Opinion

Editorial: Teachers' rights

Children are gearing up to head back to school in September.

But after spring negotiations between the B.C. Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the government failed, it begs the question, “Is school going to start on time?”

During the spring months, teachers pleaded for better wages, and more importantly to have the current staffing issues resolved.

In May, I spoke with the Fernie and District Teacher’s Association President, who told me that teachers are attempting to negotiate class sizes so that student’s can receive proper individual attention.

I have to agree with her on this. No one should expect one teacher to be able to take on a classroom full of 30 plus students, some of which have behavioural issues.

Many children with behavioural issues require one-on-one support and it is not fair to expect teachers to care for them, while also caring for a full classroom of students.

Last week we received a letter to the editor eccusing teachers of being “two-faced”—a pretty harsh thing to say if you ask me.

I think that some people tend to forget the fact that teachers are not only asking for a $5,000 signing bonus, they are asking for better working conditions, working conditions that could drastically alter and improve students learning conditions.

We need to remember that teachers are really fighting for their students here.

During the spring, the negotiations resulted in class-room lockouts, cancelled recesses, picketing and loss of after-school programs.

These negotiations affected the student’s short-term learning. Children couldn’t catch up on missed assignments. They couldn’t ask for math help during recess on that equation they just couldn’t get the hang of—something we’ve all experienced at one time or another.

What teachers are really fighting for is the long- term learning conditions.

What’s going to happen if a child with behavioural issues doesn’t receive the proper individual attention he or she needs?

What happens to the children that get pushed along by teachers who don’t have the resources or time to properly teach them?

I think it’s time that we looked to the group that is most important here—B.C.’s children.

Let’s take a step back from the financial debate and get down to the real issue here, because after all, it’s our children’s future that is at stake here.

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