|This room was much more crowded when it contained 31 students|
"Teachers, how do I love thee? And all the staff, and hard-working PAC members, I love you, too. You've all worked so hard to give our children the best experience they can have, the best education money can't buy. But you've also kept us, the majority of parents, in the dark about how budget cuts are impacting our schools.
Please stop it.
I suggest that it's time to keep records of all that's not going well in our system, and to point out where the blame lies. No money for the hydro bill or seismic upgrading? Broken desks and windows, but no budget for repairs? Rats in basement? Fly infestations? Decrepit playgrounds? No paper in the supply cupboards? British Columbians need to know.
Find someone at each school to take photos, keeps tabs, collect information about all of these short-comings. Send it to all MLAs, the Minister of Education, the Premier, and all the media. Spread that information all over social media.
British Columbians need to know. They will care, they will help, but they need to find out about it!"
This was a post in BC Voters Supporting BC Public Education and Teachers Facebook group and it was followed by many comments. Teachers spoke of freezing cold classrooms, classes held in public buildings etc. By now many of you heard how teachers have bought their own supplies because there was not enough money for them in the school. As funding has been reduced parents are often expected to supply more as well. I can still see boxes of Kleenex in cupboards that some teachers would collect from each student at the beginning of the year. That was something I personally bought myself on a regular basis-I didn't have room for 31 boxes of Kleenex anywhere in my classroom!
Many classrooms are full of teacher owned resources. I tried to give up spending my own money but it was difficult. When I retired instead of a gift from people who attended my party I chose to have money donated to a charity my class had supported, Room to Read, and our school library because library budgets have been being cut for years.
As far as working and learning conditions I personally have taught in too hot classrooms, too small classrooms, and too cold classrooms. I taught in a portable where the outdoor stairs flooded regularly and I was sure there was mold, and it was destroyed the following year so I guess I was right.
I sometimes think teachers are a little crazy, they love teaching and do it despite it being a poorly paid profession and they often have to provide their own tools. Anyway a lot of parents because of this strike and online discussions have " woken up" and won't be afraid to continue to put pressure on the government and ensure that local trustees and MLA's truly care about and advocate for public education.