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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 16, Number 6, May/June 2004

Readers write

Wonderful surprise in Teacher

I went to my box first period this morning looking for some excuse to avoid the Macbeth response journals I needed to mark. There I found my Teacher newsmagazine—perfect! I sat behind my desk and began my usual reading ritual—check out the letters (Did anyone I know write in?), scan the "Looking back" section. After 12 years of teaching, I am starting to recognize some of the stories mentioned, and then begin the article browsing (I like the ones that profile interesting programs in other schools). Then I came to the article on the new teachers and student teachers’ conference. I read with interest the comments from the newcomers to the profession I have always loved. I started to reminisce about why I became a teacher and who had influenced me the most. I even remembered funny stories from my first few years; although I think I have funnier stories now. I remembered my sponsor teachers at Cariboo Hill Secondary School, Sherry Armstrong and Bob Kirby—then I turned the page! What a wonderful surprise to find an article about the sponsor teacher I had just been remembering with such fondness! Bob Kirby taught me so much in the four months I spent in his classroom. He was an excellent teacher and mentor, and I can’t help but think how lucky Karen Larsen was to be a student in his Grade 11 English class. Bob taught me how to be comfortable in front of students because he was confident in me, and he had an awesome sense of humour, as can be attested by the "fake" final report he wrote for me before my final evaluation. Thank you Teacher for including this kind of writing in our newsmagazine. Sometimes we seem so caught up in all the politics of education, we need to be reminded of the reasons we are here and who helped to make us the teachers we are today. Thank you, Bob and Sherry, for being the best sponsor teachers and for providing me with a full toolbox that I still use today!

Lenora Poulin

Weekend to end breast cancer

As you are the most respected leaders of learning, I come to you requesting your support in teaching the people of British Columbia that we have the power to change the world and end breast cancer, by walking in The Weekend to End Breast Cancer benefiting the B.C. Cancer Foundation.

It is a life-changing adventure during one amazing weekend, August 20-22, 2004. Thousands of women and men will unite in Vancouver to walk 60 km in a bold display of courage and commitment. With your support, awareness will grow, and millions of dollars will be raised. It will be a weekend of hope, as we honour lives lost, celebrate survivors, and help bring breast cancer care to those who so desperately need it. This extraordinary weekend is about finding the hero in yourself and discovering strength you never knew you had.

The money you help raise by participating will benefit the B.C. Cancer Foundation in support of breakthrough breast cancer research and treatment at the B.C. Cancer Agency. One in every nine Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Maybe someone in your life has been affected: mother, sister, daughter, or perhaps a teacher who taught you to believe in yourself and go the distance. The Weekend to End Breast Cancer is your chance to make a bold statement in the fight against this disease. It’s your chance to be a hero for someone you love or someone you may never even meet.

For more information, visit www.endcancer.ca, or call 604-684-9255.

Job action needed

I am writing to encourage you to guide the BCTF towards taking job action. I believe job action by the BCTF is warranted on three grounds.

The first and most important, is for us to protest Bill 19. The arrogant overriding of the B.C. Supreme Court must be grounds for action. If we do not take action, then the government has won. This is a powerful issue; we are law abiding, and have won in the courts. The government’s actions are dictatorial, and should be actively opposed by the BCTF membership.

Second, we should be protesting the B.C. College of Teachers’ developments. We are all well aware of what is occurring and job action needs to be taken in order for us to stop this destruction of our professional integrity.

Finally, we should be taking job action to protest the on-going cuts to educational budgets.

We should be taking a leadership position in our community, not just honouring picket lines erected by other unions.

I look forward to constructive debate, and hopefully some direction from the Executive.

Bert Slater

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