What adults don’t know

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As a first-year teacher, I worried about how much I didn’t know about my students. I explained to them that I wanted to get to know them better. I wrote, “I wish my teacher knew . . .” on the board and asked them to complete the sentence.

Each student’s response was unique. They responded with honesty, humor, and vulnerability. Sometimes their notes talked about their favorite sport. Sometimes students complained about conflict with siblings or friends. They wrote about their home life and the people who meant most to them. Sometimes they articulated their hopes for the future and sometimes they explained obstacles they were facing. After completing this lesson, I was amazed at how well it helped me connect with my students. Their notes became a tangible reminder for me to truly listen to the voices of students in my classroom.

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Imagine a world in which every child’s potential is valued; where every child receives the excellent education they deserve. What would our government look like? What would our neighborhoods look like? What would our schools look like? What would our classrooms look like? What would school be  like if we asked students to tell us what we adults don’t know?

Source: Excerpt from I wish my teacher knew by Kyle Schwartz

The Whole Truth

And nothing but the truth

And nothing but the truth

I hate to say this, coming from the Philippines, the government system is becoming similar to where I came from. And it’s not a good situation.

“If we are not prepared to take a stand now (especially with the partial lockout and the salary reduction), when will we ever stand up to this government?  Are we waiting for the government to roll our salaries back even further, to further reduce supports for students, to hold teachers even more accountable than they currently are?”

B.C. Teachers Are Only Asking For What Was Taken Away

Overview:

Over the last decade, almost $2 billion has been funnelled out of public education.

Over the last decade, public education has had a funding reduction of almost $2 billion.

Over the last decade, our students have been deprived of $2 billion that should have been theirs. The government’s own numbers say so.

Class size and composition wording much like the BCTF is asking for used to be included in the contract. Teachers negotiated for these provisions and took years of zero per cent pay increases in order to fund them. They put their own potential earnings back into the school system in return for these working and learning conditions.

Let’s pause here for a moment to talk about what class size and composition actually mean. The first is rather straight-forward: the number of students in a class. The more students in a class, the less one-on-one attention is available for each student. This has a direct impact on students.

Class composition is a little trickier to explain, however. Class composition refers to the emotional and education needs of students. Some students require more assistance than others to accomplish the same learning outcomes as their peers.

Then, in 2002, the contract that included these negotiated terms was ripped up. The class size and composition language that the BCTF is trying to re-negotiate now was removed. Just…poof. Gone.

The Supreme Court of B.C. has twice said that the Liberal government’s dissolution of the negotiated contract was illegal. The courts have told the government that they need to fund these things. Twice.

Source:

 High School Teacher:  Huffpost British Columbia

Making the most out of it.

Morning Story and Dilbert

“Life will only come once, so make the most out of it.”  via Words to Live By.

Suffer?  I refuse.

Being out of job for the past few days due to teachers’ job action, I am enjoying the four hours of being in the public supporting the teachers during their strike.  Meeting people on the street, getting to know teachers and peers, more time to exchange words , playing with dogs at the park, watching all the feathered creatures and enjoying the garden across the office are just a few pleasures that embrace during this tumultuous period.

As part of being in a unionized job, we respect the picket line.  We do not cross the line to support the teachers in solidarity.

I have so much respect and admiration for the teachers. They are like the second parent of the child.  As a matter of fact, most children spend more time at school than spending time with their parents.

It appears school ended prematurely for the children but the graduating class are still required to take their final exams with or without the teachers.

In the meantime, I will continue to count my steps as I pound the sidewalk walking side by side with the teachers and still have a few laughs along the way.

And it’s not all that bad, actually.  The professional staffs are still working to step on the plate that we left behind at the office.  On top of that, they come out to converse with us bringing  a  box of donuts and muffins to fuel our energy.