No Attendance, No Voice

Have you been wondering why teachers have become so lazy all of a sudden that they can’t even bring down the attendance? Why they refuse to write report card comments? Why we have had our late starts stolen from us? Some of it might be teachers slacking off, but in the bigger scheme of things, they are fighting for freedom.

In short, teachers aren’t being payed enough for what they do and our government wants them to do even more for less money. It definitely seems like teachers have it easy: summer vacation, Christmas break, work ending at 3, but in reality they have it hard too. Now of course they don’t have as much work and stress as lawyers and doctors, but then again they get payed so much less. Teachers aren’t the only ones; so many people don’t earn nearly as much money as they should.

Take a moment to think about your own life. Most of us get up around 6 or 7, go to school, sit in class for numerous hours doing work, then get home at around 4 to 5. Then we usually spend a couple of hours doing our homework and only manage to get 1 to 2 hours of free time, if any. They work us like slaves and, of course, we complain. What’s so different for teachers? They get up even earlier, make lesson plans, teach 3 classes, get home late and mark. Of course they also have to write report card comments, go to staff and committee meetings, plan field trips and most of them run clubs and sports as well. Teachers work from dawn ’till dusk and yet they only get paid for 6 hours. That is plenty of reason to complain. And that’s what’s happening right now.

Teachers don’t often complain, but when they do they want to be heard. The board just isn’t listening. As we all know actions are more powerful than words, so that is what teachers are doing. All these little changes are actions of rebellion. Our teachers have finally put their feet down and demanded more respect and better treatment. They have started a limited job action to pressure the board to discuss working conditions.

The impact of this demonstration is greatest on students. Right now it may not seem like such a big deal, but it could get ugly. The school board has refused to come to an agreement after multiple negotiation sessions with representatives from the teacher’s union. If they continue to categorize this situation as low on their priority list, as they have been doing, teachers might have to take more action. This is a recurring problem across all school boards, both secondary and elementary.

You might have already experienced more serious action. A couple of years ago, elementary teachers stopped offering extra-curricular activities and field trips. Last year, High school teachers in Durham and Peel went on strike and for some, school was out for nearly a month as the teachers tried to negotiate an agreement. All of these actions are possible to be imposed on us; soon no late starts might be the least of our issues.

Teachers are being treated unfairly and no one even notices. They only way we can get people to care about our problems is if we come together to tell them. One voice is easily overheard, but 200 voices are strong enough to make someone go deaf. We need to take action. The more people who know what’s going on, the stronger our voices will be. So come on Richview, let’s be there for our teachers, because they have always been there for us.

By Alexandra T I