Re: "Teaching becomes more than 9-5 job," Letters, Feb. 29.
In reading the letter by Wendy McDonnell, I have a greater appreciation for the work that our teachers do on a daily basis. This also crystalized the issue that I see facing our education system.
It is apparent teachers face many challenges in their day to day work environment, i.e. long work days during school year, different facets of responsibilities (academic, extra-curricular, general supervision, prep and cleanup), that adds to daily stresses, and financial expenses.
It is also apparent that my daughter is not getting the best education from our public school system. My conclusion is based on the comparisons I've made in reviewing the quality of education in her school versus what's offered by other private schools in our province versus public schools in Alberta and Ontario and schools in Singapore and New York.
I agree our teachers need to be compensated appropriately and have the right to a less stressful work environment. I disagree with the BCTF that happy teachers is the only way we can get to a better education in our province. Our education is falling behind for a number of reasons.
To the BC Minister of Education, I say treat our teachers fairly: pay the salary that is due to them and deal with the stressful environmental factors, such as classroom sizes.
Also, we need to hire more teachers, assistants and supervisors and ensure the right people are assigned to the right jobs. Let's not make our teachers wear so many hats that they don't do anything right. And for goodness sake, do we really need to have our teachers pay for classroom supplies out of pocket - pay them!
To the teachers I have much to say: Do your part, make it a point to describe in detail all the supplies you need for the school year during the financial planning period.
Be open to changing practices that must be introduced into classrooms so our kids' education is comparable to national and international standards.
You should be dreaming of a day where each student has a computer and lessons/homework/tests/exams are all delivered through this medium.
Next, think ahead and give some thought to parent/ teacher conferences.
I'm tired of attending these year after year and having teachers provide lip service and providing nothing specific or useful. Lastly, you may feel that teaching for tests or exams should not be the only way. Or, that your merit increases should not be tied to class/subject performance. I beg to differ. My daughter can only make it to the best universities if she gets the high scores.
So this attitude must change. And I will support the B.C. government on any measures to implement this policy.
Yes teachers, while I empathize with you and agree that work environment and compensation demands need to be addressed, I disagree that that alone will improve our education quality.
The real change needs to come from you, the teachers, on how you respond to the changing needs of our students.
And to the BCTF leaders I say please stop your posturing and be man enough to ask for what is right.
Stop using our children or the excuse of a higher education as a reason for the demands.
Anna Thomas A Richmond parent