So as we here in Ontario are aware, the political climate for teachers is not a pleasant one. Even with the by election over, we are still being portrayed as “the enemy” by the Liberal party. The difference is that now it’s Mr. McGuinty who is on the attack. Frankly, I am fed up with this maliciousness. I have been wracking my brains trying to figure out why we are still the scapegoats but all I can come up with is that our contract was up before any other public sector and we are easy targets since almost everyone has been in school at some point in their lives and some people, therefore, make an assumption about what we do on a daily basis.
Now I don’t think it’s fair to say one job is more difficult than another as I’m sure every occupation has its individual challenges but I would like to share some things about teachers that people don’t see:
– how much of our own time we spend meeting with our colleagues asking for strategies and advice in order to make our students successful
– that most of us work at minimum an eight hour day not just the five in front of the students
– that most of us worry a great deal about the well-being of our students and advocate for better conditions whether they be financial, personal, social, etc.
– many of us have helped out students financially (as in giving students money for lunch or buying them school supplies, etc.)
And the one that is huge for me is that I have lost many a night’s sleep over a student because I am worried about his or her safety or mental health. In fact, it happened last night as I have a student who I am quite concerned about only a week into the school year.
Teaching is so much more than standing in front of a group of students and delivering content and what I wish is that instead of being made out to be greedy monsters, that the government would cast a positive light in us.
Finally, I just want to mention that I think it’s about time teachers were no longer referred to as a collective. We encourage our students to think of everyone as individuals with strengths and hardships and by promoting us in the media as “the teachers” we are being alienated in our own society. It is exactly what we strive to avoid in our classrooms.