Letter: No magic wands, no wishes for teachers

Dear Editor,

I’ve checked, and the magic wand store is closed until further notice. There is no genie lamp to rub for three wishes, and I’ve had no luck finding any four-leaf clovers.

Magic is not going to solve our current problems, but humanity, service, and compassion is.

I am appealing to Premier Christy Clark’s and Minister of Education Peter Fassbender’s humanity in hopes that they can find it possible to treat teachers like equal members of society, and not lesser citizens unworthy of basic respect and rights. I am appealing to them to recognize their duties of service to the people of B.C.

I don’t believe that what they have proposed to the teachers is in the best interest of the citizens of this province.

On a daily basis, I find out new information that is abhorrent to me and bewildering. I can’t believe that my life’s work, my passion as a teacher, my commitment to public service is being eroded so terribly.

I also appeal to them to use compassion in understanding the many messages coming their way from concerned teachers, parents, and students in this province. We are pouring our hearts out, trying to help them understand what is happening in our schools.

I have yet to see evidence that any of these messages are getting through to either of them.

Living in a democracy, as we are, I believe it is our right to earn a living, to be proud of our efforts, and to live without fear of persecution.

In the last few weeks those elements of our rights are being masked by what I fear is a “hidden agenda” to eradicate public education.

If they truly wanted to make a bargain with teachers that would continue to build, grow, and strengthen our education system, I believe they are doing a poor job at communicating that.

Losing 10 per cent of my pay when I continue to work hard every day feels and looks like persecution.

In spite of all the efforts for the BCTF, of which I am a part of, to bring a fair deal to the table, we have been stonewalled. I have yet to hear anything in earnest, to make this situation better, to grow our schools and the learners of this generation coming from government.

I am not comfortable with this. I am outraged and overwhelmed with sorrow. I believe we would be targeted to feel shame for wanting a fair wage and fair working conditions. Should we be happy to survive on less?

I have three university degrees and 23 years of teaching experience. I do not think I’m better than everyone else when I covey the conditions of my working life. It angers me, though, that I should feel the need to beg for things to be better for both myself and my students.

As far as I am concerned, this government has been getting a brilliant deal. If my classroom can be judged along with others, I believe you would see how much teachers across this province, and in fact Canada in general, subsidize our education system from our own pockets.

I spend about $100 a month purchasing materials, supplies, and information for my classroom. I don’t get to write any of that off on my taxes.

In fact, I pay taxes to support education, I pay from my wallet to support education, and I am getting pretty irate that I can’t rely on a wage comparable to other provinces in Canada.

I love my job. I am pretty darn good at it, too. I just can’t imagine how anything this government has offered to do for our public education is going to make it better. How can this government continue to sabotage the future of our young people, and an entire workforce that is generous, dedicated, and professional?

Are any other working professionals in this province being made to feel they are unworthy of satisfactory wages and working conditions?

Carol Mason, Langley Fine Arts School

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