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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 3, November/December 2005

Readers write

Retired teachers’ committee recognizes dedication

The BCRTA Committee for Excellence in Public Education recognizes the dedication, the commitment, and the personal and collective contribution that teachers in the K–12 education system of this province make to public education.

That dedication, commitment and contribution was never more evident than in the public stance of protest that those teachers made in response to the inequity of Bill 12–2005 Teachers’ Collective Agreement Act, and the government’s refusal to honour the traditional bargaining process.

Their concerted action ranks most favourably with some of the greatest forces for social change this province has seen.

In the days before the strike, and in the days after the strike, a visitor to our classrooms would have seen/will see, great teaching and learning taking place. That visitor would have seen teachers "at work" teaching.

Every system needs constant positive attention if it is to flourish. Lack of qualified support staff, over-crowded labs and classrooms, under-valued teachers, disgruntled parents, inadequate resourcing, and a system in conflict are not units of constant positive attention.

The civil protest of teachers reiterated that we do want our students in school, but we want them back in a teaching–learning partnership with teachers who feel valued, respected, and fairly rewarded. And in a teaching–learning partnership that is supported by the best possible working and learning conditions.

Great teachers do not only teach. They model respect. They demonstrate leadership. They reflect commitment to the "good society."

Our commendation to the teachers of this province for their efforts on our behalf.
Owen Corcoran
BCRTA Excellence in Public Education Committee chair

It’s the small things that give you hope

I was in the checkout line at the super market a couple of days after our return to work when I heard the lady behind me start in on her little girl, who would be about 6 or 7 years old. Nothing threatening was being said but it was obvious from exactly four apples, exactly four oranges, and several packets of no name macaroni and cheese that Mom was under a lot of pressure and was losing patience with her daughter who wanted to know why she couldn’t have a chocolate bar. Anyhow, mom finally said, "Go stand by the till," which put the little girl right beside me. I was fumbling with cards and groceries so I was a bit oblivious until I heard the girl talking and realized that she was reading out loud from my T-shirt. The shirt has a picture of a dog and says "Curiosity killed the cat but for awhile I was a suspect." I turned so the little girl could see clearly as she sounded out the words for her audience. When she finished all the adults around her congratulated her on a job well done as Mom beamed. Mom, now totally diverted from her financial burdens, said "And to think she has only been back to school a couple of days." And there you have it, pride in a bright child but thanks for the teacher who kindled the flame. Kids need us and parents appreciate us. It’s worth reminding ourselves of this even if the reminders are small.
Pat Dyer
New Westminster

My first AGM

It was an incredible experience for me to be one of the representatives from our local at the 2004 AGM. If a more democratic institution exists in our country, I don’t know what it is. There are so many thoughtful, caring, and intelligent people working on behalf of teachers and the students we care for.

If the Liberal government is bent on underfunding, destabilizing, and privatizing public service in our province then the BCTF may be one of the strongest voices to prevent the deterioration of the social fabric of the province. I support our Federation’s endeavor to oppose changes to working and learning conditions. Thanks for allowing me to participate.
Steven Carriere
Okanagan Skaha

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