How grateful I am to have such wonderful supportive parents on the PAC at Strathcona Elementary, parents who encourage and appreciate the teachers in our school instead of slamming and shaming them publicly in the paper as Ms. Edmondson, (PAS president of McCammon) has done. (Parent angered by continued job action, Progress Feb. 28) I cannot believe she truly thinks teachers are not doing their jobs. I have been teaching since 1988 and I arrive at my school by 7:30 (I am never the first one there as others have already arrived before me) and seldom leave before 4:30. During this time of trying to bring attention to the frustration of lack of funding in our education system, most of my colleagues have made every effort to have personal conversations with parents of students. I send home a weekly bulletin, have talked with every family and met with many, time and time again, so that they are aware of the growth and needs of their child.
In addition I, (like many other teachers across the province), give up my lunch to help with activities that make our schools a better community. In my case this means 3 lunch times a week to direct the drama/musical and meet with Grade 3 girls in a girls? group to help them learn friendship skills, communication skills and better social skills.
Our government’s lack of respect for a work force whose members continually give, more than is asked or required, is absolutely appalling. Teachers care about the children entrusted to us, and when we see a need we offer help. We frequently pay for things for ?our kids? because they are not covered in any budget. I personally spent over $1000 in 2011 (and have the receipts to prove it) to make certain that my students get to do fun projects, learn beyond the curriculum and have what is needed to go forward. Surveys show that I am not alone in this personal spending to subsidize educational funding shortfalls.
Last year I had 4 special needs children in my class and one Educational Assistant. She heroically made every effort to meet all of their needs, while basically doing the job of 3 people. Our classes get more difficult each year as we have children come to us with a myriad of social problems and emotional issues. Yet we are told there is no funding available to meet the needs of these most vulnerable children. Teachers have to be more than teachers these days. We have to be miracle workers. I have loved my career as a teacher and have been very proud of the students I have taught. But I would have to say to young people looking for a career – think long and hard before going down this path. It is not a job for the faint of heart. You must have thick skin for the poison darts that are thrown your way by people who have no idea of what we really do. Ms. Edmondson, I invite you to come spend a week with me to see what I mean.
With hope for the future,
Strathcona Grade Three Teacher