Hardball negotiations are one thing. But punitive behaviour by local administration towards the teachers fuels further animosity, and more importantly is hurting the students that they are there to serve. Which brilliant mind came up with the idea that restricting the teachers’ access to their worksite before and after school, as well as during lunchtime, would be beneficial to anyone? As a former student of Cowichan Secondary School, I have tremendous respect for the care and devotion that many teachers put into their work. As a student, I was extremely involved in school, playing on the rugby team, working on the yearbook, volunteering with leadership, and putting countless hours into the graduation council. None of these activities would have been possible without the dedicated support of teachers.
One thing that I think many of us are forgetting is how tough growing up can be – especially through high school. I can honestly say that I don’t know where I would be today, even who I would be, without the support of my teachers. Most of this support was given out of class time. Teachers can have an impact on students, far beyond teaching how to learn, and mastering the curriculum. They can be very positive role models, by helping with students’ self-confidence and developing other life skills.
So, how do you think that insecure, confused student is handling major difficult life events right before exam time and graduation, without the time and encouragement of their mentors? Will they be able to handle the stress? I don’t believe I would have been able to.
So I think that it is time that our government and their administration rethinks their negotiating tactics. A good place to start would be dropping punitive measures, and to begin bargaining in good faith.
Alicia Parker Cowichan Secondary graduate