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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 19, Number 3, Nov./Dec. 2006

Readers write

Admire Hall’s ability to express hope

I am deeply appreciative of the thoughts expressed in the poem, "No wall high enough," by Budd L. Hall, published in the September 2006 issue of Teacher. His words echo my own beliefs, and I would like him to know that I admire his ability to express his hopes. I would also like permission to send copies to my eight mature grandchildren, and my other relatives, friends, and my political representatives.

R. Havard

Teaching is about people

A teachers’ job is never done is an adage as true today as it was 30 years ago.

As someone who taught 20 years, and worked in coaching and professional capacities with my local union, the experience has left me with a different perspective on what is important in our field.

Now that I have been on LTD for several years, my perspective has been altered. I spent so much time keeping my nose to the grindstone that those who had left teaching due to physical or mental strains were quickly forgotten. I was busy enough trying to keep my head above water, let alone worry about someone gone.

One person I taught with had a heart attack and was off for several months; I did send him a card and felt I had at least shown recognition of his difficult times.

Most physical ailments heal and the person returns to work. However, some don’t heal and the person doesn’t return. While no one is irreplaceable, people who have made a contribution deserve to be remembered.

To remember those who have left is a sign of respect for the profession of teaching, one that says yes, education matters, and individual teachers matter, too.

Veteran teachers have a responsibility to demonstrate the way things should be done to incoming teachers; to show how those who have given years to teaching, and are now gone, are also important.

The Federation provides wonderful financial support to those on LTD and SIP, and this demonstrates the collegiality that reflects why our Federation has been so successful over the years. Very few professions extend financial support such as that which comes from the BCTF.

As one who has benefited greatly from this financial support, I have heartfelt appreciation for the BCTF membership.

In the final analysis, teaching is about people—students, teachers, parents—and society at large. An appreciation of the efforts of those who have left abruptly shows recognition of the humanity that bonds us all, and for many of us reflects why education is so important and why we went into teaching in the first place.

Steven Faraher-Amidon

Students more polite than educators

I was so pleased to be able to attend the morning event with students to hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama on September 8, 2006. All of the students were remarkable—attentive, polite and very well behaved.

The afternoon event with educators was, unfortunately, disappointing in the respect that the attendees were not particularly attentive or polite. I had to stand up twice for people to come and go, others were late and there was chatting in the aisles. The rudest thing was for people to be rushing out when the guests were still on the stage at the close of the event. I think a number of these ‘educators’ thought they were at a hockey game or something! I was glad my students were not there to witness this behaviour. However, in the spirit of the message of the Dalai Lama I am letting go of my annoyance!

Ellen McDonnell

Historical perspective right on!

Two predominant thoughts emanate from Ken Novakowski’s article "Historical perspectives" in the October issue of Teacher. He has an amazing grasp of the significance of history in terms of personal, cultural, and institutional developments.

Your article underlines what I have long thought. Locally, in terms of bargaining learning and teaching conditions and rights, the Federation has made fantastic gains, with some temporary setbacks, including the provincial institution of the College of Teachers in 1987. In the 1960s and the 1970s, when the BCTF even managed to have the provincial exams cancelled, I was fond of quoting an art education profession from Stanford University, Elliot Eisner, who stated, "What is counted, counts."

Your article is right on regarding what is happening in the public school system today.

John Church
Vancouver, retired

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