Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Great letter from a parent about BC teachers' strike

This morning I read this on the BC Voters Supporting BC Teachers and Public Education, a site that is really amazing and gratifying. Beverly gave me permission to share this post.

Beverly Grey-Westerby
1 hr · Edited
An open letters to the teachers of British Columbia,
I cannot claim to understand everything that the teachers have gone through these past few months. Though I have listened and supported and walked the line with you and educated myself about what you were fighting for, I never had to wonder when my next pay cheque was going to come and how I was going to be able to make that mortgage payment coming up at the end of the month. One day not too long ago, a teacher friend of mine told me that she was broken. She was tired of having to defend herself, tired of not being able to feed her family, tired of fighting, tired of being portrayed as greedy and lazy. I started to write the uplifting message that I had said to other teachers. Keep fighting, it’s worth it, we appreciate it, etc. etc. And suddenly I stopped and realized something. Who was I to ask you to fight for that for me? Who was I to say please keep fighting for my child at such a great expense to yourself and your own family? Who was I to say don’t give up because it will all be worth it? And I realized in that moment that we are all broken. Our government stole teachers’ rights away by ripping up a legally binding, negotiated contract and then launched a campaign of public ignorance to destroy the reputations of these amazing people who care for an educate our children every single day. And our government almost succeeded.
Even yesterday when I was watching Christy Clark take credit for all the “hard work” that she did during the negotiations with teachers, I realized that somebody uninformed about what really happened here would listen to that and go “wow, she’s great”. Behind her smile and her false caring for families in BC, she knows how to work a room and her carefully scripted words certainly come off as sincere. But our government did not win. They have woken many of the people of this province out of their apathy. One day, I hope this WILL all be worth it when we have a better than 50% voter turnout. When people educate themselves about issues and then take their responsibility as citizens seriously. The government has counted on people being uninformed and apathetic so they can push through their own agendas while hiding behind a smile and some insincere words. But we are smarter now thanks to our teachers.
I don’t want to get into the politics of this too much, but I hope that this is not the end of the conversations about government responsibility and the importance of the people of this province staying engaged. But to you, I say this. On behalf of my family, I will never be able to do enough to thank the teachers of this province for all they have sacrificed in this fight.
Thank you for holding the line. Thank you for enduring the misdirected anger. Thank you for standing up for not only the rights of students and teachers but the very constitutional rights that everyone in this province deserves. Thank you for helping me teach my children that not going out and voting in an election is NOT okay. Thank you for helping me teach my child that his teachers don’t just educate in the classroom. Thank you for showing my child that people can stand together and make a difference. Even though our children have not been in classrooms, their teachers have been continuing to teach. I know it has come at a huge expense to you, physically, emotionally, and financially. Thank for continuing to stand strong even while we were all breaking. I can’t claim to speak for everyone in this province, but I will say that I will never forget all that you have done for us and I will do what I can to ensure that others don’t forget either. I don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow with the vote, but either way, Thank you.
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