Five Thoughts on Phase 2

This blog post has had a few false starts. I’ve tried to frame it cleverly, to make it an amusing read. But know what? There’s nothing amusing about this.

So, here you go: some thoughts on the escalating job action.

1. I hate going on strike.

As in the complete opposite of love. Because you know what I love? Going to work. Teaching. Having kids leave my room knowing more than they did when they entered, becoming better people by expanding their minds. That’s what I love.

2. I will go on strike.

And I’ll be on the lines. And I’ll be part of the union of teachers.

Because the alternative is supporting a government who thinks that they’re above the law. And I refuse to teach that the government can do whatever it wants.

3. We’re re-living history.

According to Socials 8, 9, 10, and 11, workers’ rights used to be stomped on. But they aren’t anymore. We’ve moved on from there. Democracy was established. We formed guilds and unions. Laissez-faire business policies were changed. Worker safety and working conditions improved. Collective bargaining is enshrined in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Only all of these things that were apparently gained throughout history – the very history the provincial curriculum mandates that we teach – aren’t history at all. They’re happening right now. To the people teaching it.

4. This concerns you.

All of you. Even if you never, ever plan on having kids. Because I’m not just fighting for students. I’m fighting for the future of our province. I’m educating your future employees and co-workers. And they’re getting a raw deal. Oh, and guess who gets to keep teaching them once they’re done with formal education? Yep. You.

5. Stop being passive.

Have you been reading some of the shit that the Internet Trolls have been flinging around? It’s disrespectful as hell. It’s insulting. And, honestly? It’s hurtful.

But I refuse to believe that everyone can be so hateful. So indifferent to democracy. So apathetic to the rule of law and the future of BC.

So, have you written a letter? Sent a Tweet? Updated your status? Given a teacher a hug?

No? Get on it. I would love to avoid a walkout.

Wouldn’t you?

12 thoughts on “Five Thoughts on Phase 2

  1. Nancy Knickerbocker

    Thanks for this column. Tremendous heart and commitment, strong tight writing, powerful point of view A great read!

  2. Regina Day

    I am a proud retired teacher. I came to this country as an immigrant and I believe that much of what I achieved is due to the dedication of caring teachers. My education provided me with opportunities. I started school with no English language and ended up teaching English. I came from a country that was ruled by a dictator and ended up teaching Social Studies and encouraging discussion and examination of democracy. I am a woman who had a career and was paid equal to my men colleagues. I am proud to live in Canada but I can not be complacent and let my democratic rights and those of my fellow citizens be diminished by governments who want to further agendas that hurt my fellow citizens both provincially and federally. Let us speak up for the honour of our profession and the rights guaranteed by our citizenship.

  3. Nicole J ( @nico1e)

    Watching USA Teachers, Parents and Students struggle against insufficient public funding for their public schools has doubled my resolve not to give up. But ugh. This sucks. I feel nauseas about not being able to pay my rent and needing to ask my parents for help, but even more nauseas thinking about what would happen if we didn’t act now.

    Things would just continue to be status quo, and I refused to accept that $1000 less per-pupil funding than the average Canadian Student should be status quo for BC schools. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and do what is tough. Because the alternatives are unacceptable. Schools need libraries and Librarians for those libraries. My heart dropped when I heard that Coquitlam won’t have any librarians next year! Teachers need math resources, manageable workloads, time to prepare for students within their workday. Parents in one neighbourhood have time to fundraise and money to donate, so their kids get field trips and new playgrounds and books and computers, whereas parents in another neighbourhood don’t have time or money because they’re struggling to get by.

    The purpose of public health, public schools, public anything is for it to be equitable. This imbalance between neighbourhoods of haves and have-nots that depend on charity is appalling. I could work in a brand-new school with books and computers and still feel gutted that a colleague teaches further North without enough books for her students or a heated classroom or old and broken gym/science/insert-subject-here- equipment.

    Public Education isn’t charity. It’s an investment that requires long-term support. Longer support than a four-year political term.

    I’m so glad you wrote this blog, Ashley! Action is vitally important. This is a situation where anyone who cares about society and social justice and democracy needs to dig deep and DO SOMETHING.

  4. Dave

    Why are there so many teachers out there looking for work if the conditions are so bad? Too much supply and the worth is affected. Get a different job and there will be 10 waiting to fill your spot.

  5. jody

    to think that every single dwelling and commercial property pays a school levy on their property taxes. Where I am in Northern BC that Levy is higher than the hospital levy. In our area alone millions are paid in school levvys on these property taxes. If you account for every school levy paid in the province of BC it would add up to more than the cost to provide education to the children by the teachers. Where is all this money going? The government will tell you operating expenses and programs. I call bullshit! The programs are being cut and the schools are not in perfect condition. When they do give BCTF and CUPE their wage increases they don’t give increases in operating expense budgets and so the schools pull the funding from the kids. The government needs to be less focused on chainging liquor laws and LNG pipelines and be more concerned about providing a fair education to our children. The future of this province. When an immigrant goes on the government website to look at immigrating to Canada there is a part where it says send your kids to school. School is free to all citizens in Canada. Access to education is provided to every child. Here is the link:
    So not only are we paying unnecessary fees to send our kids to school, immigrants are being lied to before they even get here.

  6. Ashley D. MacKenzie Post author

    Hi Dave,

    I’m not sure if you had a chance to look around my blog at all, but if you have, you may have noticed that I’m actually a new(er) teacher. This is a career change for me after many years of private sector work. And yes, many of my peers from my B.Ed. program are not currently employed as teachers because they’re unable to find work. There’s a huge disconnect between the number of teacher education students that the universities admit and the available jobs in this province. So, yes, there are a number of people who would love to teach, and I recognize that I’m lucky for getting to do so.

    However, this comment does seem a little bit out of place based on the factors that I cited in the above blog post. Working conditions aren’t my main concern. Democracy and the rule of law are, as I reference in points 2 and 3 of the above post.

    I love my job. I adore my students. I want the best for them. And I don’t know what’s better for them than providing them with opportunities under a democratic system.

    I would hope that any of those ten people in line for my job would feel the same way, too.

  7. Suzanne

    Yes!!! I’m not a teacher, I’m a parent and I care about the Province I choose to live in. I’ve called our MLA, emailed our MLA, emailed our Principal, followed up with a phone call to our Principal and emailed the Superintendent AND changed my Facebook status 3 times. I hope everyone else does to.

  8. Ashley D. MacKenzie Post author

    Thank you, Suzanne! It’s a morale boost just knowing that there are parents out there who’re doing whatever they can.

  9. Lucie

    Well said and glad to read a teachers perspective. I have stated on Facebook as well as Twitter and the media my feelings on the job action. The teachers have my full support against a government who rules the province by bullying- the exact same thing that Christy Clark wore a pink shirt for. She needs a long hard look in a mirror yo see what a hypocrite looks like. SHAME ON YOU!!