it's hard for me to understand why some people are so quick to turn this discussion into a money issue and a question of what teachers do or do not deserve.

    Our children are our most valuable assets. When they reach the right age, which is earlier now than ever before, we send them into the world and place them, with trust, into the caring hands of teachers. If you are old enough, you will remember a time when there were few or even no extracurricular activities. School was reading, writing, and arithmetic. Today, society recognizes many more dimensions of what a child needs in order to learn, like: Has the child eaten? Is the child being mistreated at home? Does the child have a learning challenge? To name just a few. And I recognize that teachers have gradually, over time, taken on responsibility for their students' overall well-being - not just their education. Add to all of this that they are also VOLUNTEERING their time to organize and supervise extracurricular activities for these same children.

    To those of you so critical of teachers withdrawing their volunteer time, tell me: How much of your own time do you volunteer for your employer? How often does your employer "expect" you to support the people you do business with outside of your paid work hours? And when was the last time anyone gave you an earful for not volunteering anymore? Seriously, give your head a shake. And if you can't get your head around the serious nature of an "imposed agreement," at least try to remember who we're talking about and the important role teachers play in our society before you engage in hate mongering.

    The teachers have my full support - hands down! Stay strong.

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    1. Thank you for that. I truly hope there are more parents out there like you, rather than the opposite. We are trying to set an example for our students to not let others bully you and to stand up for your rights, and we hope that non-education people will be supportive of that, in spite of the media's messages and withdrawl of the "fun things" at school.

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  25. Hi everyone. I have been a teacher or 6 years, make 70k and had a 7 year career in the private sector. I am on contract right now for ten months and will not be collected a pay cheque for July and August because I am stuck on a low seniority layoff list because that asshole McGuinty wanted to implement full day kindergarten and not fund it correctly. I can tell you from working in three schools that there are teachers who work 9-3 and their are teachers who work 24-7. Like the private sector there are workers who do the bare minimum (and get by with minimal bonuses) and those who are slaves to the company and some times get thrown a bone. I find teaching rewarding and have coached and volunteered my time but not all the time. The reason I will not do so during this 2 year "imposed collective agreement" (hah!) is because I realize that if we don't punish the children of the voter then the parents won't get the message that the actions of this government are not ok. People must suffer and be affected before they care. It is human nature. Sorry about your kids but you voters reelected these corrupt Liberals. Learn from your mistake and pick the right government and maybe I'll volunteer for little Johnny. Again. How's that for bringing a private sector capitalist attitude to the debate?

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    1. I am not a teacher, nor could I ever be one. Despite the 'perks' that I have heard repeated over and over from some comments-summers off, weekends off, etc.. I do not have the patience that teachers require to deal with 20 plus children everyday. That being said there are also a lot of people who have chosen teaching as a career and maybe shouldn't have. Just like many careers, there are always people willing to give 100% to their jobs, and there are other ones who are only there to collect their paycheck.
      I have been following the news articles and comments concerning Bill 115, I have never felt the need to add to the discussion. Until now.
      I am a parent, a voter and a tax payer. You have no idea how offensive the last part of your statement was:

      "I realize that if we don't punish the children of the voter then the parents won't get the message that the actions of this government are not ok. People must suffer and be affected before they care. It is human nature. Sorry about your kids but you voters reelected these corrupt Liberals. Learn from your mistake and pick the right government and maybe I'll volunteer for little Johnny. Again. How's that for bringing a private sector capitalist attitude to the debate?"

      Over and over I have heard that the teachers have been doing this for the students and their future, now from you I am hearing that you need to 'punish' the children of the voters? Ridiculous.. I only hope that you are an exception, and that your opinion is not shared by the rest of your colleagues. As a voter, I didn't vote for Liberal, but yet my children should be punished because of the actions of the Liberal party? Also as far as the 'volunteering' of parents are concerned, I have looked into that with my local school board, because of an event being cancelled recently. I was told that there needs to be a certain amount of staff members present even with parental volunteers available. Yes I was going to volunteer my OWN time for my children and their schoolmates. There are some parents out there willing to do this and don't view it as a chore, or a hardship.. but rather as a way to be more involved in extracurricular activities. I am usually the first parent to be called to come into the school to go on field trips or bake for bake sales. I have even rearranged my work schedule last minute to accommodate such things. Because it does benefit MY children and I know that it is not mandatory for children to have these extracurricular activities, but if I can help in anyway I am happy to do so.
      Bullying is such a big issue in schools right now. I have had many conversations with my children about bullying. I am very sad to say that after reading your comments I feel that you are a bully. Punishing people to get what you feel you deserve. There are so many ways to get support, by informing and educating people instead of 'punishing' the children of those that may not understand what rights you are standing up for.
      That being said, since you have posted as anonymous, I do hope that you are not a teacher in my children's school!

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    2. I am a teacher and KNOW that the opinion of the poster above is not the one of the majority. I am a teacher, and have been for 10 years. As I have said in my other posts, we are sad that students are losing out on some of the "fun things" at school because we love doing them and making that connection outside of the classroom with our students; those that do extracurriculars do them because they care. We still care as much as ever, however, we need to stand up for our rights and not let the government bully us. We can't go on as normal because that would send the message that we are okay with what is happening. We hope that we are setting an example for our students by doing this and that their parents can explain it to them, if they don't understand. How can we teach anti-bullying and not to be a bystander if we can't do this for ourselves on a large scale? I am posting my name, because I have no problem standing up for what I have said and am proud to be setting an example to be a strong person.

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