As we move closer to the last few months of the school year, it's time for us, as citizens, to ask ourselves what our role is going to be in bringing a resolution to the conflict between our teachers and our government.
Most of us have tacitly observed as our teachers have performed their "job action," which, as I understand it, is to do exactly what they are paid to do, no more and no less. Now our government has apparently had enough of this insubordination and plans to legislate an end to it.
For those of us bringing home paycheques every two weeks, let's ask ourselves, how far do we go above and beyond our job description? Some of us are "company men" who go the extra mile because we know that if the business we work for is successful, perhaps we will be as well.
Some of us help out when asked and look forward to the overtime on our paycheque. Some of us put in our 40 hours, go home and turn the phone off. And fair enough - that's what we're paid for.
Well, as a parent of two children in Richmond public schools since 2007, I can tell you that all of my children's teachers have gone the extra mile every single working day. And they haven't been doing it because an overtime cheque was coming at the end of the week, but because they're passionate about developing our children into better human beings and educated, well adjusted adults.
They also do this despite the fact that they have become near to the lowest paid teachers in Canada while they live in some of the most expensive municipalities in Canada. I'm not in a union and I'm not an employer, but I do know that common sense dictates our teachers need and deserve more money.
Even more so, we need our teachers to earn more money. A smart employer does not expect to acquire and retain talented employees by putting them at the bottom of the pay scale. And if we follow the current model, in 20 years our children will have the teachers who couldn't get a job in any other province.
As a citizen of British Columbia with children and eventually grandchildren, I'll say to my government right now that I'm willing to put more of my tax dollars into our education system and teachers salaries. If you need to raise my taxes to do it, fine. You're probably going to raise them anyway.
Or if you need to find some money, take it out of your next half-billion dollar stadium roof project. As we all know, when something is important to our government, they find the money. We all need to let them know what's really important.
Brian Hannigan Richmond