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Job action not about salary

The Editor, A wage increase is not what it's about for most teachers.

The Editor,

A wage increase is not what it's about for most teachers. It's about the children who are falling through the cracks of an overburdened system, who "fail" every day in school because the support they need is not available and who come to believe they are just plain stupid and worthless. And for the children who are in the same classsroom and who's learning is being derailed because teachers are human and we can only do so much.

Last year I taught Grade 8 science to a class of 23 students. 17 of them had special educational needs. I spent the first few months trying to instill a culture of success in the classroom. Unfortunately, this was at the expense of covering much of the curriculum. But how could I leave the failing students to fail some more?

It took four months for the children to believe that they were safe in my classroom and wouldn't be allowed to "fail" or feel stupid.

And it took four months for the school to respond to my requests for an SSW/EA. Only then were we finally able to do some experiments in my science room. You know, the types of activities where the children learn through discovery and experience. We didn't cover the prescribed curriculum for Grade 8 science, but I did have a classroom of students who enjoyed coming to class.

Did I do the right thing? In my opinion, yes, but I know many others will disagree. All I know is that due to dreadful cuts to public education in B.C., I had to choose whether to focus on the mental health of my students and their ability to learn, or covering the prescribed curriculum. I came in to teaching to do both.

And that's why I ask everybody to suppport the teachers in their current job action.

Kay Lever Richmond

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