||Volume 17, Number 7, May/June 2005
Israel’s wall not BCTF business
I am dismayed and disturbed that the BCTF motion regarding matters before the Israeli Court is even being considered at the AGM. I do not believe this to be our concern. I thought matters relating to education in B.C. schools were our mandate. Let the courts in a democratic country continue to rule on matters before them. This unbalanced condemnation of parts of the defensive wall is dangerous. By not also condemning the snipers, suicide bombers, and "drive them into the sea" mentality, a side is being chosen. You can be sure that a condemnation by the BCTF would be used by those who would deny Israel’s very right to exist. I cannot believe I am using such an old phrase. This debate is appropriate and helpful only if the participants are well informed. When a huge labour movement is influenced by a small group and points a finger at one people I get a little nervous. (Something to do with high school history.)
With all the problems in the world, why has Israel been singled out?
I feel threatened by the attitude permeating this resolution. Let me explain. As an ESL teacher at a Vancouver Elementary School, I would explain the wonders of Christmas to the school’s newest arrivals. When the students learn that I don’t have a Christmas tree, little shoulders relax and it will be volunteered that most of their families won’t either. When students learn that I am Jewish, the Muslim students damn near get whiplash moving away from me. They remain silent, staring at me. You can almost see the wheels turning as they observe our group carrying on with the lesson. At some point, they will reaffirm that I am a Jew and keep their distance as they leave. Slowly, over the year, the walls start to crumble, to be replaced with tolerance, respect, and sometimes affection.
These are the walls the BCTF should be concerned with.
Oral histories of women
Participants are needed for a doctoral study on the oral histories of women who taught in Vancouver or Toronto public secondary schools for at least three years between 1945 and 1960. The study seeks to examine the role of secondary school women teachers in the formation of educational democracy, i.e., issues of equality through post-WWII Canadian education. Each interview will take one to two hours at a location and time you choose.
Contact Kristina Llewellyn, email@example.com, 604-228-4309 (Vancouver), 416-752-5232 (Toronto) or 416-752-5232.
College information not secure
Teachers should be aware that their personal information (name, address, phone number, social insurance number) on teaching certificates can be accessed at the College of Teachers web site (www.bcct.ca) by using their certificate number and their postal code as passwords. This information is not only accessible but can be edited online. In the latest mailing of Connected, the college magazine, the certificate number is thoughtfully printed above the postal code, so anyone noting this could access and edit teachers’ personal information online. This certainly contravenes the college’s assurance that in the online registry members’ privacy will be respected (letter to members, April 14, 2004). My concern is heightened by having just attended a community meeting where a fraud squad detective outlined how easily false identities are created with exactly these pieces of personal information. To secure their personal information, teachers should access the site and change the password on their personal file, and follow up with a complaint to the college.
Derril Gudlaugson (retired)
Thank you from Happy Valley
The Happy Valley staff would like to express sincere thanks to everyone who provided us with support following the school fire on October 14, 2004.
We are extremely appreciative for the generosity of teachers throughout the province. We are continuing to make progress in rebuilding our school community and look forward to moving into our new school in 2006–07.