A line in the school sand

Editor:

Re: Teachers paid to do entire job, Oct. 13 letters.

Editor:

Re: Teachers paid to do entire job, Oct. 13 letters.

In reading the letter from Karen Bodenheimer, it was evident the writer is unfamiliar with the issues and impact of the teachers dispute.

Teachers have withdrawn some administrative or non-compensated extra tasks that are not essential or part of the job-description function.

With regards to “little Johnny” and classroom issues, parents can still communicate with their teachers. The fact is, many parents – as demonstrated by poor attendance at parent/teacher nights – don’t seem to care or be concerned.

Incidentally, teachers are not paid to host these nights. The same goes for extracurricular activities. Teachers do this of their own volition, not as a requirement of the contract, and without compensation.

Most labour unions would not allow their members to perform activities without compensation. Teachers have been an exception to that philosophy since they organized.

While teachers are not submitting marks for report cards, parents may access their child’s marks online or by communicating with teachers.

What many fail to realize is marking is not done during the school day. Many a teacher spends their Saturday or Sunday having to mark dozens of tests. If a child needs assistance or there are behavioural issues, teachers are still communicating with parents.

Another myth is that teachers have summer off and are paid. Teachers are not compensated from school closing in June until school startup in September. How many readers can manage without a paycheque for 10 weeks?

While our province may be one of the richest, B.C. teachers are amongst the lowest paid. They have had no increase for years. Instead the government simply ignores and threatens teachers, preys on public ignorance on the subject and breaks or imposes contracts. Unfortunately, the government has tried to deflect criticism of its own performance by painting teachers and its union as the bad guys that must be crushed.

Public and media lack of factual knowledge do not help matters.

I suggest Bodenheimer spend a week with a teacher managing oversized classes, communicating with parents and marking endless assignments in the evening. She might better understand where teachers are coming from.

Steve Morris, Surrey

• • •

Re: Educational reality, Oct. 25 letters.

I am pretty sick of hearing the teachers complain about their jobs.

They knew what they where getting into before they even started.

It has been 25 years since I attended high school and even then there were portables and 30-plus students per classroom. So, unless these teachers complaining had their head in the sand, I have no idea why they are complaining now.

Since Finland was mentioned, and how well they are educated, look at the ratios. Administration versus students – here, like the U.S. – for every dollar of tax for education, 10 per cent goes to the student and 90 per cent to administration.

Finland, the gap is much closer.

Now, if the government was able to reduce the salaries of public servants – who should have no union, since they are paid by the taxpayers – and not be held hostage by the unions, the payroll could be cut in half and the monies put back into the students and more specialists.

If teachers are told to do a job and they refuse, fire them. They can be replaced. You are a public servant. You are there to educate our children. When my bosses overwhelm me with projects, I do them. If I refused, even if I had to do other people’s jobs, they would fire me, no question.

I’m so glad to see the government taking a stand against the union. We elected this government, and you, public servants, should listen to what your bosses are telling you to do.

Chris Gardner, Surrey