March 3, 2021

Register now to be an observer at the BCTF’s virtual 2021 Annual General Meeting

The 2021 BCTF Annual General Meeting will be held online from March 20 to 23. All of our local associations will have delegates Zooming into a new platform called Lumi that allows delegates to vote, debate, and see speakers all in one platform. As space in the platform is limited to 1,000 participants, there is room for up to 200 BCTF members who are not delegates to register as observers. This will allow you to pop into the meeting from time-to-time and witness the discussions and debate. You can register on the BCTF Portal under the events tab. The deadline to sign up as an observer is March 10, 2021. Once logged in to the portal, you can also go to https://www.bctf.ca/myBCTF/agm.aspx to read all of this year’s AGM documents like the agenda, Reports and Resolutions book, and the guide to Lumi platform. Importantly, anyone who signs up as an observer needs to use a desktop or laptop computer. The platform does not work on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets. In addition, Chrome is the best browser and others like Safari do not support the technology.

Focus on yourself when on sick leave

During this period of increased electronic communication, it can be difficult to separate home and work. It can be tempting to reply to emails or do other work while on sick leave. However, sick leave is your time to rest, recover, and undergo any treatments required to heal. Contractually you should not be working while on sick leave. Here are some strategies to focus on yourself while on sick leave:

  1. Turn off your email notifications and log out of your email.
  2. Set an email autoreply stating that you are away.
  3. Write “sick day” in your calendar.
  4. Ask household members to remind you not to work while on sick leave.
  5. Move any work materials to an area of your home where you can’t see them.

The BCTF stands in solidarity with Indian farmers

The BCTF, along with several labour and community organizations, has signed a statement of solidarity with Indian farmers. For several months, farmers and agriculture workers from across India have been protesting three new agricultural laws that enable the corporatization of agriculture and threaten farmers’ ability to earn a livable income. Protestors and journalists have faced violent policing including water cannons and tear gas. The BCTF condemns state-sanctioned violence and supports farmers’ right to peaceful protest. You can read the full statement of solidarity here. Visit https://hsabc.org/supportfarmers to speak out against state-sanctioned violence in India and call for a full repeal of the 2020 Indian Farm Bills.

BCTELA Voices Visible Student Writing Contest

The BC Teachers of English Language Arts (BCTELA) PSA Voices Visible Student Writing Contest is running again this year! The contest is open to students in Grades 4–12 and accepts both poetry and short stories. Winners will have their work published in the annual Voices Visible Student Writing journal and will receive a free copy of the book in the fall. This year’s contest is open until April 30. Entry details can be found on the BCTELA website. Email any questions to voicesvisible@gmail.com.

Upcoming BC Teachers’ Council Election

Elections for the BC Teachers’ Council are coming up. Voting will be open from March 8 to 18. Information about candidates will be posted in early March, 2021 on the BC Teachers’ Council Elections page. The BCTF has endorsed the following five members:

  • Lisa Kishkan (Northern BC)
  • Alice Kedves (Vancouver Island)
  • Shelley Balfour (Interior)
  • Marjorie Dumont (Vancouver Coastal)
  • Jatinder Bir (Fraser) 

The election will be conducted using an online voting platform. You will receive an email with instructions on how to vote. To ensure that you are able to participate, please go to the BC Government website and log in to Your Account to confirm that your contact information is up-to-date. If you need help logging in to Your Account or linking your BCeID, please call the Service BC Help Desk using one of the following numbers: Vancouver at 604 660-2355 or toll-free at 1 888 356-2741. If you forgot your pass code, please sign up again for the personal BCeID. If you have any questions regarding the election, please email the Ministry of Education at BCTC.Elections@gov.bc.ca.

Opportunities for members

Employment opportunity: Assistant Director, Field Service Division (term position)

The Assistant Director in the Field Service Division provides support to locals in political action, contract enforcement, bargaining, communications, and the handling of a range of professional, social justice, Aboriginal education, and other issues. This position is a term position from April 1, 2021 to August 31, 2025. For more information and application instructions, click here. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17, 2021.

Opportunity to participate in an Issue Session on Racism

BCTF members who identify as First Nations, Inuit, Metis, and persons of colour are invited to apply to participate in the BCTF 2021 Issue Session on Racism. The session will take place virtually on the evening of Friday, April 30 and all day, Saturday, May 1. This issue session will provide opportunities to strengthen connections between the community of BIPOC members, develop proposals for concrete actions to address racism, and draft a professional statement of principals to guide the antiracism work of the BCTF. For more information on the BCTF Issue Session on Racism, see the reports to the BCTF Executive Committee on the BCTF Equity and Inclusion webpage. The Issue Session on Racism posting and application form are posted on the BCTF website, under Opportunities for Members. The application deadline is Tuesday, March 16, at 4:45 p.m.

BCTF Virtual Think Tank on Privatization, May 7, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has created conditions in which the privatization of public education can flourish. This one-day Think Tank will bring together BCTF members with educational experts to: 

  1. explore growing pressures and trends towards privatization of education within the province and globally.
  2. identify strategies for resisting privatization and defending public education as a public good. 

Dr. Sam Abrams, Director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, will frame the context for the day’s discussions using his book, Education and the Commercial Mindset. Participants will be mailed a copy of the book by the end of March with suggested readings to preview prior to May 7. Click here to learn more and apply.

What do I do? Trauma-sensitive strategies for challenging behaviours webinar

During this school year, the Ministry of Education has facilitated a webinar series to support teachers across the province amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The next webinar in the Teaching Tenaciously series, What do I do? Trauma-sensitive strategies for challenging behaviours, will be co-presented by members of the Teachers of Inclusive Education (TIE-BC) PSA Executive. Every school year has its challenges; however, this year has been particularly difficult for both students and educators. Added stresses of coping with a pandemic contribute to wavering self-regulation and resiliency in many of us. The session will share strategies to deal with behaviour issues, foster self-regulation, and nurture a growth mindset. The webinar will take place on Thursday, March 11 from 3:30–5:00 p.m. Register for the webinar at: https://ocr.openschool.bc.ca/course/view.php?id=74

Workshop ideas for school-based Pro D days

The BCTF has several free workshops delivered through Zoom that you can book for your school staff, including the workshops listed below. The full range of virtual workshops can be viewed here.

Reframing challenging behaviour

Reframing challenging behaviour through a trauma-informed lens *NEW (2 hours) 
Participants in this workshop will discuss a wide range of effective strategies, practical ideas, and resources related to trauma-informed practice. Specific topics include exploring the foundational principles of trauma-informed practice, examining challenging behaviour through a trauma-informed lens, and exploring strategies for staying well. Contact Ashley Gurat to book this workshop.

Adressing ableismAddressing ableism (90 minutes)
Ableism is a set of beliefs or practices that devalue and discriminate against people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities. In this workshop, participants will learn more about how we view disability, and learn how to identify and fight the stigma that people with physical, intellectual, or psychiatric disabilities face every day. For more details and to book this workshop, click here.

How to be an antiracist?How to be an antiracist in our schools, unions, and communities (1.5–3 hours, includes off-screen working session and break)
This skills-based workshop is a powerful, practical way to promote awareness and empathy and develop the skills to effectively respond to discriminatory remarks and incidents of racism. This workshop has been updated to provide participants with opportunities to practice strategies to intervene effectively. Book this workshop here.

Belairdirect contest

BCTF Advantage Program partner, belairdirect, is launching a new contest with $24,000 in cash prizes up for grabs. The contest will run until February 28, 2022. Two $1,000 prizes will be drawn every month. You can enter by completing an online entry form or getting a group car/home insurance quote over the phone (1-844-757-2925) or online. See contest rules at belairdirect.com/winmore.