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Sunday, August 26, 2012

I am a TDSB teacher and this is my rant:

Warning: the following is the humble opinion of one Ontario teacher who may not know a whole lot about politics but does know a whole lot about what's fair and what's happening to us teachers doesn't seem fair.

This week, Dalton McGuinty, Tim Hudak, Laurel Broten, and a whole bunch of other Ontario politicians will be cutting their summer vacations short and going back to work early to discuss the "Putting Students First" act.

Excuse me for being totally ignorant, but from what I understand, this act is very, very unfair.  Not just for teachers, but for everyone.  In fact, I would go beyond not fair to scary.

Here's why:

1.  Preventing the strike. The government keeps talking about "saving the school year" and preventing us from going on strike.  Hmmmm… really?  I had no idea that we were planning on striking.  Personally speaking, I've spent the last few weeks making new bulletin boards for my classroom, creating new lesson plans, writing welcome letters to parents, and a whole bunch other stuff to get ready for September 4th.  I have not been making strike signs or collecting firewood for garbage can bonfires.

2.  That 5.5% salary hike.  No.  Not all teachers are eligible for a 5.5% salary hike as of Sept.1st.  Not even half of teachers are eligible for a 5.5% salary hike.  In fact, only about 1/3 of teachers are getting a salary increase at all, and of those, they are not all 5.5%.

Oh and by the way, you know that "grid" they keep talking about that us teachers move up?  In order to "move up" that grid, I had to take 6 courses, each one costing more that $800.  And by taking those 6 courses, I became a specialist in special education and reading.  Thus, benefitting not just me, but your child as well.

3.  Drastic reduction of sick days and "banked" sick days to be paid out upon retirement.  Once again, this does not apply to all teachers.  As far as I understand, this is a program that is already being phased out and only applies to teachers who have been working for 8 years or more.

And did I forget to mention that out of those 10 days, I personally will have to use 5 of them for Jewish holy days as my religious holidays are not statutory holidays, like Easter and Christmas.  Hmmm….that may explain why it was easier for the Catholic boards to come to an agreement.

Oh, and by the way, did I mention that the reason most teachers have so many sick days banked is that we hate taking any sick days?  You see, when we're sick, we don't just "call in sick" like you might.  When we're  feeling our worst, we have to drag ourselves out of bed and call it in before 6:30am in order to secure a supply teacher, we have to create detailed plans to leave for that teacher so that its not a day wasted, and upon our return, we have to "undo" the time lost do our absence.  I know I am not the only teacher who would rather come to school sick (which we often do) instead of endure that inconvenience of all that planning.  How is that not putting students first?

Two years ago when my father died, I took a week off for the Jewish week of mourning.  Upon my return, I had one mom comment that she was glad that I had chosen to work part-time that year so that her child wasn't as inconvenienced as the previous year when her other child's teacher also had a death in the family and the class found the time off "very disruptive." Nice.

4.  Three unpaid professional development days that equate to a 1.5 percent pay cut. This means that for 3 additional days, your kids will not be in school for no reason other than the province saving money.  That means three extra days that your child does not have a teacher and you have to find child care or take a day off.  That means that for three extra days, the board has to organize some form of "professional development" for us, meaning workshops and/or photocopies and/or other things that cost money.  Excuse me for being ignorant, but how is that putting students first? 

5.  All this is being done to "preserve"the things that you taxpayers hold dear, like smaller class sizes.  Really?  In my 8 years of teaching, my grade 7 classes have only gotten larger. Sure, the elementary grades are a bit smaller, but if you know anything about kids, then you know that the grade 7 kids need the smaller classes just as much as the little guys, if not more.  Unfortunately, that just isn't part of the government's plan.  And with the recent reduction of the number of Educational Assistants, it means that this fall, not only do I expect my special education class to be larger, I also anticipate not having an Educational Assistant any more, meaning less of an opportunity for me to work one-on-one with the students who need it most.  And whose going to get blamed for all this when you feel that your child isn't getting enough individualized attention? Me.

But before you yell at me, or complain about me, or agree that us teachers have it easy and that these pay cuts are justified because you don't feel like we're doing our jobs, you should know that during the school day I don't eat lunch because I'm too busy helping your child with his homework, I don't pee because I don't have time nor can I leave my class unattended for even a few seconds, I answer no less than 500 questions and make 500 decisions and solve 500 problems all which have a direct impact on your child's life both today and in the future.  And if you think those questions, decisions, and problems are "small potatoes" try to remember what it was like when you were 12 and how small your world was and that failing a math test or fighting with your best friend or losing your lunch bag made it feel like your world was ending.

You know how you sometimes drop your kid off super-early for "practice" or pick them up late because they stayed for extra help or play practice or the environmental club?  I'm the one running that practice and I'm the one giving her extra help and I'm the one facilitating the club.  And when I finally do get to go home I am normally marking essays or tests or planning for the next day for YOUR CHILD, instead of helping my own children with their homework.

Oh, and by the way, while the media is making such a big deal about how the Ontario legislature is making this big sacrifice by "going back early" next week, has anyone even noticed that there have been teachers in their neighbourhood schools for weeks? I've already spent two days in my classroom getting ready and plan on spending at least one more day there this coming week…while my children and husband go to Wonderland, by the way.  And if I choose not to go into school?  Well then on September 4th, when your child comes into my classroom, she will be greeted by bare walls, a pile of desks, and unpacked boxes instead of the colourful bulletin boards, gleaming table groups, organized "publishing centre" of pencils, markers, paper, your child's name on my front door, and more (most of which I bought with my non-tax deductible money) that you are not only used to, but that you expect.

Ms. Broten, can I use those three days as my three "unpaid professional development"?

If you agree with the above or if what I've said makes you at all question what the Ontario Government is doing, please contact your MPP on Monday when discussion on passing this act begins.  Because once its passed, its over.  And that scares the hell out of me.

271 comments:

  1. I don't think anyone questions the hard work done by teachers. I think what is questioned is the attitude that teachers are the only one's that work hard. That they are entitled to certain things that are not even possible in the real world. While you make 500 decisions about helping a child that is fighting with their friend or lost their lunch please keep in mind that surgeons make decisions that literally have life or death consequences (note: I'm a stay at home mom and school volunteer that helps to alleviate some of the stress in classrooms - not my own kids classrooms - where EAs are not available so I know and understand how classrooms work), police/fire/ambulance make life or death decisions on a daily basis and people in the private sector bust their butts just to keep their job. When I was working I had 5 sick days and 10 vacation days that could not be carried over. I had to use 3 for the high holy days each year, because these are not stat holidays as you mentioned. My job was 9-5 which really meant I was expected in at no later that 8am and many days I didn't leave until 9pm. When we had trade shows I often didn't leave work until midnight and worked all weekend - with no change or increase in pay for that extra time. Lunch was inhaled at my desk. If I wasn't willing to do this there were many unemployed people out there that would have loved to have my job.
    In these economic times - regardless of what caused us to be there - the teachers need to understand that things change. When times were good they got many perks, times are not good and there needs to be concessions made. With many people receiving pink slips in today's business environment, teachers should find themselves lucky with the amount of job security they get.
    My husband is self employed. The only pension he will get is what he personally contributes. If he doesn't work he doesn't get paid. He is responsible for other employee's pay and ultimately their livelihood. Sick days...ha...he doesn't get any. Oh, and he had to lay out his own personal money (or at least the banks through a business loan) to purchase his business which took money away from the family. We don't complain about any of this. That's how business and life goes! We don't think he is better than anyone else or works harder and he doesn't ask or look for sympathy from anyone....he just works hard.
    Again, I don't think anyone questions how hard a teacher works...I think we are all tired of hearing how much harder they think they work than any other employee out there.

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    1. Thank you for your comment and I agree with you on a lot of what you've said. My husband is also self-employed and thus, gets no sick days, benefits, and is responsible for the salaries of others. I k ow I am fortunate to have a job that provides health benefits to me and my family. I don't disagree that doctors, policemen, and fire fighters save lives; they're role is life and death in our world. But this isn't a contest to see whose job is more important. However, if you want to go there, if I didn't do my job well,there wouldn't be doctors or policemen or fire fighters. And I'm not saying that we shouldn't get a pay freeze or reduced sick days, I'm just saying that the fair thing for the government to do would be to allow us to negotiate our contracts, a right which is outlined in Canada's charter of rights and freedoms. I also think it would be nice if the government would be a bit more truthful and stop fear-mongering.

      I love being a teacher. I really do. I've also done the kind of job you had, with the trade shows and working way past quitting time. Sucks, doesn't it? But as I do love my job and love my students, I do it.

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    2. What makes a teacher/educator's role so vital is that we do not just put our time in and go home...what we do shapes and molds the future generations. Do you want your doctor or nurse having been taught by educators who just do what time/money allows or do you want someone who has been guided through crossroads that will impact them as adults? Teaching is not a 9-5 (which would be easier I'm sure than the 8-?? or holidays that aren't really that at all when report cards are due the first day back) and the "benefits" we reap do not come close to what we are doing...And FYI educators need 10+ sick days because parents will not keep their sick children home therefore we are sick ALL THE TIME!!!

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    3. Thanks for your support. I've had both my husband and best friend and mom spend the day with me in school and they all said they had no idea what it really meant to be a teacher until they spent the day as one. And they all agreed that everyone should have to spend one day in a teacher's shoes.

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    5. I have a hard time seeing your comparison between teacher's decisions and surgeon's decisions. Yes they both have consequences...Let's compare the salary of each though. Teachers across Canada make anywhere from $45,000 - $85,000 and surgeons make an average of $200,000 across Canada. Hardly comparable, yet both important jobs. It has nothing to do with how hard teachers think they work...it's the fact that there are similar jobs of similar importance who are paid much higher.

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    6. Teachers educated the police, fire and ambulance workers... as well as your husband.

      Job security... have you seen the news, there are no teaching jobs. I've been getting jobs semester to semester just to get by. It's been 5 years. One of my coworkers has been doing the same for 11 years! That's not secure.

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    7. If you had any idea whatsoever what it entails to go through medical school and residency, you wouldn't have written that paragraph

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    8. I'm glad to see that you know how hard and how much education teachers and EA's.... Which I've been for thirteen years... have had to endure to get where we are !! You choose your career as we did and like what you want to see your children get taught you work hard you reap the benefits!!! Have you ever worked five days a week in a Special Education classroom with children you have to face everyday and the exceptional students whom you know will never get the opportunities we have in life! Or the teenager whose home life is so bad they either try to throw a chair at you or tell you they don't want to live .. it goes on and on!!! So unless you been in the classrooms where there are amazing Teachers and EA's then I'm sorry you don't know!!!!!

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    9. My Simple Question to you is, what type of education do you have? How many years have you spent working towards a university degree? Your Masters? Specializations? Principal Qualifications? Additional Qualifications? PHD?

      Because correct me if I am wrong, (and I may be) but it seems as though you are comparing apples to oranges. I am a teacher, I have my masters in education and am going through the VERY long and expensive process of becoming a principal. I have 7 years that I spent in University, studying, cramming, writing, rewriting, and stressing to ensure that I can be where I am today... Then after those 7 years, I have spent every summer since I became a teacher and "got summers off" paying for and taking extra courses to get to where I am now. I make 82,000 a year. And I have no problem telling the world that, its a very good salary and will continue to go up as I continue to work at improving myself.

      I am not saying that teachers are the only people that do this process, but I would like to believe that this is what we are being paid for as well... When you take your education to the next level, and strive for a higher education... the opportunities are endless, and you can recieve many perks. When you decide to go into the workplace at the age of 18 with a highschool diploma, you create heartache for yourself. Sad but true, its the decisions based on education that people make that place them in the positions they are in. Hardwork does pay off and teachers are by no means the only hardworking people in the world... yes...agreed. I have many friends that finished highschool and started work the fllowing week in a local factory. They never paid for tuition, books, student loans or anything else that I AM STILL PAYING FOR. but they also now make much less than I do and they do not get as much time off, sick days, benifit packages. Is that my fault??

      Higher education really pays off.

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    10. To the Anonymous 12:29 a.m. respondent on Aug.26: Thank you for being a sensible voice of reason and for expressing nicely what many of us feel. Everyone appreciates teachers and the hard, sometimes thankless job that they do. But as a professional cohort of people, surely no one else whines as much about their pay and work conditions, except maybe postal workers, as teachers do. You are absolutely right, in good economic times, the perqs are generous and teachers do things like buy a second home or a cottage on the lake. Many of the older teachers are well set up, financially. How'd they get that way? By sticking with it through good times and bad. Now times are tough (I'm in Maine, USA) and everybody, including the taxpayers who pay your salaries and deal with your tough union bargains, have to buck-up, suck it up, and tighten the reins on spending or cities go bankrupt. Literally. Teachers, we love you, but be glad you have a job and stop complaining for a change. The rest of us have to, but don't have big, well-greased union to fight our contracts for us. We just go to work and do our jobs.

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    11. OK, so my wife is an Paramedic, and on any given day she can get called to a bar fight where she has to take an extremely drunk and combative patient to the hospital, then get's to do CPR on someone else for an hour in the back of a moving ambulance for him to die right in front of her, then have fire help them lift a rolled vehicle to get to the crushed guy underneath who wasn't wearing his seatbelt when he drove off the road and that the next crew after her were called to a 3 year old drowning. To boot they earn about the same as teachers. Does she whine to the world, no, it is the job she chose to do in the world we live in. What about the people in retail who work 9 hours a day stocking shelves, unloading trucks and dealing with customers who are increasingly stupid and angry for a third of the money teachers make. Think back to the good teachers when you were in school, they enjoyed their job, had a smile on their face and took a serious interest in the kids, those teacher are the difference makers. I don't remember any teachers who I would put into that category ever complaining about their jobs, the ones in high school didn't even want to strike even against the Harris government. They just wanted to do their jobs. (My favourite teacher in high school even said 'if you don't like it quit' in response to the work-to-rule) The last line in this response hits the nail on the head, no one saying your jobs not tough, but so is everyone else's. Think about this, if you go home with a sour attitude, your spouse and children will likely become sour as well. So if a teacher standing in front of a class is sour, what kind of students are coming out of their class.

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    12. As a retired teacher, all I can say is BRAVA for you! Every single point that you made is bang on! Thank you for taking the time to explain the situation so very well.

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    13. I think that the point is being missed. I will start by saying that yes, I am a teacher. I will be going into my third school year this year, and absolutely love my job, 14 hour work days and all (yes, during the school year I usually get to work at 7:30am, and work until about 9:30 at night, planning and marking... and for those who are curious, I make about 52,000 a year). Yes, we can all agree that a pay freeze sucks, no matter your profession. Yes, all jobs have their ups and downs, and you deal with them and get over it because you love your job. If you can't deal with it, change jobs. The uproar and the outrage amongst the majority of the teachers (in ONTARIO, mind you... the province that the blog is referring to... I can't tell you what goes on elsewhere in Canada or in the States) is how teachers have been raked over the coals by our Minister of Education and Premier. Lies are being told in the media (our local newspaper published a piece about teachers cashing out their sick days upon retiring... this hasn't been the case since 1980) and our rights under the Labour Relations Act are being taken away. The government has refused to negotiate with the teachers unions, and as a result, they have decided to legislate what they want. As teachers, we know a good case of school yard bullying when we see it. Although I feel that our pay does not necessarily reflect the work we put in, I can understand that a pay freeze may be necessary. Fine. I can understand why 20 sick days may seem excessive, but please keep in mind that we do not get vacation days to use as we'd like (my aunt passed away in June and I couldn't go to her funeral because I couldn't afford to be out of my classroom). The thing that scares me is the precedent that this starts, and how undemocratic it all seems. What a great solution... if you can't negotiate, just legislate!

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    14. Why are you comparing doctors and firefighters to teachers? Let's compare the prime minister to doctors and starving people in Africa to Canadians. Better yet, your self employed husband who is in a totally different category to those employed in the public sector. What happens next? Everyone jumps up and defends their position, hard work, schooling, and training.

      Let's stick to the basics. We are talking about teachers. They are negotiating their terms. They deserve to have pay increases and perks. Everybody in society aims to progress upwards with time. Let's support the people whO care for our children while we are at work. Teaching is not an easy job. They take home their work and they raise many of our children. If you know what it is like to raise 2 or 3 kids, you can appreciate raising 10, 20, of 30. Support your educators during their time in negotiation. STOP comparing them selfishly to yourselves. This is not about you.

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  2. If you can afford to be a stay at home Mom, then it sounds as if hubby's business isn't doing too badly! In all of this there is no mention of the fact that teachers and their unions have accepted a zero percent wage increase (in fact a 1.5% pay decrease). What is SO ugly is the way our friend Dalton has chosen to circumvent the process of collective bargaining as a way to gain political points in his 2 upcoming by-elections. I strongly suspect that if teacher unions begin a court challenge to this Draconian piece of legislation they will win even if it progresses to the Supreme Court of Canada. Teachers did not create Ontario's deficit problems but are being targeted to solve them. Teachers are workers, taxpayers, parents, siblings, spouses not simply targets of political will. All of this, I hope, sounds respectful of the comments you have posted!

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    1. Thank you for your comments and uderstanding. I am glad you recognize what's fair and what's right. And 10 years from now, when there is a shortage of good teachers because no on wants to go into teaching anymore, I know you'll understand why.

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    2. Why, exactly, would "no one want to go into teaching anymore"? When the dust settles over the current battle teaching will still be a job with a good income, good benefits and, hopefully, a feeling that one is doing something of value.

      As to teachers accepting the "wage freeze" that's not the same as a freeze in total teacher compensation, right? Moving up the grid still generates an increase in wage costs as does banking cashable sick days.

      The government is trying to impose a real "0" increase on about 1 million other public employees so an increase by other means is pretty hard to sell. As to needing sick days to cover religious holidays; that's not really applicable across the board.

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    3. I'm sorry Cayla,

      I appreciate your frustration as many of my friends are teachers. Having said that, I see the lifestyle my teacher friends have. The joy and satisfaction they have in their jobs because they are making a difference and still get paid fairly well. Think of all the people who are doing jobs they hate, making less or more money than you are but don't have the weekends, the evenings and most importantly the summers to relax and enjoy life after it all. At the end of the day, while I value the important role teachers have in society, I think you very much take for granted how well you have it. If you want to consider your job a public service as you say there would be no doctors, firemen etc without teachers, well then all the more reason why contracts can be non-negotiable. What you lack in negotiation you receive in time off. Not being able to take a lunch or a moment for quiet is shitty, but what time does your day end? Many of us eat lunch in front of our computers or not at all, and don't get to come home to our loved ones until 7:00-10:00pm.

      Furthermore, $800 for a course is a fairly reasonable price given what masters degrees and other education costs are these days. For the rest of us to upgrade ourselves it often takes a lot more time and funding and we can't use our summers to do it.

      I can honestly say, from where I stand it looks like you have things pretty good. I hope you start to recognize who and what is important in all this.

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    4. Actually, the government DOES intend to apply a freeze in total teacher compensation. We would NOT be compensated for movement up the grid. Example, a teacher has taken extra courses (paid for by themself) to bump them up the grid to the next education level, and they would not be able to be paid for this jump. Example 2: for the first 12 years of teaching, teachers move up a pay scale for each additional year of teaching experience. This would not be recognized or paid for either for two years.

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    5. While I support teachers in some of their points, I do think you have it better than others. I really think your opposition of your bankable sick days shows a lack of compassion for the rest of the province's workers. I lost my sick days years ago when things started getting tough. My husband has never even had them. And a pay raise every year? Do you realize how many people out there would LOVE to get a payraise once in a while. There are a lot of people who don't. Ever. So complaining about not being able to bank sick days or pay freezes gain no sympathy from me. And the fact that every time your contract negotiations come up there is so much arguing, complaining, and protest talks wears the rest of the population down. Especially those (much higher in numbers now) who don't have a job any longer due to the downturn of the economy. How many of them would love a chance to take the contract the government is offering just to have a job? How many of the supply teachers or people just graduating teacher's college would love your jobs? While I don't agree with the government as a whole, and I agree teachers work hard it seems like teachers need to take a long hard look at the finances of their employer and realize cuts have to be made somewhere. The rest of us taxpayers have had to do it already and continue to do it. That's what you get for choosing the taxpayer as your employer.

      And on a side note, if you're not going to be able to move up the grid when you take extra courses, then you do have the option of not paying for and taking those extra courses until it does. Yes, that means your experience and education does not grow, but you do have the option. Are you doing it for the betterment of your students, or for a payraise?

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    6. Everyone has great points here. I work for a big player in the Global Fincial services industry (just a support job so I'm not a big fish). I have few benefits and have seen ups and downs interms of income and have never really had job security.

      Quality is important but...I can tell everyone on this site one thing for certain...10 years from now it won't really matter who is doing the teaching or anything else, if our country and provinces cannot get a handle on the public debt that our generation (and those before us) has amassed. We can crank out the smartest and best, but if our governments start to issue more and more bonds to finance hospitals, schools, roads, etc.....eventually you'll get to the point where no one wants to buy these bonds any more. The is exactly what is happening in many European countries today.

      So...teachers, doctors, or anyone else's job financed by public debt...do whatever...get your sick days....get raises (or cuts)...in the end the only responsible thing if you care about your children will be if these actions create an environment for them in which they can apply their skills instead of rioting for lack of work, services and pensions.

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  3. I think that ANY interference in the negotiation process by the government is tantemount to a dictatorship. I've seen my own contract be negotiated by arbitration, which basically equals a contract forced on a group that rejected it. Equals a loss for all workers. I totally support teachers, especially those who are teaching because it's what they are made for. I am grateful for the good teachers my daughter has had and hopefully, my son will too. My dad spent over 30 years in education, as a teacher, a principal and in administration. I am baffled to understand why the Liberal gov't is getting involved when there is no strike going on. I am fearful for the future of any jobs where you negotiate for a raise, or vacation or sick days. It seems more often than not, the government is getting involved and it's the workers who end up losing. Not the executives or the shareholders or the government. The general population who complain about unions or workers rights have now understanding of our history as a country. Maybe they didn't have the great teachers I did. Good luck to the teachers out there.... I'm writing my MPP in support of you, not the Liberal government troding over your rights.

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  4. It is awful that there are people out there who feel as though they have to go outside their job description every day just to ensure that they have a job. I understand that in this "real world" you speak of, there are pressures and expectations to complete a job or risk losing it all. I also understand that you too, can fight for your rights and clear expectations from your employer. I also understand that you too, can organize your fellow employees to ensure that those pressures and expectations are realistic, and improve your job satisfaction (which has been proven as a contributor to productivity). We all have the right to collectively fight for our freedoms and ensure that our employers are doing what they are supposed to, under law, and as people. Teachers have been fighting this fight for decades, and have the rights, and as you call them, "perks", because of decades of give and take with our employers. We took a smaller raise at the beginning of the current contract because of the economic issues the province was facing. We have already agreed to a wage freeze, to "do our part". I wonder, though, if decades of negotiation mean nothing to the government and much of the population here and now, will they care when Education in Ontario becomes the same as in Wisconsin or Oregon? Will the government or population, who for a very long time have been able to pat themselves on the back because we have one of the best education systems on the planet, care when we start to see a decline, as experienced teachers leave the profession, get burned out, or stop putting in all of those volunteer extras?

    I do not want to make it sound as if we are superior than anyone else, we are not. Every job done in our society is important. Without the support staff at the school, our jobs would be impossible. Without the receptionists and nurses, a doctor would never make it. In my job, I have the direct pressure and expectations of over 300 people to worry about, including my principal, parents of my students, my family, other teachers who I work with, and most importantly, the group of 11-14 year olds I work with every day. As every parent knows, those with the highest expectations are those that can't do it for themselves and require support. That group will work with me, and me with them, daily for the next ten months. I have to balance their expectations and pressures, along with those of their parents, my principal and Board of Education, as well as those of my wife and two children. Now, thanks to the Government of Ontario (it is not just Mr. McGuinty or Ms. Broten, it is all of the responsibility of politicians), I have to balance all of those expectations and pressures while fending off attacks from people I don't know, who are not clearly educated on the issue, and are against me and my colleagues just because I go to work and collect a paycheque. I am a skilled professional, just like a doctor, lawyer or nurse. No, I do not get shot at or bled on, but that does not mean that my contribution to society is less than theirs. I do not carry a weapon into battle, I do not have to worry about chasing down criminals, and I get to return home to my family each night, and I am thankful for it.

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    1. In some schools, you are shot at and beld on!

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    2. Our job is to properly educate kids so they don't go around shooting at people. Bleeding on people we can't really help.

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  5. To finish my comment:

    I chose my profession. By going to University, taking several courses, spending a year teaching in the far north of Ontario and searching for a full time job for 4 years, I finally have what I wanted. The opportunity to get in front of over 150 children each week, volunteer dozens of hours each year to coaching and running tournaments, and getting to know your children because they are interesting people. I love my job, just as I hope you all do. I have worked very hard at what I do, just as I expect all of you do as well. My profession, just like doctors, firefighters and nurses, have been working with governments of all kinds for decades to get where we are. We have worked with them, and they have worked with us, sometimes it is easy, sometimes it is not. All we want is the chance to work with the government, and continue to do what we love. The Government of Ontario does not want to work with us, but we, somehow, are portrayed as the villains.

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  6. The simple fact is, teachers like many people work very very hard. The other simple fact is that teachers in Ontario have negotiated a fair contract, and now the liberal govt is negating the normal process of "negotiations". Any contract signed these days is basically under "duress". Sign or you lose your job, Sign or we outsource your job.

    Every industry has had their compensation clawed back over the last 30 yrs, and organizations that have held on to that are now seen as greedy. Unions are being systematically destroyed, workers are seen as widgets, and people , including everyone's children are simply an accounting issue.

    When governments fail, the simplest thing to do is to turn people against each other, it keeps them busy.

    When I drop my daughter off this September, I want to know that she is in a class with a well motivated, well paid, and well educated professional.

    Keep up the good work teachers!

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    1. Wow, this was a kind and heartfelt reply. Thank you. Your words are very encouraging.

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  7. To anyone who feels compelled to comment, thank you, thank you, thank you! Please share your thoughts with your MPP as well. It is really easy to find them& their contact info. It can all be googled and they all have twitter and/or email contact info on their website. For my riding (Ave & Lawerence) contact Mike Colle.

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  8. Thank you Cayla for starting this discussion. What I don't understand is how Dalton has set himself up as the Education Premier yet can not support the people who implement the ministries strategies and programs. Does the public know that because of all these new initiatives that we spend less time in the classroom with our students than in past years? Do they know that we use time outside of our work day and our personal money to create plans and purchase new resources to implement these new best practices because we HAVE our students' best interests at heart.

    I can appreciate that we as teachers do have to consider changes - as one reader said - to our perks because we more than likely are one of the last professions to be affected by the down economy. I am very thankful for my job security. However, I don't believe that legislating those changes is fair. What about other unions? If this legislation passes, what prevents the Ontario government from using this as a precedent for our nurses, doctors or police in an effort to save money?

    Let's be frank. The Liberal government got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. The Drummond report outlined their spending practices. The media reported on only the highest, health and education which are the greatest spending areas for ALL provinces and also the greatest concerns to TAXPAYERS. In order to save face, the Liberal government is attacking the easiest target, teachers. You have to admit that we are perceived as having a cushy job because we get our summers off and have a work day from 9 to 3:30. Those of you who are teachers or live with teachers or are close to teachers know that this simply isn't the case. Yet, I also know that we will not gain any sympathy if I list what I truly do. Just know that I work longer hours and more weeks than you think because your child's learning and future are my first priority.

    My question is, Dalton, what happened to the money that you spent on all the tv ads that explained to the Ontario people the effects the Liberal governments' changes to education? You talked about improved graduation rates and all day every day kindergarten. Were you the one teaching the courses to those at-risk high school students? Where you the one thinking of all the ways to improve your school so the at-risk students in elementary school would be more successful in high school? Where you the one creating those critical learning pathways to improve the literacy and numeracy of the students of Ontario that supposedly the very expensive EQAO system evaluates? Where you the one that created inquiry opportunities from the interests of 26 to 30 plus 3 to 5 year olds everyday all day?

    We are not protesting that changes need to be made to the financial structure of education but we are protesting what feels like an attack by a government who pandered for votes by being "education-friendly." As taxpayers, we have to stop and think, "Are the changes being proposed truly because the current provincial government has the best interest of our children and students at heart or is there a political agenda to take the spotlight off of their poor budgeting and spending in other areas and put the spotlight on those "unreasonable" teachers?"

    I wish we had the threat of "if you do this, just you see what happens" but in truth, despite what happens, I will still put in the 3-4 hours extra a day, the 3-4 weeks in the summer, the $2000 dollars of my income into my work simply because I love what I do and I hold the best interests of the students PARAMOUNT in my mind and heart.

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    1. You also spend your own money in your classroom due to funding cuts to pay for unproven programs like full day kindergarten and learning-to-18. If you want to continue to do your job well, and to do your standard, you pull out your own personal VISA card to do it.

      BUT, I can't see this continuing. Teachers will respond, and the best response is a strong but silent one. It is a profession that has a remarkable ability to be passive aggressive. Dalton is being the bully, but the strong silent types always beat the bully.

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    2. I hate that I'm actually writing this. I am a teacher and completely agree with your arguments, but when you repeatedly make the same mistakes in your spelling ('where' at the beginning of your questions instead of 'were'), well.....let's just say it doesn't portray teachers in the best light.

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    3. Hence why we ensure the students edit before they publish. This will make a great anecdote in class.

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  9. I don't think anyone has taken away the right to negotiate a new contract, just the right to hold children and families hostage while you do so.

    I believe teachers work hard, I also believe that with their education, they could easily find jobs in the private sector.

    Of course, those jobs wouldn't have 90,000 a year salaries (probably ever), nor would they have ANY sick time, much less the ability to bank that time AND have it paid out. Nor would those jobs have more than 2-3 weeks of paid holiday time per year - which aren't guaranteed, but rather dependent on "the needs of the business".

    We get it - teaching is a hard job, so are lots of other jobs, but as public service workers, you must be held accountable for your time, the energy you spend, and ultimately, they tax-payers dollar.

    Stop whining, or find a new career, that's what happens in the real world.

    P.S. - as a well educated, well paid, educator, you should be aware it's "time lost DUE to your absence" ... sigh.

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    1. If you are going to make judgement calls on Carla's spelling, then take a look at your own work...and I quote" and ultimately, they tax-payers dollar"...I do believe it should read "the tax-payer's dollar"...SIGH.

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    2. Right, because attacking this person's spelling is easier than making a real point...

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    3. The real point here is teachers have nothing else to bargin with except for the children. Teachers can make all the point as shallow as they are, these children are being used as bargining chips for more money which is not available. I am all for being able to strike, but not in these economic time as weary and unpredictable as they are. I am also pretty sure that Daltun McGuinty would have never suggested a back to work type legislation if times didn't call for it, parents can't afford to pay for 2 months of daycare or babysitting while teachers strike and the province can't afford to have to deal with this at this time. Teachers are great but at this point you guys should have to "struggle" along with the rest of us till times get better.....

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    4. Very few teachers make $90,000 Maybe after 20yrs of taching and lots of AQ courses but very few get to that point. just saying.

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    5. Why is it that the general public seems to focus on this $90,000/year figure instead of educating themselves on the facts. I have been a teacher in Ontario for 7 years now and I have never taken home a salary that comes close to half this amount! For me personally, what I find about a lot of the public's discussions on this struggle with teachers is that they really don't understand the first thing about what it is like specifically for newer teachers coming in to the profession or who have been teaching less than 10 years. The crisis in education has nothing to with what the government would have the public believe. The crisis in education in Ontario is about the fact that the universities continue to 'educate' (read take our money) teachers and churn them out at a ridiculous rate without a hope in hell of getting any kind of permanent job that they can sustain a family on for at least 10 years. And please don't say that it's just because more teachers need to retire. For every teacher that retires in this province there are 7,000 teachers out there without a job. How will those numbers ever balance out? According to the Liberal government a first year teacher can expect to make $45,000/year. In my first year of teaching I made a whopping $18,000. What the public doesn't realize is that it’s a long haul for teachers once they graduate. IF they are lucky enough to land a spot on a supply list they could be on it for a year or 2 struggling to get enough work to pay bills before they can then land an LTO that could be anywhere from a few weeks guaranteed work to a few months to a year if they are lucky. And during the 3-8 years on average that it takes to find full time employment, we are busting our butts and spending thousands of dollars taking professional development course so we can be the best at what we do. We don’t get paid if we are not in the classroom – just like anyone else. Summers are anxious times of searching for summer employment so we can go back and plug away at it again in September. And we do it for your kids. We do it because we believe in educating our young people.

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    6. I have tried very hard to stay out of the debates concerning what "the Dalton and his Puppets" are attempting to do, but after reading the letter from annonymous suggesting that the teachers stop whinning or find a new job, I can no longer hold my toungue.
      I raised 3 children in Ontario schools, and I am sad to say that the involvement of the government has caused our educational system to decline slowly but most assuredly. I have witnessed the amount of time teachers have stayed to help students to the detrement of their own family. I know of no other employee, in either the public or private sector, that would continually put in the amount of time that teachers do, without being compensated for it. No other employee would spend their own money never to be reimbursed, yet all one needs to do is visit any dollar store or teacher supply store to watch committed teachers spend more and more of their own money to help your children.
      From being a mom of 3 graduated students, I have become the very proud mom of a teacher. Here is a small sampling of what this teacher has done for her students...your child:
      - Spent countless evening and weekends at the school helping her
      kids prepare for school productions
      - Have her father come into the school to help the kids prepare sets and
      stages that are safe for your child
      - Have her fiance spend countless hours driving,
      shopping.bringing meals,basically being her legs when she
      was too busy helping your child to do these errands which
      were for the sole purpose of benefitting your child
      - Spend many, many nights and weekends preparing students to take part
      in competitions for drama, simply because your child wanted to
      - Invest thousands of dollars, many, many thousands of dollars to get
      the education necessary to be able to teach your child
      - During her summer vacation, spend not only thousands more of her hard
      earned money, but her much deserved vacation taking many more
      courses to constantly improve her ability to teach your child
      - And while we're talking about her vacation, remember that she doesn't
      have the luxury of choosing when she would like to take that
      vacation
      Years back the teachers in our area spent a couple of hours protesting the government's actions outside the local MPP's office, and I am proud to say I joined them at the protest...which I must point out was held after school hours, so as not to interrupt the school day.
      To this point in time, I have not heard of ANY schoolboard threatened with a strike, it is simply the government who is implying that the teachers will not be there on the first day of school. The teachers are more than willing to continue teaching while the union settles their contracts. In fact, striking is the absolute last thing any of these teachers want.
      So before you go calling the teachers whiners, please take the time to actually talk to a teacher. Find out the true facts. They don't plan on taking your children or your family hostage. But then again, remember that the last time there was an interruption in the education system, which by the way was the governments doing, they had no problem wasting more tax dollars by sending each family 'missed days reimbursements', without even finding out which families were indeed put under a financial strain. Who knows, 'the Dalton and the Puppets" may end up providing your Christmas money this year!



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    7. Thank you for your defence of our profession. Your daughter sounds like she does a fantastic job with the drama program at her school. I wish her continued strength and perseverance. What a great gift she is imparting to her students. Before I became a teacher I worked for a program director and as a business owner and as a kinesiologist. I worked hard in all my professions and enjoyed each one. Yet, I didn't work nearly as hard or as long as I do as a teacher and I love it!

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    8. Someone above mentioned that 7000 teachers are out of work in Ontario. My first thought is, why would the gov't increase its cost when clearly it could hire new teachers at the current rate or less? Seems like a waste of public money to pay more for a service than is necessary. By paying more than what the current supply situation would dictate the gov't is forced to provide less of other kinds of services. The amount of tax revenue available to the gov't isn't infinite. The fact that teachers "love" their profession dosen't increase their utility to society or the scarcity of their services, so why pay more?

      My second thought is why are all these people so intent on remaining teachers if they consider themselves poorly compensated for their time and services? Certainly they could find more gainful employment in another occupation and the reduction in the number of teachers would increase the scarcity of their skill set and cause wages and security to go up for those that remain.

      Why should teachers be paid a higher salary than the market will bear? Clearly if there are unemployed trained teachers there is a glut in the market and prices should drop if anything. Why should society provide such privledges to teachers, simply because the teachers feel they deserve them?

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  10. You got me with that whole "due" thing; you're right. I didn't have someone edit my work; something I always tell my students to do. People make mistakes, though. I am pretty proud, though, that that was the only error you could find in my rant.

    As for "holding children hostage"? Exactly how were we doing that? We were not threatening to strike; we really, really don't want to strike.

    For the record:
    1. I do not get 90 000 per year
    2. I do not get 2-3 weeks paid vacation; I don't get "paid" during the time we're off.
    3. The pay-out program is a grandfathered program and I am not eligible for it, nor is any other teacher who started his/her career the same time as I did.
    4. My job is the real world. How is it not? I've never understood why people tell teachers about life in the "real world". What exactly do you think we do all day? How is educating future doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.. not being in the "real world?"
    5. I am not at all debating that teachers should be held accountable but YOUR government even wants to take THAT away by making standardized provincial assessments for students optional, based on whether or not the teacher wants to administer it. How is that the province making us teachers more accountable? Quite the opposite, in fact.
    6. Would you really want the most educated, most capable teachers working in the private sector and leave the duds to teach? Or would you rather have an educated, intelligent, and dedicated individual teaching your child?

    PS. Did it ever occur to you that the proposed bill doesn't save money re: salaries at all? The government stated that if a deal is not signed and our contracts roll over, teachers will get raises. Their proposed bill states that the only teachers who will get raises will be those moving up the salary grid…which is exactly what would have happened anyways since the only teachers who would've received raises would've been those moving up the salary grid.

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    1. So instead of getting paid over the 2 months of vacation you get, you are paid your salary over 10 months instead of 12. Sounds like teachers need to be taught how to manage money.

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    2. I think the facts are very blurred when it comes to what we do and how much we make. I made 31,000 last year - and I don't care, I love my job. What Dalton is trying to do is to take away our years of experience - my experience doesn't count. When reading these comments I see a lot of people saying how we need to recognize these are hard times and we need to take a cut too. I would 100% agree to a 1% decrease in salary if the MP's would be willing to do the same. I know many people see "teachers" as the enemy, but I would ask any of them to think about the teachers they had that made a difference in their world. Sometimes we are all a child has. I would urge anyone to not only watch the political agenda McGuinty is throwing at as, but to listen to the problems from BOTH sides. This has nothing to do with hard economic times - this is dripping in political agenda.

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  11. Instead complaining about what teachers do and not do and for how much...just remember you too had the opportunity to become one!

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    1. That's because she had "good" teachers!....oh ya..also dedicated and hard working and caring. Wow! I sure want to know that when I send my children to school that they r being taught by teachers that feel they r being treated fairly...and not beaten down by dirty politics. Nothing worse than an unhappy, burned out teacher....

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    2. I agree! The profession is open to everyone!

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  12. The Liberal government bought the teachers vote. Now that the province of Ontario cannot afford to keep up with how much education is costing us taxpayers he's had to turn on you. I work a full time job. Not a teacher and work pay cheque to pay cheque and most likely will for many years like so many Canadians. Unfortunately who pays for your salary? We do and if we can barely afford to make ends meet then should we not have the ability to come to an agreement that is fair for us taxpayers. Though your argument is for the government it really is us taxpayers that are saying hold up here.
    Also I have been in school twice now where there have been strikes. One in high school the other in college and its super frustrating as a student to be put through that. Especially in college/university when we are paying so much to be there but do the teachers think about that when they call their strike days.

    In the past if the teachers wanted to negotiate it was either do this or we walk. McGuinty has finally woken up - too bad its because of the elections in the few ridings coming up but he is starting to understand that we tax payers are sick of seeing the teachers and other unions go on strike especially when we are in such bad economic times. If you don't know about the recession or what is happening in Europe I suggest you really think about what this will actually cost us. Though I do not agree that you shouldn't be able to negotiate with the government I do agree that I am sick of these strikes.

    At this day in age unions are becoming much more me,me,me instead of us,us,us. Your boss is Ontario and it is getting ridiculous with the amount we are dishing out and although new teachers may not have some of these benefits there are a lot that do. You know that some retired teachers with the help of substituting classes here and there can make over their salary then when they were a teacher.

    I love teachers, but it's not the government you hurt when you go on strike its the kids (I was one of them)I'm not meaning this in a mean way I understand where your coming from, but the spending has gotten out of hand and needs to be reigned in.

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    1. Just for the record, unions have always been about the members, nobody else. But happy teachers = happy classrooms. The working conditions of a teacher are the learning conditions of your child.

      I am also glad you pay my salary. For the record, I pay part of my own salary in the taxes I pay as well. And that salary will be frozen for the next 2 years to pay for other children to have full day kindergarten (not my own...they didn't get this perk). I, like 99.9% of teachers, accept the freeze as doing "our part".

      I agree that teachers only hurt kids when they strike. Which is why the unions have stated, plainly and openly, that there are NO plans for a strike, and the OSSTF even called off strike votes to prove it. But I can guarantee you that unhappy teachers are far, far worse for your kid than a strike could ever be. A strike is over in a few days; this legislation will leave a lasting impact on the profession, on teacher morale, and the ability of the profession to attract good people.

      Remember, as I said, a teacher's working conditions are your child's learning conditions.

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    2. Full day kindergarten...now there's a subject! Millions of dollars to put in place, renovate schools, hire ECE teachers so that the public doesn't have to pay for child care...hmmmm...that could be a good place to cut!

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    3. I am an ECE and I understand how a teacher works hard becuase in my classroom I work just as hard. The unfortunit thing is many people dont see that an ECE is just as important as a teacher is. Having the full day kindergarten has given job opportunities that pay well for ECE's. It is a great break for parents that I understand even though I know it affects child care centres. It is a program that I would be really upset to see be cut. I often question why teachers are complaining about their jobs and why the strikes happen. I understand how losing the right to discuss your own contract is not "fair" but when you go on strike it is not fair to the children for that time missed. I know it has been said that there is no thought of strike i am just saying in general. And for you to say that you do not get paid for your time off, you get paid on salary not hourly. If I was paid a salary instead of hourly I wouldnt be so upset with the many hours I am working to make my classroom as best as I can and to do my program plans and my progress reports and making new games. I also spend many of my own dollars on classroom items becuase that is the kind of person I am. These discussions between people and teachers (or people who are on the teachers side) really get to me becasue the point is no matter where you are on the pay scale for a teacher your starting wage is still a very nice place to start. you get PA days, christams, summer. I get paid for 8 hours 5 days a week. I get normal stat days and 2 weeks vacation. I can start as early as 7 and work as late as 6 depending on my shift but am constantly working at home, on my lunch, staying late to set up something special in my classroom. I still do professional development courses to continue my education. We dont strike, We dont get paid much more then Min wage, We dont make the news about discagreements with our contracts and such. just my opinion.

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    4. My wife is an ECE in the classroom as well, so I know that you do work hard. The thing is that you can't compare the wages. Teachers need at least two university degrees, while an ECE needs a two-year diploma. It costs much more to get into teaching than it does to be an ECE.

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    5. A lot of people are saying that teachers are 'complaining' about their jobs, but read the actual comments .. there's no complaining, they are just trying to defend themselves! People bash teachers for their time off and their pay, and they assume the job is easy. Teachers are just trying to point out that the pay is justified (those of you who don't agree need to actually go volunteer in a classroom and see what they do before you bash, bash, bash), they aren't complaining! And to clear up a few of these misconceptions, teachers work on PA days, and we aren't paid for the summer.

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    6. And as an ECE, you are NOT doing the planning and prep, you are NOT responsible for report cards and running records, you are NOT responsible for marking, you are NOT responsible for parent phone calls and conferences, and the buck does NOT stop with you. I highly value the work that EAs provide in the classroom, but the jobs are not comparable at all. This government is completely backward - the all-day kindergarten (an unneccesary and, for some kids, harmful program) should be the first cost-savings cut. People should purchase their own childcare and that money should be spent on educating rather than baby-sitting.

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  13. I am a high school teacher. I also worked in "the real world" in sales and marketing for many years. The FACTS are that I still have yet to earn as much as I did in my last few years in "the real world", because I was good at it and was remunerated based on performance. I changed careers for job satisfaction and accepted the pay CUT that came with it, knowing that I was doing what I wanted to do.

    My caution is this - I, like many others in my shoes, am starting to wonder if I made the right choice. In my 12 years of teaching (yes, 12 years ago I was making 6 figures in marketing) I've been criticized for being lazy, overpaid, coddled, etc. OK, not to my face (I'm a big guy after all) but online, in commentaries, etc. I can take it, but only for so long.

    Maybe other teachers aren't so lucky, but I CAN go back to the "real world" and increase my remuneration. I've had offers, and I am currently seriously debating between accepting one or taking my Principal's courses. Many talented university grads will make a similar decision about grad school this year, and I can guarantee you the best and the brightest will pass on teacher's college as the profession is increasingly dragged through the mud, and choose a career in "the real world" or move onto law school, med school, etc instead.

    You reap what you sew Ontario, and calling for cutting pay and benefits has a price. Southern states who do not value teachers and pay them less than a WalMart greeter get what they pay for; low test scores, high dropout rates, high unemployment and underemployment rates. 15 years from now when every teacher your kid has is substandard, just remember "the good old days" when teachers were respected, fairly compensated, and were allowed to negotiate their contracts within the boundaries of the law.

    Remember; Ontario teachers are well paid, although not the best paid in Canada. Ontario teachers are willing to "do their part" and take a 2 year pay freeze to ensure the province can balance its books. Ontario teachers have not taken strike votes, and haven't even remotely hinted they won't be back at work Sept 4.

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    1. Nicely stated. As a teacher myself, I am personally grateful that I have a job. I understand that times are tough, and we need to make some concessions with regards to our salaries and increases to them. I am even fine with no longer carrying over sick days (to be completely honest), as long as I still have enough to meet the needs of myself and my children if we are sick during the school year. I do think that it should be noted that the pay-out of sick days upon retirement is not equal to payment for each and every day that was unused. It is a percentage to a maximum. I don't even know if I agree that we should be able to strike, to be completely honest, as our service is an essential one. But I do think that we have a right to expect fair and honest treatment from the Provincial Government. I don't believe that it is right for certain members of the government to spin our negotiations in such a way as to make the general public believe that this is all about a salary increase, and that we have in fact even voted for and agreed to strike. It has been a complete misrepresentation of the truth. I happen to live in the current Education Minister's riding. She didn't have my vote last election, and she definitely will not have my vote at the next election either. If I could ask her one question at this point it would be what sacrifices she has made to her compensation package to help the province during this time of economic hardship? It would actually be interesting to know if any of our elected mpp's have willingly taken reductions in their salaries, or sacrificed any of their benefit packages to help with the budget. Maybe they have. Maybe they haven't. I honestly don't know. In reality, we all need to make sacrifices for the greater good of the province and the budget and I will agree to do part of it, but not all, if others working in all levels of the government do as well. My job is important. So are the jobs of many other people. I do get perks like 2 weeks at Christmas, March Break, and the summer off. Many others also have 3 weeks vacation. It should be made clear though, that the summer vacation is not a "paid vacation" in the traditional sense. I do get paid over the summer, that is true, but it is because the board holds a portion of my 10 month salary back so that they can pay me over 12 months. Which by the way, saves tax payer dollars because I am not eligible to apply for e.i each and every summer as a result the way other seasonal employees can. I am grateful for this as I wouldn't want to go through the hassle of applying for the program. But I'm just saying.

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  14. Teachers sure are quick to claim the right to collectively negotiate/bargain as a union group, but ought to put some of that "fancy edumacatin" to work in examining the differences between public and private sector unions, and understanding why the government MUST sometimes stand firm on what they can afford, even if it requires legislation.

    In the private sector, when workers and management bargain over contracts (including salaries and other benefits), both have an incentive to compromise. If the workers demand too much, then the business becomes unprofitable and it will close. If the employer demands too much (ie workers get too little), then workers strike and the employer makes no money at all. (Also, this opens the door for the competition.)

    In the public sector, however, there is no incentive for workers to compromise. They can ask whatever they want, and the government will never "go out of business". There is no competition to speak of, and governments are often inclined to be more generous than the private sector would, in order to obtain peaceful labour relations and keep from inconveniencing the voting public.

    Sometimes, it's necessary for an employer (in this case, the province) to stipulate what it is willing to pay, rather than allow some arbitrator to declare what he/she thinks it ought to pay. If teachers are unhappy with the salaries on offer (which are still more generous than comparable private sector salaries for similar educatiion/experience), then they can quit and find another job. I suspect none will do that.

    PS: To address some specific points the author of this blog makes:

    1) If the sick day banking doesn't apply to you, what's the problem? Do you acknowledge it's a bad thing to allow people to carry over sick days and accumulate tons of them? They're SICK days, they aren't an entitlement program. They're an allowance in case people are legitimately ill, but you seem to suggest that you're somehow owed these days off? (ie for religious observances)...

    2) You may not get paid vacation, but you DO get substantial time off during the year (Christmas, March Break, Summer Holidays) while being paid an annual salary that most of us have to work the whole year to get. If I didn't work for 2 months of the year, assuming my employer would allow that, I'd lose 2/12ths of my salary. Do you see the distinction? (I know many teachers take courses to upgrade their skills during the summer. Many of us with full time jobs are also required to take courses to upgrade our skills, but we have to do it while working full time)

    3) Because you do not yet personally make $90K per year does not negate the fact that teacher salaries are very generous, that many teachers do make this salary or more, and that Ontarians may fairly hold the position that teacher salaries are too high.

    4) On a related note, again, just because you will not be receiving a significant (5.5%) increase next year does not mean some teachers would not be. Many of us in the private sector have had lean (0% increase) years lately due to tough times. Why do you think teachers are entitled to more?

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    1. Why do you believe that teacher salaries are too high? What criteria would you use to determine what our salaries should be? What do you think should be a fair compensation for the work that we do? A person working as a dispatcher for 911 with less education and more time off than I have and similar sick day benefits and the ability to vacation at anytime and to bank overtime makes nearly $15, 000 more than I do per year and has made that for longer than I have been a teacher. It will take at least 5 more years to reach what he or she is making now. You pay his or her salary through taxes. What should the government do in this instance? They have time to knit and write Christmas cards when it's not busy. Should the government stand firm on what it can afford and legislate ALL of its' employees or just teachers?

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    2. Teachers' salaries are paid from September to June. That's it. And we do take courses through the year and in the summer. We also run programs in schools, summer school, camps, tutoring programs to support your children.

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    3. 1) I can find no evidence to support that any 911 dispatcher salaries in Ontario (or anywhere) are remotely close to the average teacher salaries. Average pay for 911 dispatchers are $30/hour (roughly $60K per year) which is much lower than teacher pay, despite the fact that they work rotating shiftwork (ie often through the night) and work all year long.

      2) Teachers are paid September to June, yes. And they are paid an average of $83K per year for 10 months work. That is to say, they receive a full year's salary but don't do a full year's work. Do not suggest that you have unpaid holidays, because that would only be true if you did not receive a full year's salary.

      3) Teachers that work in the summer get paid more to do so.

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    4. Dispatcher didn't spend 100K getting a 5 year university education! Ridiculous argument!

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    5. Teachers also receive a lump sum before the summer vacation that equals out to how much they would get paid throughout the summer.

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    6. 100k for an education that clearly didn't educate you on the value of time off.. which you get more than enough of.

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    7. You also overpaid for your education - tuition in Ontario averages $4000k per year ... even assuming you did attend for 5 years, that's only $20k on your actual degree(s).

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    8. Jeff, just for the record...we're not paid during the summer. We bank 1/26 of our income to have something during the summer. By the way, most of us are already preparing for the year ahead during the summer as well. I would love to know where I could be 'paid for the extra time I put in during the summer'. But, that is not why I chose to teach.

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    9. Marking standardized tests = extra money you can earn during the summer.

      You are welcome.

      You could also be a camp counselor, teach swimming lessons, run a home daycare ... no one would stop you.

      Delete
    10. I literally laughed out loud when Jeff wrote "Average pay for 911 dispatchers are $30/hour (roughly $60K per year) which is much lower than teacher pay." I think I made close to 20,000 last year. Obviously you have never seen a grid, or bothered to ask where the majority of teachers rank on that grid. My guess is that the majority of teachers make between 45,000-60,000. I would also say that we spend a lot of our own personal money on supplies in the classroom. Who do you think buys those shiny pencil crayons? Or that exciting new read aloud?

      Oh and, as a side note, the larger issue here is that the government doesn't even want to negotiate. We are being freezed out. How is that democratic. We are not unreasonable people. We care about our jobs, and we love what we do. But why are we not just taxing the private sector, those that can actual afford to pay that money. Why do teachers have to be bullied? Why can't all public sector employees have a similiar freeze so that way it is fair for everyone?

      Or cut EQAO- that costs so much money and anxiety for students and in the end if useless. But I suppose that is another debate.

      Delete
    11. Wow ... Jeff does not know what he's talking about. The "lump sum" is deferred from our pay during the year. And the majority of teachers definitely do NOT make $86000 a year! And even if I did, I would deserve it because my job is awesome, but it is also hard. I chose it, and I chose it knowing it is challenging because I like to be challenged every day. My husband used to hate on teachers, whining about how good teachers have it and blah blah blah just like the bashers in this comment thread. And then he had his eyes opened. By the way, I'm not whining or complaining and neither are the teachers writing here, defending themselves from their harsh critics. It's the jealous, whiny crybabies who wish they went to school and became teachers, who are now stuck in unfullfilling jobs that they hate and have nothing better to do than spread their unhappiness here who are whining. I don't want to strike, I don't want to work-to-rule, I just want to teach. My classroom is ready for September 4 already because I can't wait to get back at it. Suck it, haters!!

      Delete
    12. I too am a teacher and I get paid $58 000/year. Jeff, clearly doesn't understand what teachers do or how we do it. Don't waste your energy on him or the others. He doesn't understand how we plan for drama, dance, visual arts, music, gym, health, social studies, science, reading, writing, oral communication, media literacy, math, and French; He doesn't understand how we create those unit plans, lessons, assessments, evaluations; He doesn't understand how we revise them, mark them, tutor before and/or after school; He doesn't understand what it's like to have 34 kids to teach, laugh with, cry with, care for, and guide. No, Jeff doesn't really know just what teachers make. Maybe he should read this poem: http://taylormali.com/poems-online/what-teachers-make/

      Delete
    13. You know what else Jeff doesn't understand? He doesn't understand how we buy books for our lessons and books for our students. He doesn't understand how we buy them treats, and pencils, or where we got all the supplies to do that "cool" science project. No, Jeff hasn't been to school in a long time. He doesn't remember pizza parties or art messes. The thing is, if you're not a teacher or not close to a teacher, how would anyone know that we're at school until 7, 8, or even 9 at NIGHT preparing our lessons and activities? How would anyone know that we're up until midnight, 1, 2, or 3 writing report cards? How would anyone know that most of our spare time and money goes back into our classroom? back into our students?

      Delete
  15. Here's an idea...

    Let's apply the same pay freezes and reduction in sick time, etc. to all public sector employees. Then, to be fair, we'll tax the private sector a comparable amount. Not happy with this plan? Too bad, there's no say for you because we live in a place where the government makes the rules and everyone must follow - no questions asked. Democracy? Not anymore. The government will save tons of money and everyone will be happy. Right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Except the private sector (ie all the rest of us) is already taxed to pay public sector wages. Not happy with this plan? Not happy with the over-generous salary already available to you as a public sector employee? Do what the rest of us would have to... quit and find a new job.

      Delete
    2. Do you think teachers don't pay taxes? Funny, last I checked I do!

      Delete
    3. Yeah and the private sector has already had wages frozen and sick days reduced. Only teachers feel they're immune.

      Delete
    4. People in the private sector have sick days. They take them. We pay taxes. Those who own their own businesses cheat on taxes and do work for cash or through barter. Teachers spend thousands of dollars for their classrooms for your children and there is no tax benefit to this at all. This argument will never end but as educators we know what we do to support your children.

      Delete
    5. People in the private sector cannot bank sick days and cash them in for a $40K+ payout. I get 5 paid sick days per year. You're welcome to the kind of sick day the private sector has.

      Teachers are free to spend as they like, as is anyone else. They're not free to dictate to the rest of Ontarians the terms of their employment, and that seems to be exactly what's going on.

      The first poster of this thread suggested they'd accept a temporary freeze in salary, and changes to the insane sick day policy, only if they could impose taxes on the private sector. Really? You'll accept the still overly generous conditions of your employment only if you can stick it to your employers, the taxpayers of Ontario? No wonder the teachers have no allies left in this fight.

      Delete
    6. OH MY GOD!! I am a teacher, I have been teaching for 12 years, and I cannot cash in my banked sick days for a payout!!! That is NOT AVAILABLE to teachers unless you have been teaching for a loooooooong time (that is, before they stopped the retirement gratuity, which was longer than 12 years ago). Get your facts straight!

      Delete
  16. Ok. How can I make this more clear:

    I AM NOT against our pay freeze…although I think a pay cut of all teachers to pay for the increases of others is really, really wrong

    I AM NOT against reducing our sick days…but you may want to re-think the banking bit. While getting a payout at the end might not be reasonable, it is reasonable to carry them over while one is still working. If not, you'll actually be blowing more money as any teacher who still has sick days come June will want to use them vs. lose them.

    I AM NOT a bitter teacher. I LOVE my job. I could make more money doing something else but I choose not to because I love going to work every. single. day. I feel lucky every day that out of the thousands of graduates my year, I got a job. I cannot explain the level of happiness and satisfaction I feel when I read a poem that literally takes my breath away by one of the toughest bruisers in my grade 8 class.

    I AM sad and scared when I see how our government is lying to the public and has brainwashed them to think that they are justified in taking away our constitutional rights to preserve your child's education. THIS IS A LIE! WE WERE NEVER GOING TO STRIKE!!! HOW MANY MORE TIMES DO YOU NEED TO HEAR THAT BEFORE YOU WILL UNDERSTAND IT!

    I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how people can stand by a government that is proposing to keep your children home from school for three day for no other reason other than saving money. Does that seem right to you?

    I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how people still think the government can say they are saving money AND saving education when each and every cut directly affects the quality of students' education.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The three days are in lieu of PAID development days. Every parent knows that kids already stay home multiple times a year because teachers meet for development days, the difference here is we're talking unpaid days. Are you suggesting that teacher development days are equally wrong?

      The unions were discussing their strike options and debating holding strike votes. In a previous post there was mention of OSSTF canceling strike votes... Well if there was no talk of strikes, why was there a strike vote scheduled?

      Are you saying that teachers will fake sick in order to claim sick days illegitimately? Really? Pretty sleazy. As I already said, it's not an entitlement program, these are not vacation days, these are supposed to be for legitimate illness, but you seem to suggest that teachers are already abusing this system...

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    2. I think "anonymous" hit the nail on the head as to why teachers are not garnering a lot of sympathy right now.

      Delete
    3. The children are not losing 3 more days. They already had these days off. They are taking the PD away from the teachers. So, teachers have 3 less days.

      Delete
    4. Do you go to all day staff meetings without being paid for the day where you work? When you're company sends you for training is that considered mandatory volunteer days or are you compensated for the days you are being trained?

      Delete
    5. Teachers do get paid for PD days. The government is taking away 3 of these days. Therefore teachers shouldn't be paid for these three days.

      Delete
    6. Staff meetings? So they aren't "Development"? (Then let's just cancel them?)

      Many of us in the private sector have to take courses/seminars to upgrade our skills. And many of us do it on our own time (heck, we have to PAY to take the courses!)

      Welcome to the real world.

      Delete
  17. I adore this blog post.

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  18. I am not a teacher, but have many friends and acquaintances who are. I guess the main problem with this situation is that because of the cuts that have taken place over that past few years in the private and public (federal) sectors teachers are in a horrible negotiation position. Though I agree with many of the arguments teachers are making, traditionally their negotiations or strikes count on public perception and compassion. Because teachers are one of the last groups to still have it good, not only does the provincial government have no choice but to do what it is doing, it also knows it can do it without any backlash from the public. Everyone knows a teacher and hears them "complain" about these impending cuts, but cannot sympathise with them, and I think that's why the term "real world" is thrown around a lot during these discussions.

    My personal opinion is that teachers do complain about their jobs much more then any other profession. I'm not saying it's not called for, but people do get fed up with it because from the outside, no matter how much work you tell us you do, or how much time you tell us it takes you to do it, teaching still seems like the dream job both in terms of hours worked and money paid. When you say you go in three times before the school year starts to prepare (after being off for the best months of the year), do you really expect people to sympathise with that? When you say you have to roll out of bed at 6:30 am to call in sick (paid), do you really expect people to sympathise with that when the majority of people work shift work, or have already started their day? I can go on and on with examples of things teachers complain about that seem ridiculas to other people. These people don't know what it's actually like being a teacher, but it's their opinions that teachers rely on during these times. I think it has gotten so bad that it's at a point where if teachers think it's good, or want/don't want it, it's automatically considered greedy, regardless of the actual negative impact it will have on everyone. I think this is where teachers have gone wrong. I don't have negative perceptions of teachers, but others do simply because of the complaining.

    Teaching is such an important job, and teachers should be treated better then most to attract the best society has to offer thus ensuring everyone's future is better. I know because of their values towards society they will not take messing with their jobs or the children they teach lightly, and I commend them on that and hope they get what they deserve. It's just unfortunate that because what has already happened to pretty much everyone else, it seems unlikely.

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  19. The teacher-bashers truly believe teachers are overpaid? How did you come to this conclusion? Have you been in a classroom and found it to be a "cushy" job? Really? If it's so easy, why don't you become a teacher? One of the above bashers said that a position in the private sector requiring comparable education is paid much less. I would LOVE you to come teach my grade 7 class for a day. They would eat you for breakfast, and I would laugh, laugh, laugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am a public sector worker, and a comparable job to mine in the private sector, requiring comparable education does pay much less, without nearly as many rights or benefits as myself. Pretty much all of us public sector workers have cushy, overpaid jobs compared to those who were not fortunate enough to get in to public service.

      It's not easy to go to 5 years of university for many reasons, some of which are out of peoples control. Also, if it were, some people may not want to be a teacher simply because they want to be something else, or if they were under the impression that it was easy, they may want a career that was challenging that has a lot of opportunities where they don't have to do the same thing for 30+ years.

      Also, I don't see how you could possibly know that a grade 7 class would eat a non teacher for breakfast. With any amount of preparation, I'm sure most people would fare just fine for a day. It's not like they would have to learn the material. It's being taught to grade 7's, which most adults have already completed, and general adult intelligence would take care of. If they could interact with kids and make it interesting, they would be fine for a one off. They obviously wouldn't be as good as a certified teacher over the course of a week, month, year(wait, I meant 10 months with 3 other weeks off in between).

      Delete
    2. Your reply made me laugh. Not a laugh that I thought you were funny, or anything. A laugh that you could be so clueless and completely okay with just throwing assumptions around. Not to be rude, but it would appear more like people are pulling things right out of thin air to support their opinions. I have never been in a grade 7 class where I have not had to rely heavily on my education on child development, or my past experiences as a grade 7 student to get me through. Some people really do get chewed up and spat out. That is a metaphorical fact.

      While it is not the case for all teachers, most teachers carry with them an extreme passion for what they do. You can't go to university to get that. It is a challenging career, where in between the teaching of curriculum you deal with the social, mental, and physical well being of your students. Those who wouldn't find it challenging are those that don't see children beyond the curriculum. You advocate for your students to receive the best the system has to offer. Unless you have been a teacher, gone to another career, and had the best of both worlds, it is not your place to say if it is challenging or not. It is not anyone's position to decide what jobs are most challenging, and comment from there. It seems like a petty game of "my drawing is better than yours", commonly played by grade 1 students.

      I am an occasional teacher. I made 15,000 dollars from teaching last school year. I don't receive benefits. I have a 25,000 dollar school loan. For the sake of arguing, many of you would suggest I'm living the life. You're right. I do what I love. I picked that path. I didn't get into teaching for the money. I got into teaching because past work in mental health units for children showed me there was a need for preventative measures in a classroom, rather than intervention in a crisis situation. Every teacher has a story, and I'm betting most of them are not money-hungry stories.

      I hope that in years to come when I FINALLY get my own class, I instill in them the confidence to pursue their every dream, and stand up for themselves and their rights in any situation that comes up.

      PS. Many of you need to peek at the pay grid to truly understand a teachers pay. Hint: you do not start at 90,000 dollars. I can deal with people having opinions, but I can't deal with people pretending things to prove a point, unless its a game of "house".

      Delete
    3. "That is a metaphorical fact."

      Is this even remotely possible?
      Isn't a metaphor, by it's very definition, NOT a fact?

      When you are talking about people pretending you are mad about teachers pretending they work year round, don't make an average salary of $70,000+ and weren't going to strike given the chance, right?

      Delete
    4. The average teacher salary is over $83K in Ontario. No, they don't start at that (they start at AT LEAST $45K in their first year, though.)

      We have some supply/part time teachers here saying they make less. Well, that's because you don't even work the 10 months of the year your peers do. It's because there are too many teachers, and not enough jobs. Your low amount of pay isn't because the salary is too low, it's because you weren't able to find work.

      When that happens to anyone else, we have to go find a job.

      Delete
    5. First of all, no, it is not the definition. I was definitely playing with words, but you too are wrong. FYI.

      My point was it is not as cushy as many of you want to believe. My point was we do work for what we have. Read the comments. People are continually saying that people get in the job for the money. If that were the case, then why would any supply teacher get into the job knowing very well that the occasional salary is EXTREMELY low based on availability of work. That we complain that we don't make enough money. That we don't work for our money. My goodness. I was giving a little insight into the fact that it is not some glorious, no worries, carefree career that you suggest it is. There is work involved. It's as challenging to an individual as any other job they would have chosen to take on. You are ignoring the facts just to be right. The fact of the matter is, there was no strike planned. That is the fact, twist it how you may to support your unfounded opinion, but that wont change what it really is.

      And the second person who posted, you are exactly right. However, not once did I claim I work in schools every day of the year. Now, I am considered a new teacher. Go research a little bit of what the minister of education and the premier had to say about their cuts being beneficial for us "new teachers".

      Also, there is no separation between teachers and "anyone else". Again, I work 3 jobs and I am glad to because in the end hard work pays off. People who are not teachers are not the only ones who actually have to work. That is a tired comment that has been repeatedly used in the blog. It is an attack and not a fact whatsoever.

      Delete
    6. PS. I spend my summers serving the premier while he enjoys days golfing with his family. Everyone needs to take cuts. Teachers included. Fingers are getting pointed in directions that suits the "high ups" needs. You pay for his membership which in no way whatsoever does any good for our province and its future; unless of course he some how makes it big in the golf game and donates those winnings back or starts tipping a little more.

      Delete
    7. Just to clear up any confusion, most teachers are not hired at a 1.0 salary, it takes years, and until then we are making due with salaries that range from 15,000-35,000... and we are still learning our jobs, I worked 9-5 daily making 28,000 last year so I could learn to be better at my job. Not to mention the 2000 I spent on "stuff" for the class, including food for students who come in without any food from home.

      Delete
  20. I am a supply teacher, I don't have any benefits. I need to keep my schedule open waiting for a call that may or may not come at 6 in the morning. I need to have child care at the ready in case that call comes. I then have to decipher a note left by a teacher who is ill, wade through their directions and desk to find assignments, lessons, or videos that are often misplaced mislabelled or non existent. Everything that the unions and government are arguing over will never effect me; the perks that I would get (if I could get a 'job') will not be available for me. The government has already won. The union is busted. Those with more than x # of years seniority are most worried about there banked days while I cannot advance or even enter onto this magical pay grid.
    I love teaching.
    I live in the real world. I could not wait any more years to find a full time position. I had to give it up to pay my bills and support my family.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I don't understand why if teachers spend hours and hours and hours of their OWN time, evenings and weekends, they aren't more organized in the stated inevitable need to take sick days.

      I mean, if you really are spending all that time preparing lessons, and creating all these wonderful dollar store creations, shouldn't taking a day off be straightforward???

      Delete
    2. The above comment is so ridiculous, I don't know where to start. You so obviously have NO IDEA what it is like to be a teacher. How can you even comment on how 'straightforward' it would be to take a day off when you don't know what that entails? I was pregnant with twins last year and had to have an ultrasound and a dr.'s appointment every week, and even though I tried to schedule the majority of those before or after work, I ended up having to take the odd half-day off. I am a VERY organized teacher, and it still took me FOREVER to leave all my plans, routines, individual instructions for the kids in my class on IEP's (individual education plans) etc., the list goes on.

      Delete
  21. That was a very specific and accurate blog.
    As a professional educator, I am aware of all the facets our job entails that others may not realize.
    Every job has its ups and downs, but it seems teachers are portrayed in a negative light more often than not.
    To address your point on class sizes, it feel it is necessary to add that the primary grades are not much smaller than the juniors. By combining grades, they have found a way around the caps on class sizes. Not one class in my school meets the mandate.
    Most teachers I know love their profession.
    As you mentioned in your blog, you could make more money in another field.
    One should ask the question, what type of person do you want teaching your child? At this rate, I can not see many bright young adults choosing to be a professional educator if this is what they are in for.

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  22. I have a hard time believing how many people posted anonymously on this thread. I understand teachers have it rough these days... but that said, you chose and still choose to be teachers. No one has ever claimed it to be a well paying job. Complaining about your job is actually the same as the rest of us complaining about ours.

    While I totally appreciate the work of teachers, I'm tired of the 'we never get paid enough' gripes. If things are that bad, then find work elsewhere. Like you said, for every retiree there are 7.000 without a job. Maybe too many people are focussing on teaching as a 'helping society' career, without investigating further careers that need more depth?

    Just a thought. ;)

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    1. With all the teacher talk in the news, please read this! Please also pass on to others. This was shared by a friend of mine - it's worth the read!

      • An Editorial from the Orillia newspaper .....
      There is a lot of misinformation about teachers these days. Premier Dalton McGuinty, Education Minister Laurel Broten and Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak are all trying to paint teachers as greedy, bad guys, but here are the facts:

      Teachers and the federations accepted a wage freeze months ago. ...It’s a non-issue.

      Teachers are concerned about the grid (that only helps younger teachers) and the fact that the government is beginning to withdraw from the pension-plan agreement.

      What teachers are most concerned about is that this is actually a union busting. It is a way to end collective bargaining. Teachers have not threatened to strike or take any action, but the government is proposing actions to take away teachers’ right to strike. They have not sat down at the table to negotiate. They basically said, “This is what teachers are going to get, and if they don’t accept it, the government will take away their right to oppose us.” That’s not fair and it’s not democratic.

      Very, very, very few teachers actually make $95,000 per year. Most teachers who are at the maximum place on the grid actually make $92,000; however, these are teachers who have two degrees, are specialists in their field of endeavour (like special education) and have taught full time for about 15 years. The average pay of a teacher is about $50,000. A constable first class (college diploma) with the OPP makes $83,000 after three years. A university professor makes about $120,000. The high-end pay for a college teacher is $102,000.

      Also, teachers cannot increase their pay through overtime. They can only increase their pay by getting another job. Many others, like the police, can get hired on for extra duties (like chaperoning dances, where the teachers are working for free).

      Teachers do not get summers off. They take a 20% pay cut throughout the year to pay for the time they are not employed during the summer. If parents and their offspring want to go to school all summer, then let’s talk about year-round school and stop acting like teachers are getting some free ride.

      Teachers do not get paid for after-school programs like councils, meetings, sports, clubs, exchange programs or after-hours field trips. Teachers are paid from the start of the school day to the end of the school day. Everything else is a gimme.

      Something else that many don’t realize is that because teachers are not working during the summer, most of them are the backbone of summer and community programs.

      The Mike Harris government made a complete mess of education and, in many ways, school has never really recovered. For example, arts programs are still running on shoestring budgets and are slowly falling apart. Mr. McGuinty is pretending that he is the one who has created success in our high schools. Despite all of this nonsense, there’s only one person standing in front of the children on the first day back and it isn’t a politician, a trustee, a superintendent or a principal (all of whom make a lot more than a teacher).

      Paul Hill

      Delete
    2. Many other workers in the public sector cannot strike under any circumstances. They are considered necessary for society to operate. Are teachers saying they are not as necessary as these other public sector workers?

      Delete
    3. Thank you Paul for your post. That was an interesting read.

      Delete
    4. I had to take one of my students to a psychiatric ward because he threatened suicide. His parents refused to take him because they didn't want to go "on a Wednesday night and couldn't we wait until Friday?" I explained that it was a crisis and that I was obligated to ensure he was brought into the hospital. When we met at the hospital all the father said to me was, "How much do you get paid for this?" The answer is, nothing! I did it because your son needed help. People have no idea...

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    5. So much misinformation in an editorial that's supposed to be clearing it up.

      Average teacher salary? Over $80,000 per year in Ontario

      Summers off? Teachers are still paid their full annual salary even though they don't work summers. This does not amount to an unpaid summer, it just means their salary is paid for 10 months of work rather than 12. (The rest of us would love to have this deal)

      Teachers are paid to be teachers. They're salaried employees, not hourly. So complaining about field trips etc, and calling those "overtime" is not understanding how salaried employment works. Teaching is more than a 9-3 shift, and I truly worry about the intelligence of any teacher who tries to argue otherwise.

      Delete
    6. Bravo! RE: teachers not working overtime.

      It's called a salary - you don't get paid by the hour.

      Neither do I - and I work far more than the 35hrs/week my salary is based on.

      If I don't like it, I just have to look for another job, someplace else.

      My employer decides what my workload will be, what the working conditions will be, and what my benefits will be. All subject to change at any point in time.

      My options: take it or leave it.

      Teachers have the same option.
      If your working conditions are so miserable, leave.
      In fact, I dare you - take a leave of absence (which you can do at any point) and come on over to the private sector for a year.

      By the way - if you are terrible at your job, you'll be fired, no union to back you up.

      Delete
  23. (Lots of people posted while I was reading. Sorry for any repeat.)

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  24. Please don't forget that the Catholic Board look like angels for conforming to the Liberal agreement...but they actually have a "ME TOO CLAUSE" which gives them the same contract the public school teachers have to fight for!! But with halos I guess????

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  25. Dalton and the Liberal government started their time in office following Harris/Eves and the Conservatives. In order to win a block of voters, Mcguinty positioned himself as someone who was pro-education. He spent money on new programs and initiatives. In turn, many parents, as well as teachers, saw this as a good thing. Economically, times seemed good. When there is extra money in our wallets, we the voters don't concern ourselves with how much is in the coffers. But, times changed. So the opposition wanting to get voters on their side said, "Wait, how are the books?" The Liberals said, "Oops." So in comes an independent assessor to see what was being spent where. In turn, Ontarians were presented with the Drummond report. The media, knowing no one was going to take the time to read the full Drummond report printed the attention getting numbers, namely, the wages spent in education and health. Now...

    If you were a premier and you wanted to look your best in the eyes of the voting public, who would go after first teachers or nurses? In their own press releases, the Liberals said they were taking this action against the public school teachers because they were putting students first. I say, "No." They are putting their government's interests first and they are the ones "holding our students hostage." They are using the sympathies of the parents and the public to take the attention away from the mistakes they have made in spending ACROSS THE BOARD not just in education and using teachers as the scapegoats. This is the beginning. Using legislation rather than negotiating is the beginning of changes that we will see to all unionised work in both sectors not just in the public sector and not just in education.

    We, as you say, are well educated. We read the newspapers and we understand the economic times that the world as a whole is facing. We are not saying we should be immune. We are asking simply for our perspective to be considered with the same respect that you seem to be affording Mcguinty and the Liberals. In his ads before the last election and again in recent press releases, he has touted the improvement in education since his party has been in office. Who did the work? In my classroom, student achievement is due to the students' hard work and effort and I praise them for their effort and accomplishment. I don't say, "It's not good enough," then proceed to make the community think that their just lazy, entitled, good for nothin's and take away all the things that made their achievement possible.

    When times change in the "real world", they change inside the classroom too. Your children may attend the same school you attended but the classrooms inside those buildings are different entities altogether. There needs to be an acknowledgement of teachers' efforts to ensure they are applying the best teaching practices because they want your son or daughter to reach their dreams and goals. Thus, they are ensuring that your son and daughter have the skills necessary to be successful in the changing workforce. The viability of a workforce determines the growth and strength of a province's or nation's economy. If teachers are the key to the skills of that workforce, would it not follow that we should be doing what we can to support teachers in the job they do in preparing our children for the future?

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  26. Love the teachers putting the union talking points out there.

    How can any teacher with a straight face claim the summer holidays aren't holidays? Someone posted from an editorial that claimed teachers take a 20% pay cut during the year for this. Um, excuse me?

    The AVERAGE teacher salary in Ontario is over $83,000. That's EIGHTY THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS. (Of course, as that's an average, some earn more, and some earn less.) That salary is NOT reduced or cut because of the summer months off. It just means they earn that salary AND do not work during the summer. In order for it to be true that teachers had a pay cut, it would mean they really feel that they earn over $100K, but take a "cut" salary to $83K...

    Teachers are supposed to be role models to the children in the province. How can they do this if they can't be honest about so simple an element of their pay? And lie about the average salary?

    I have many friends who can't find work as teachers because there is a surplus in the province at present. (Too many people in teacher's college, not enough jobs for them). They would gladly take a reasonable salary, but can't find work... and all the while the Union defends an average salary of over $83K for teachers as appropriate. Heck, the province is just asking for a freeze, and for teachers to stop cheating the system on their sick days.

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    1. To be clear, teachers are NOT protesting a wage freeze. We are NOT threatening to strike.

      We are protesting the government stripping us of the right to negotiate the terms of our contract.

      Delete
    2. As noted above, teachers are in the PUBLIC sector. Collective bargaining in the private sector can be fair, as both parties have an incentive to cooperate. (If workers demand too much, the business can become unprofitable and will have to close). In the public sector, the government pays the wages and it can spend beyond its means (deficit spending) or raise taxes to accomodate the demands of public employee unions.

      There should be limits on the ability of public sector unions to hold the province hostage. The elected government has determined what it is capable of paying teachers this year. (No cuts, despite the fiscal hardship... Just a freeze). If teachers don't like the offer, they're free to quit their jobs and seek employment elsewhere. (Just for the record, this is what the rest of us in the private sector would have to do).

      But by all means, bite the hand that fed you. The #2 party would like nothing better than for the teachers to turn on their greatest ally, because the Cons will carve up the teacher's union like a Christmas turkey. And as I think you're becoming aware, the public won't stop them. (They might well cheer...)

      Delete
    3. You found a website that states that the average teacher salary is 83K - the owner of the website stated that according to the OSSTF (secondary school teacher) and with his level of education 6 years undergrad plus 2 year teaching degree and with 8 years of experience, here's what he could make. I have been certified to teach since 2003 and have never made more than 55K a year in the elementary system and with 4 years of schooling. You really should check your facts before you start to spew nonsense!

      Delete
    4. Have you read Boom, Bust, Echo? This is the bust and we will be heading into the Echo but it will be dramatically different than the what the Boom looked like. Part of that will be a change in unionized environments. It will not just be public sector that will be affected. The private sector is simply waiting to see if legislation can change the bargaining process. I was raised in a home that taught me that unions were the death of manufacturing in my home town and that our economic times in the 80s and 90s were a direct result of worker greed. When I headed into teaching I was nervous about being a part of a union. That changed two years ago when I had to take time off to undergo cancer treatments. The people from my local were incredible in helping me through the administrative process. Hence, I trust that the choices they are making in them standing firm against the provincial government are to protect our whole job not just our financial compensation and to protect the bargaining process.

      Delete
    5. No, Anonymous, YOU found some random website.

      Following sources for teacher salaries:

      http://tinyurl.com/9lbjecj

      http://tinyurl.com/5cse3w

      There seems to be no doubt of the average teacher salary. Even the second source, where HS teachers were $83K and Elementary $80K is now 4 years old, and there have been increases since then. Heck, that article was about an offer to bring them to $90K average by this point.

      Gotta keep these folks honest, I guess... Love to sow confusion.

      Delete
  27. I read your blog (there were a few typos and or grammatical errors).
    While reading, I was blown away at your comment that you go in to work while your sick because you are too sick to get out of bed and call in before 6:30 and are too ill to prepare a lesson plan for your absence. How does this translate to being better for my child? You come to work sick, expose all of your students to your illness, they take it home and expose it to their families where there are infants and perhaps chronically ill family members. Do you not think THEY in turn need to get their sorry asses out of bed and call in sick? There goes their sick days (and many don't even get paid sick days) because YOU thought you were doing a favour by showing up blowing your nose and sneezing all over the place. That's really clever.
    Also, teachers whine and groan over how much they do for our kids. YOU chose the profession. It comes with the job. What makes your time more valuable than the stay at home baby sitter or the early childhood educator? You all put in the same hours in a day (relatively close), you all do it for the "children" and you all get paid. Where is THAT equalization? Why does a teacher deserve so much more pay? Give me big fat break, you get so much time off during a school year that it's ridiculous. I don't know any other profession that gets a week off at March Break and 2 weeks off at Christmas and 9 weeks in the summer....and still get paid such an exorbitant amount of money. I'd be curious as to what this breaks down to per hour. Yeah, sure you put in some over time here and there but who doesn't? We've all been asked to stay late at work now and again. Don't use the guilt trip that it's for our children. You chose the job and the job means teaching our children and treating them fairly. You don't earn extra points by "going all out". Imagine if Walmart/fast food empolyees went on strike because they feel they deserve more hourly pay. Yeah, they'd be replaced in a heartbeat and I think the teachers should be too. What makes your time worth any more than someone else's? Oh, right, you paid for an education. (yet your blog has several errors.) Maybe you're a math teacher so take that with a grain of salt. There are plenty of teachers that can't get work and there are way too many complaining about the pay that they're getting. So my vote is take the job and all the comes with it or take the door just beneath the exit sign at the end of the corridor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Teachers are sick because parents send their children to school sick because they do not want to take a day off work or interupt their schedule. Teachers are sick because they care for your children when they are ill. I don't believe this woman is groaning but rather stating many true facts that the media does not share about the hours, commitment, and dedicatation that most teachers have. I am a principal and I work with the most dedicated, hard working and talented teachers. The hostility that people hold towards teachers is wrong. It is that simple. They choose this profession because it is a calling. They do what they do because they love your children.

      Delete
    2. Going to work sick, and potentially spreading that to dozens of youngsters, is not an act of love. Parents do not appreciate that particular issue, if it is indeed true. And you're arguing so one-sidedly that it's almost funny. If parents do something, it's selfish. If teachers do it, it's selfless. Now that sounds pretty biased!

      Besides, the author of this blog already suggested that teachers view their sick days as an entitlement program and will use sick days even if they aren't sick so they don't "lose" something. (Even if that something was intended as a kindness to cover legitimate illness only)... Doesn't sound like even the teachers are saying what you say.

      Delete
    3. You're comparing teachers to babysitters and Walmart employees?!? Teachers are university educated. We work hard to earn a degree and continue to take courses throughout our careers. We do not ask for the vacation time we receive, it is a given as part of the school year. Stop yelling at teachers for having summers off. And, we don't get paid for the summer, we are paid as 10 month employees. We have negotiated our salaries over the years to match those of similar professions. Do you think the goverment just overpaid us for all these years? No, they based the salary on other similarly educated people. We are not asking for more money... we want the right to negotiate. And, no, we were never planning to strike.

      It's no wonder that there is a lack of respect in the classroom that has become more apparent over the last few years... how can children learn to respect education and teachers when their parents and government clearly do not?!? By bullying and bashing teachers, you will only have a negative impact on your own child's future. Hopefully, some wonderful teachers will make a greater impression on them... and inspire them to be better people!

      Delete
    4. Maybe you should teach yourself how to save. Being paid over 10 months is better than being paid over 12. Finances 101. A dollar today is better than a dollar tomorrow.

      Quit whining.

      Delete
    5. Question: Why do teachers come to work when they are ill?
      Answer: Aside from the fact that we are usually somewhat ill most of the year as we're exposed to a myriad of illnesses from children,here are some other reasons: We need to get through an imposing curriculum and make sure that lessons and activities are delivered to our expectations. Even if we spend a few HOURS the night before writing detailed lesson plans, photocopying AND prepping all materials (setting up work stations ect.) and we hope the supply teacher will follow our plans ver-batim, the day usually doesn't pan out as we'd hoped it would. We often need to do the day over which sets us back and puts more pressure on us. We need to assess and evaluate students through many means. One-on-one conferences are essential to determine where the student is at and how we can help them to progress. Taking a sick day takes time away from us being able to do this. We feel we can't take a day off because of looming deadlines and it's difficult to 'lose a day' when there are so many expectations that need to be fulfilled. Elementary report cards are also personalized books about our students that use up many of our weekends. I know that I have to beg my husband to take the kids away for 3 weekends 3 times a year in order to write report cards (add in unit plans, marking, looking for resources on-line, making cd's, shopping for supplies-- (a teacher will always be found at a dollarama!). We don't even have the weekends to recuperate from being sick! That is why we come in sick! However, we can get to a point where it is really difficult to come into work (i.e., we can't move to leave the toilet without making a mess on the floor), when that happens---yes we do take a sick day! Otherwise, it's just too much work to take a sick day!

      Delete
    6. Translation: Teachers are the only ones with deadlines, the only ones with reports to write and under pressure to keep current with the material.

      Correction: Nope, the rest of us in the real world do all that, and often work when we're sick too... But we don't get 2 months off in the summer, and we don't get to bank the sick days we don't use. (We also don't get as many sick days as you anyway)

      Delete
    7. wow!! To weigh in here, I don't think Cayla is talking about going into school with a fever of 104 or the plague. I INFERRED (something my own teachers taught me well) that she is talking about the cold that hardly ever goes away, the sore throat that never turns into anything serious or maybe the headache. We wake up, eat a healthy breakfast, maybe drink some orange juice for some extra vitamin C and go into school so your child can have a great day of school and a productive day of learning. Read between the lines Anonymous!!!

      Delete
    8. The question/answer response above was in response to people complaining that teachers shouldn't come into work when they are ill because they then pass on that illness to the greater school community. We do get too many sick days. We agreed on that. We do get paid well. We agreed on that. We accepted a wage freeze. We know our sick days will be shortened. The whole protest is about the right to negotiate and not be legislated back to work. Why are people having so much difficulty understanding this???

      Delete
    9. Because it's not an absolute "right"... The only right that is absolute is your "right" not to work for the province if you don't want to. You can seek other employment. Employers don't have to negotiate what they're willing to pay. Some years they might. Other years they might say this is all I can afford, would you like this job or not.

      Why are you having so much difficulty understanding this???

      Delete
    10. I agree with the last post. I have no complaints about the wage I make (I could make more in the private sector based on my skill set, but I do like the benefits associated with being a teacher). I don't feel a bit guilty about collecting my paycheck. I know how hard I work.

      The issue for many of us (yes, there are some that complain that they should be paid more)is that certain rights are being taken away from us. I went to the rally at Queen's Park today in hopes that other groups won't have to defend their rights as well.

      We just want the chance to bargain...even if it doesn't lead to more money.

      Delete
  28. I qualified in Ontario as a teacher quite a few years ago. Jobs were so scare while in Teachers college that I was almost literally outsourced to England. I attended a recruitment fair, filled out some paperwork, had one fifteen minute interview on the phone and poof I had a secure permanent position in England. You can imagine I was thrilled as a 23 year old kid to have a 'real' teaching position in an exotic place and a secure salary to start paying of the nearly $50,000 I had racked up in student dept and OSAP.

    Let me warn all the Ontario politicians in Canada to be careful how they treat teachers, or things will come to what they have in England. Teaching here is often like zoo keeping with children who are violent, disrespectful and who mostly have figured out the amount of power they have, meaning they control the classroom. Teachers here do not even have the power to issue a detention without parental consent and if there is a whisper of a parental complain often the child is moved to another class and the parent appeased to avoid any contraversy. I have been spat on, kicked, had numerous things thrown at me and one child jump out a window so I was nearly scared to death.

    Why do I stay? Well I'm not really qualified to do anything else am I? I also have a husband here now and am starting next week at a school I am hoping will be a bit better. But I digress.

    The whole reason I was able to secure a permanent job here with so little trouble and no experience is that they couldn't find ANYONE in England who wanted it. I didn't thin of that as a kid looking for work, I thought I could take anything... I was wrong. Teachers here are treated so badly that I became an 'experienced' teacher after making it past the five year mark. Over half of teachers who qualify (and it's far easier to qualify here than in Ontario, you don't even need a proper degree THAT's how relaxed standards have dropped) quit within three years. As far as I can see the British government is doing little to help itself, thy just keep cutting our pay and blaming us for the issues with literacy, behaviour and even the number of students in jail before they leave high school.

    If minister Dalton doesn't get his act together he will be sending away to the states and Australia and Even England looking for suitable teachers to fill those empty spaces in the schools. They will have to run manipulative ads like the UK does to trick people who aren't qualified as teachers to 'turn their talents to teaching' meaning the government have to pay for bursary programmes and training to get non teachers to teach... they hve even started a programme where if you were in the army and now want to teach they will pay your whole way through, even if you didn't graduate high school.

    Ontario count yourself lucky to have such dedicated, professional teachers who KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING you sohould be kissing thier feet that you don't have a fourteen year old kid who cannot spell his own name on paper - and his name was Ryan!

    And caution any teacher thinking aobut teaching in England to really read and consider what they are getting themselves into.

    http://whyteachingsucks.blogspot.co.uk/ - A blog I like about teaching in England

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Snooze.

      None of us are worried about too few teachers. The salaries are extremely generous and there's currently no effort to reduce salaries, just stop jacking them higher for a couple of years. Is that too much to ask? Further, as you yourself seem to acknowledge, we have TOO MANY teachers here currently, not a shortage.

      As a teacher, are you familiar with a non sequitur? Much of your post has nothing to do with salaries and benefits, (in fact, it suggests that in the UK they're throwing money at the problem), but rather disciplinary and administrative problems. Those are certainly valid concerns, but have nothing to do with the current situation in Ontario. (Unless, of course, you're suggesting that teachers are OK with the whole system sliding downhill as long as they get paid enough?)

      Delete
    2. I'd suggest that perhaps creating a workplace where both the "upper management" and the "clients" slander and abuse the employee would be considered a poor working environment. And yet, that is what happens in education.

      The government is two-faced about praising the phenomenal efforts our schools have put in to create one of the best public education systems in the world, and then turns around and insinuates that teachers are greedy and lazy. All the while, the people teachers serve (students, families, communities) tell their teachers to do a better job, while fighting tooth and nail to argue that teachers are greedy and lazy.

      I agree that teachers are well compensated. I don't think we're over-paid, or under-paid. Which would explain our very-public stance that a wage freeze is acceptable. With that in mind, I'd suggest that arguing about whether teachers deserve a wage increase is a non-sequitur.

      I don't teach because I want to make money. (I have 3 jobs)

      I don't teach because I like holidays. (I spend weekends and the summer working... With children, even when they're not at school)

      I teach because I love working with children, and seeing their smiling faces every day. Teaching draws me out of bed in the morning, and keeps me awake at night, anticipating.

      Delete
    3. Dear original Anonymous reply here, wow are you rude or what? If this is such a snooze why bother replying? The point being made was that we could end up with a far poorer system such as is in England if we don't protect the intergrity of the profession.

      It's very easy to say it will never be a problem, but the UK had a surplus of teacher 15 years ago... that's really not that long ago.

      Protect the teaching profession, don't dismiss it as so over subscribed that no matter how mean and horribly you treat them there will always be more. You protest this over and over then bitch when there is event eh whisper of a strike which may affect you and your life. McGuinty makes a big fuss because he came back to work a week early, if I made his salary I'd still do all the extra stuff my job comes with too.

      Glad I don't teach your kids, I'd have to be polite to you.

      Delete
  29. Perhaps, instead of bitching and moaning that teachers have it handed to them on a silver platter, some of these parents should spend a little time volunteering at their kids schools to see what really happens.

    It's the same with my kids local summer soccer league, the parent who only bothered to show up to one of his kid's games all summer had the nerve to complain about the calibre of the coaching, despite the fact that we only lost one game and came third in our league.

    Both of these groups of people need to understand the amount of personal time and expense that goes into me coaching your child, or that his/her teacher gives in order to make sure your child gets the best experience possible.

    Being able to negotiate a contract is a right that should not be taken away from teachers, or anyone, and more importantly, people need to understand that the political machine is never doing to tell you how things actually are. They will always spin things in their own favour. You expect it every other time they speak, how is this any different?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Also, you do realize that having this kind of blog and this kind of post online with your name and face attached is probably not the best idea, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my private sector job, I'd actually be terminated for it.

      Just sayin'.

      Delete
    2. Hi Anonymous,

      I actually talked to ETFO (our governing body) and my principal and they were cool with it. I did nothing wrong. I told the truth about what the government is trying to do and how I feel about it. I didn't insult my job, I didn't dispute the wage freeze, and I didn't lie.

      Delete
  31. overall, i agree with most of you said. however, i take real issue with your dig on the catholic school board. it is preposterous and inflammatory to think that the union representing catholic teachers signed on to the government proposal because it somehow fit with their religious holidays. you are just fanning the flame of hatred towards catholic school boards. also, check with your union. most boards and coroproations in canada are obliged to allow workers to take religious holidays off (without using a sick day) thatdo not fall on stat holidays. i know that in my catholic school board, the non-catholic teachers on staff (yes, we have several) get the day off for their religious holidays every year.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi,

    I agree wholeheartedly… I put a link to this blog on Twitter, and sent it to our MPP.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Get a life.
    Did you write this blog while your kids were at Wonderland or preparing for the school year?

    We all need to prepare for work. Its called a job not a country club

    No sympathy

    ReplyDelete
  34. Are you kidding me? No one disagrees your jobs value, but this cry me a river song and dance you all feel you need to do is exhausting. If only I had the job security you did and the sick days payed, plus accumulative. Or my summers off, and other holidays. If only I could take some courses to secure my job more and guarantee a pay raise. PLEASE! You were fully aware of what dream job you wanted and you were lucky to get it too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Standing up for the right to negotiate contracts is not crying a river. As a matter of fact, standing up for our rights is whats made Canadians what they are.

      If you wanted the job security of teachers, and sick days paid, plus accumulative (if you were up to date with the facts you would know is not true), then you should have gone for the "dream job".

      Delete
    2. There are more teachers than jobs out there, hence why some are stating they make less than 45,000 per year; they don't have full time jobs. They don't have full time jobs because the supply of teachers far exceeds the demand - you can't say this about too many professions. So one has to ask themselves, why do so many people go to teachers college? Because teaching is too good to be true. Curious to see, by how much does the starting salary have to decrease by for the profession to no longer be too good to be true? For raises to be cost of living based, not years of service. You will know the limit has been met when supply finally equals demand. Just sayin'.

      Delete
  35. The reason there are so many bitching teachers is because they are mostly all women.

    What happens in the work place when you stick 50 women together? They bitch and complain.

    Same phenomenon is also found in Hospitals among nurses, HR and a few others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are bitching about our right to protest.... THAT IS IT! We are not actually protesting anything or complaining about anything, but just want the right to do so! What is so wrong with that???? *&*^* MAN! You already have that right!

      Delete
    2. This post, right here, is why people should stand up for their rights. Your language is offensive and completely unfounded. You are the kind of person who should not ever, ever be responsible for public policy. Otherwise, we women probably wouldnt even have the vote. Good for us BITCHING.

      Delete
    3. Seriously????? Wow. Is that all you got? Bitchy women???

      Delete
  36. If someone perceives that another person has it better then they do, that other person is not allowed to defend themselves or *gasp* complain? Sound logic.

    It reminds me of Monty Python's Life of Brian when Brian he is thrown into a dungeon with another prisoner who is hanging on the wall. Brian get spit on by the guard and the guy on the wall calls him lucky for it... "Oh to be spat at in the face" "You lucky bastard"!

    McGuinty isn't targeting teachers because he cares about our children. Plain and simple. You may not like what teachers are paid, or what they get to have accumulated, etc., but that doesn't make this piece of legislation in any way right. It's undemocratic and unfair.

    ReplyDelete
  37. "The reason there are so many bitching teachers is because they are mostly all women.

    What happens in the work place when you stick 50 women together? They bitch and complain.

    Same phenomenon is also found in Hospitals among nurses, HR and a few others."

    You're an idiot.

    ReplyDelete
  38. To Anonymous at 10:22 AM: Everyone likes to be a troll when you can hide behind the Internet right? I'm not even a teacher and in all honesty, I do agree with a lot of what commenters have said in saying that teachers aren't the only ones who have it tough and that in these economic times, you can't always get what you want.

    That being said, why have you bothered to even write something here? Has it occurred to you that this individual doesn't spend her every waking moment preparing for the school year? Everyone is entitled to have some time to themselves, and what they do with it is their prerogative. In addition, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. She has her side of the story to tell and she told it...on her personal blog..which you are under no obligation to read. Why you, someone with 'no sympathy', as well as no constructive comment to give, had the time to sit down, read the post and write something completely non value adding tells me that maybe its you that needs to 'get a life'.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Effective September 2011
    Step 1 2 3 4
    0 45,709 47,834 51,738 55,404
    1 48,124 50,371 55,213 58,410
    2 50,923 53,297 58,887 61,985
    3 53,722 56,230 62,553 65,573
    4 56,909 59,532 66,425 69,736
    5 60,089 62,863 70,285 73,899
    6 63,273 66,173 74,150 78,055
    7 66,467 69,477 78,015 82,226
    8 69,652 72,794 81,877 86,381
    9 72,834 76,107 85,746 90,545
    10 76,021 79,414 89,614 94,707


    This looks like the least a full time teacher makes, first year, with the base education is $45,709. For 194 school days.



    Seems okay to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looking at the grid, how can the AVERAGE salary be 83,000? It's capped at 94. That would have to mean that the majority of teachers are over the 11 years. How many teachers in Ontario are actually at 11 years or more?

      Delete
    2. Probably the vast majority. Easy answer.

      Delete
  40. As Charlie Brown often says, "Good Grief!"

    Teachers... You're a well educated, presumably intelligent lot. You ought to be aware of the inherent problems associated with public sector unions, and why harping on and on and on about your "rights" to collective bargain being trammeled. This is a mischaracterisation at best, and a misleading Union talking point at worst.

    Collective Bargaining is a way to balance the interests and power between the Employers and Employees, and was designed to keep unscrupulous business owners from mistreating workers. It works well as both sides have an incentive to find a workable and fair solution; owners need to avoid a labour disruption/strike or else their business is impacted and they lose money, while workers have to moderate their compensation demands or else the business becomes unprofitable and closes, putting everyone out of work.

    In the PUBLIC sector, the business never closes; governments don't have to remain profitable, as they can always increase taxes or simply spend money they don't have (deficit spending). Also, since any labour disruption will inconvenience the voting public, and governments of the day invariably pay a price for this regardless of their actions, the incentive on governments is to simply agree, even to demands that would be otherwise unsustainable.

    In the private sector, a business that agreed to unreasonable demands would soon close; either the wage demands would result in the business becoming unprofitable, or else a competitor would offer a competing product at a lower cost (due to lower compensation paid to its own employees) and drive it out of business.

    Fortunately/Unfortunately (depending on your politics), there's no competition in the public sector. For upwards of 95% of Ontarians, there's simply no alternative to the publically funded school system, and so the teachers' union doesn't have to worry about competitors offering a similar (or better) education at a more reasonable price. They also know that a strike will inconvenience millions of parents, and that any government that allows one to occur will pay a significant price at the polls. (A minority government, like we have now, would probably not survive an extended strike)

    As DiLorenze once wrote, "The enormous power of government-employee unions effectively transfers the power to tax from voters to the unions. Because government-employee unions can so easily force elected officials to raise taxes to meet their "demands," it is they, not the voters, who control the rate of taxation within a political jurisdiction."

    The Ontario government is not reducing wages. They are not eliminating teaching positions. They aren't even reducing the generous number of paid sick days teachers are permitted. They're simply saying "Hey, we're in a tight spot so no raises to your already generous salaries for the next two years... The private sector employees have already had this pain, and we all need to share it. Also, please view sick days as an allowance for emergencies, not an extra vacation entitlement program"

    My eyes have definitely been opened by this blog. Teachers are generally good, hard working people. Unfortunately, it appears their ranks are somewhat full of out of touch, entitled, truth-twisting public sector employees who've bitten the hand that feeds them. Just imagine what it'd be like if (when?) the PCs get back in. I, for one, will now be cheering on whichever government takes this on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your reply made a lot of sense with respect to the lack of competition within public sector and that governments using taxes or deficit spending to make up the difference. This blog has also opened my eyes up to the misunderstandings on BOTH sides of this debate. I still struggle with your description of generous salary rather than fair salary because to me, generous implies that we shouldn't be paid what we are paid. To me, it sounds like the work I do does not equal the salary I earn. I'm also confused as to how we have bitten the hand that feeds them. Are you meaning that we shouldn't have questioned the government's actions but rather accepted all the concessions because of the tight spot that is in part due to the choices this government made? I don't understand, as well, why you would cheer on any government that would stick it to any profession, teachers or otherwise. You seem to have a great knowledge in how government and private companies work. Wouldn't your argument have served a better purpose by not having the attack at the end. I was with you until that point.

      Delete
  41. Cayla,
    I loved your blog. You put into words what many teachers (myself included) are feeling. This bill is scary!! Every teacher I know is extremely dedicated and truly loves their job. I'm with you re: sick days - I have a ton. Not because I'm banking them, simply because I'm a martyr and I don't like taking days off. I would always rather be with my students. Next, my students...I'm a physical education teacher. I teach every class in my school from Jk-grade 6. My JK/SK classes last year had 26, 25, 25, 24 students in English and 20 in French. Interesting how that cap has 'exemptions'. I taught 24 classes and only 3 of those 24 classes were under 20 (all French Immersion). So while I'm glad that the government has put so many policies in place, I find it interesting that hardly any of them are ever really adhered to. But somehow that never comes out until the next election year. And lastly, I"m not a union person - I never have been. I happened to choose a profession that forces you into a union. But I do find it scary that the government is threatening to basically eliminate any power that a union has. I have watched and felt badly for all of the union members that have been legislated back to work over the past few years. No one wants to strike, but it is a right. And, from all the meetings I attended, emails I received and recorded phone calls from Martin Long, there was NEVER any talk of us striking or not starting the school year!! Anyway, very well written! Let's see what happens!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. No teacher goes onto the profession to get rich, for the time off & sick days.
    The ones who do end up quitting after a few years because they realize more money can be made in the private sector.
    A teacher enters the profession and stays because they love working with kids. Our kids. The very same ones who are the center of our world, who we'd do anything for, our most precious people on the world.
    We should be making sure our most precious people are educated by teachers with the most experience, spend their days in enriched environments in the best maintained buildings in the country.
    However this costs considerable money.
    Governments should not be looking to save money on the backs of our most important people
    Nor should they seek to take away rights set out in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by using our children as ammunition. What kind of future will we leave our children if rights are restricted & if educated by people who didn't care & had limited experience who could work for cheaper?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you a teacher? Please locate the right to strike in the Charter. We'll wait. (Hint: it isn't there).

      Labour laws do give bargaining rights, but a) they were passed by legislatures, who may therefore amend them... and b) the laws even as written contain many restrictions and allowances, which the government may exercise. Sorry if you don't like that, but don't try to spin me a talking point about your non-existent Charter right being breached.

      Delete
  43. EEEEEVERY single weekend off (yes I know you prep but many of us do as well) doesn't hurt that you finish every school day by 330 PM. A week of in March, 2 off in December, every stat holiday and 2 months off every summer. Banking sick days, completely goes against what they actually are "sick" days. I don't want you coming to school ill, then my child catches it and spreads it throughout the house. My Dad, who's worked at his company for almost 30 years gets 10 sick days a year, I think he's taken 5 in those 30 years. Stop complaining, you have it made and make a comfortable living doing so. Find a job that forces you to work some weekends and summers, without the benefit and retirement package you're afforded - and then see if there's room to complain. I'm a child protection worker, I work days, nights, summers, weekends etc. I know that working with children is consuming, but you do it becuase you love it so enough please.

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  44. Anyone see the other perks for other jobs that should be blacklisted too? Why are you wasting your time attacking teachers? Police officers who are not in uniform get 1000 dollars or close to, to buy cloths every year. This is a game of pointing fingers, not anything truthful at all.

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    1. A charming strategy. On a blog about TEACHERS, get mad/upset/angst-ridden because people are talking about teachers... And then try to deflect attention and point at Police. Right, because that's just what a good teacher will teach the kids: If you're doing something wrong, just point to some other kid who's also doing something wrong.

      Good strategy. Way to go. Gold star.

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    2. Perhaps,the point is simply that there needs to be this level of discussion about other public sector employees and the economic impact that their contracts have on government spending and tax-payers' bill. It feels like at this moment that we are the only target.

      Delete
    3. You're not. There was much more attention, within Toronto, to the public sector strike and labour disputes a few years ago. The backlash elected mayor Ford. Now he's outsourcing garbage collection and moving towards other jobs. Teachers ought to realize there's a time to pick their battles.

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  45. True story: A woman who worked in a government passport office took a 6 month leave because she just got a puppy. She also makes more than most teachers stamping documents and s-l-o-w-l-y filling her quota.
    True story: The government has TONS of shelters and 'secret hideaways' for many of its employees and spends so much $$$$ each year maintaining these shelters so when something like SARS hits, they have places to go while the rest of us are left to sink or swim.
    True story: If you work directly for the government you get paid your salary for a year on mat. leave. You also get a lunch hour and breaks! You don't take any work home with you. Ever.
    Why does no-one ever come down on many of the employees working directly for the government? Why are teachers always singled out?

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    1. Because you're not actually stating true stories and facts. Because this is a blog started by a teacher about teacher issues.

      The comments here from teachers have started turning into "Look at all the bad things others get" as if that makes the excesses of the teachers OK. Really? If Group A gets a crooked deal, does that mean you're next in line to get one?

      PS: Get your facts straight. The secret shelters? Mostly decommissioned, except those that were on active military bases anyway, and they're now mostly used for administration and storage.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_Government_Headquarters

      Also, passport office employees make much LESS than teachers, even though they actually work the whole year. If one of these employees took a six month leave for getting a puppy, it would be an UNPAID leave. (And unlike the 2 months teachers get off in summer, the passport employee's salary would actually be reduced for this leave)

      Finally, people are often permitted a full year for maternity leaves, and their salaries are sometimes even topped up from the EI level by their employer. This is the case at my large private sector firm. It's probably also true for teachers, so I'm not sure why you mention it. It's fairly irrelevant... most good employers offer this whether you're public/private, union or not. It's just the way things are now.

      Delete
    2. Teachers are 'topped up' but it is for under a month I think (I'm not sure, it may be a little longer,but not much) which is why it is mentioned. They receive $1400 a month and have to pay into their pensions if they do not want to get charged interest or penalized. The pension is a whole other issue the government may mess with. It is a very fine pension indeed, but it may not be stable and teachers have not been able to contribute much in the way of r.r.s.p's. to have a backup plan.
      The secret shelters are being maintained and lots of money is still being spent for the fateful day an outbreak happens. You can bet those top government employees have a place to go! Employees are enlisted with secret information and paid to do work concerning them today....
      By the way--find out the average wage of a passport office employee. I can assure you many teachers in L.T.O's, doing supply work, or even the lucky ones in their first years of teaching make less. Perhaps the average wage can be located on Wikipedia? It's easy enough to advertise and discover teacher's wages.

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    3. Yes, and such investigations show that teachers make far more.

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    4. I would hope that if an serious outbreak occurred, the people with the power and responsibility to make decisions for our country remain in good health to do so. A teacher working in a part-time LTO or just supplying can't possibly expect to make more money then a full-time contracted worker in another job. Full-time LTO's (1.0) would make more then these workers.

      Delete
    5. For the record the top up is to 100% for the first 2 weeks (to cover the ei waiting period) and then to 80% for 6 weeks. That's it. We have to pay into our pension or loose the year. Also, all top-ups are contingent on students actually being in class. So for example, if you have your child just before the 2 week Christmas Break, you are not entitled to the top-up for that 2 week period. Hope that clarifies. Ultimately, all of this "business" is not really about salaries and benefits. It is essentially about the government "spinning" negotiations to make teachers look greedy and whatnot, thus justifying this bill. Which in essence, is pretty stupid. People hate on teachers. It's easy because we are always complaining and whining. We all choose the path we want to take. I chose education. I have thought about leaving many times. I choose to stay for various reasons, I do get paid well. I do get summers off to spend with my family. I do coach teams, and do other things, when I want to. Most of the time, I do love my job. I'm not a martyr. If I am sick, I take the day off and leave copies and educational videos for the supply teacher because ultimately, if I am sick, I am not focused on teaching anyway, I am focused on going back to bed, so I may as well stay there. If my child is sick, I keep them home. My husband and I take turns in those instances. He has to take a vacation day for those days. I do not have those sorts of days, but I do (or did) have family responsibility days (part of the sick days) that I can take with the permission of my administrator. Originally the government was reducing days available from 20 (too many, for sure) to 6. Originally @ 20 sick days that were banked, the banking was to equate our short-term disability in the event of a serious illness or injury. We did not have access to long-term disability benefits until we used 90 days of banked sick days. It takes a teacher 5 years, at 2 sick days a year to attain complete short-term disability benefits (5x20=100, leaving 10 days available to take over 5 years). So if in the first 5 years a new teacher were to break a bone, a hip snowboarding on the weekend, for example, or become diagnosed with a serious illness, they would not have enough days saved to access short-term disability and would have to "ride it out" when their days ran out on no income until the 90 days passed and they could access the long-term disability. As a professional, short-term and long-term disability are standard basic benefits and they generally start the day you begin your employment. Period. My point is, most professionals have benefits. I am just trying to shed some light on how ours work. They are neither amazing or awful. They just are. I am not necessarily entitled to more or less of what I already have. My only issue here is that as a person, I like to be treated with honesty and respect. I expect my elected representatives to treat myself and all others in the same way. Sadly, we haven't been and what has resulted is a public opinion battle that will be won by no one. The provincial government will loose votes (or maybe they'll gain for standing up to greedy lazy entitled teachers, who knows), teachers generally feel betrayed, not because of a salary freeze that most agree is necessary, or changes to sick days, but because the government has dragged our profession through the mud which could affect relations with parents and students. Parents and students may not really loose anything, because ultimately, most teachers are in it for the reward of student success (yes, seriously) and so we will continue to do what we can to continue getting the desired result from the young people we are lucky enough to help develop for the 10 months they spend in our classes.

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  46. Sounds like you hate and resent your job.

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  47. I love how we are around kids all the time that parents send to school with runny noses, fevers, and vomit pouring out of their mouths on a regular basis, but they want to take away our sick days...unreal!

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    1. They do? Really? Can you quote that section of the legislation? Can you quote anything where it says that?

      Fact check: The only thing that's going to happen to sick days is they will stop being treated like an entitlement program for teachers who want extra vacation days or a bonus at retirement. These are for ILLNESSES, not for storing up so teachers can collect $40K+ at retirement for all the banked days, or so that teachers can book off for days unrelated to illness.

      The fact you think this is taking something away from you suggests that you've been abusing the sick day policy for a long time now.

      Delete
    2. Listen, I have never abused the sick day policy because it is far more work and headaches to be planning for a substitute teacher. I would rather go in sick to work than have to plan everything out and hope the day goes well and stay at home sick. So...at the end of my career, when I haven't even taken half of my allowed sick days, I want to be compensated for that! So many careers have bonuses every year, why can't we get one for not taking our sick days that we're ENTITLED to?!

      Delete
    3. Because they're NOT AN ENTITLEMENT PROGRAM! Your attitude is exactly why I no longer support the teachers union. You don't get paid for not being sick. Sick days are not days of. Your compensation for not using your sick days is that you were healthy and not sick!!! Wow, you really boggle my mind.

      Delete
  48. Hey, I agree with a lot of your comments! It seems like you are a very hard working teacher and you actually love what you do! I think teachers like you are far and few between. September will be my 5th year of teaching, I can honestly say 75-80% of teachers should be not be in the profession. Some of these people chose teaching as a "back up career". I can understand why teacher bashing occurs. Most of these teachers do not care about the kids, they are just happy to be out the door by 3:00 PM. Most of them do not spend their summers doing AQs or doing professional readings! They begin to count down to when the next time they will be off of schools. I blame this on lackadaisical evaluation of teachers and questionable hiring practices. The general public does not see the utter incompetence that is displayed these so called teachers on a daily basis. Thankfully, there is a small percentage who take this job seriously and they need to respected by the government!

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    1. This has not been my experience. I too am in my fifth year of teaching. I've taught in both high school and elementary. I see teachers regularly turn themselves inside out to do their best to meet the expectations of the curriculum, the parents, the principal, the board and even the ministry with district reviews. It may be 75-80% where you work but where I work I have only ever come across 1 teacher whose commitment to the profession I would question. The teachers I work with are amazing as they divvy up extra curricular activities, volunteer to stay after the work day to meet for TCLPS because it's easier than having a supply cover, as well as welcome any new initiatives into the school which means being even more prepared for the interruption by researchers and consultants. Please, this profession is tough enough that we don't need to be bashing each other.

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  49. Teachers why are we continuing to humour these "people" who choose to attack teachers? I simply say " come to work with me for one day". If your opinion remains the same I will at least respect your ignorance. Until then, I respectfully suggest you keep your opinion to yourself. Just because we are a part of the public sector does not give anyone the right to degrade what we do. Just the same as me not commenting on what I consider the "perks" of private business. I do what I do, because I truly believe special needs kids need me. No complaining. And for the record I am fighting to avoid a two tiered education system.....anyone want to discuss THAT topic? It is a very real threat/concern!

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    1. A friend was just discussing this with me the other day. I work in a compensatory school that is just now getting the resources that will lesson the gaps between us and the brand new schools being built in new subdivisions. I hadn't considered that my students wrote the same EQAO test in the broiling heat while students at another school wrote in air conditioning. There's not a line on the EQAO questionnaire that takes into the account the condition of the learning environment.

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  50. Thank you thank you thank you for ALL of your comments, both for and against. Discussions like this, where everyone-despite their opinions-feels safe and is allowed to voice their thought and opinions, are necessary and valued as an important part of our free and democratic country, Canada. I apologize for not responding personally to each of you, please read my follow-up blog post which (hopefully) covers everything: http://www.itsnotthatserious.net/2012/08/the-tdsb-teacher-rant-2-days-and-148.html

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    1. I Think debating and arguing who's job is more important is not the issue. Anyone who loves their job will defend it to the end of the earth. For me the issue here is the tactics the government is using and avoiding a unions right to negotiate and bargain. The outcome of bargaining isn't and should be the topic of discussion here. Where do you think the government will stop with dictating salaries, rights and benefits if we allow them to do so now? It's a matter of principle and the issue here isn't just between teachers and the government, it is the beginning of how the government wants to control and dictate the labour force without going through proper channels. I am a teacher and I love my job but for me, this whole situation stinks of dictatorship instead of a democratic society. Our right to bargain and talk is being taken away. If you think because you are not a teacher, you are not affected, think twice...do you think the government will stop with teachers? Keep your eye on the bigger picture. It isn't about our salaries, hours, sick days, pensions etc. It is about being denied our right to discuss. Our contract isn't even expired so why on earth has the government passed this bill? It's a bully tactic. If we were in the middle of negotiations and agreement couldn't be made, could see it. I myself didn't think Canada to be a society with a dictatorship government, maybe I was wrong.

      To my fellow teachers, be cautious about defending your job by arguing the ins and outs of our daily life in the classroom. Every profession has it's value in society and very much needed. Respect others and remember this is not the platform to debate benefits and salaries or higher education values. Keep your eye on what the issue is, bargaining rights, being able to actually discuss and negotiate and ultimately protect our students rights and learning environment. My fear is that if we don't speak up and question the government's tactics, the government will continue to single handedly make cuts to education that will be directly reflected in the classroom....class sizes, resources, bussing, building repairs, access to education etc.

      Be kind when you write. Remember we're not trying to argue our entitlement to rights, we are trying to preserve our right to negotiate and have a contract regardless of what the contract benefits actually are.


      Have a great day.


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  51. I work at a school board in several schools, not as a teacher. I really can't believe what the teachers are actually complaining about. Who in what job gets paid unused sick days when they retire other than teachers? I sure don't. I work throughout the summer, teachers don't. I don't get March Break off. But you know what I am happy to just have a job these days as I know how hard it is to get one nowadays.

    I do agree that the Gov't seems to be attacking the teachers when they should be freezing ALL PUBLIC SECTOR employees wages, including their own. The Gov't went about this in the wrong way.

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  52. Wasn't this the same Dalton McGuinty that every public sector union couldn't resist investing millions of dollars the past three provincial elections to have the Education Premier? The same Dalton McGuinty who said no new taxes and than passed all kinds of new taxes and levies. As a person who works in the private sector and has not seen an increase in the last eight years, its difficult for me to have any sympathy. I do feel bad that any person should have their income frozen. However there seems to be a lack of respect for the taxpayer. Yes Dalton is full of it and while your union among others did everything possible to prevent the Conservatives who were open about their intentions of a wage freeze for the entire public sector. It was of course your darling Dalton who needed a distraction from all of the other financial woes he has plagues the province with and you the teachers have provided him with that.

    In the meantime I am looking out for me, no union group or politician came to my aide when I was under employed having my hours cut in half and told take it or leave it. So I now look out for my pocket, and will do, vote for the person who is going to help me the most same as you or most teachers did and put that lying bum into the chair of premier.

    So when you qvetch about your issues, remember who your union supported.

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  53. I offer a few quotes from Ayn Rand that I believe lend themselves to our current situation:
    1. A government is the most dangerous threat to man’s rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.
    2. We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.
    This one refers to much of the public opinion:
    3. They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; they do not want to live, they want you to die.

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    1. ^ Yet Ayn Rand was strongly opposed to unions.

      Funny, I thought teachers did their homework. And one last bout of cattiness for Cayla - notice how I didn't confused "their" and "they're" as you did in your reply to the first comment.

      Unions have served their purposed. Now unions are, more often than not, bullies. Most teachers I know despise what their union forces them to do and appreciate that they are employed while their highly educated friends struggle to make ends meet.

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  54. A good article worth reading.

    http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1247823--though-business-sits-on-500-billion-workers-salaries-are-under-seige#.UD06pAfsNmE.facebook

    Union busting across the province has been occurring over the last few years, which should be concerning to everyone, not just teachers. Unions and the collective bargaining process play a vital role in the labour relations of all workplaces. Love them or hate them, unions have helped and continue to the help the rights of all workers.

    We cannot be sheep and blindly believe the propaganda that the government is currently espousing. This is not about how teachers are paid, how many sick days they get, how many holidays they have; this is about respecting and engaging in fair negotiations. The government has not been acting in good faith. THIS is what people need to be discussing; not how many hours teachers work compared to other professions, not how many holidays teachers get compared to other workers. This divisiveness is EXACTLY what government and big corporations want. While we argue amongst ourselves about who is more important, we are losing our bargaining strength -- and by we, I mean everyone, all workers, not just teachers.

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  55. Many teachers have posted here saying that they agree that teachers are well paid and that the banking of sick days is unsustainable. If you agree with that, then what are you protesting? Dalton's legislation will simply impose contract terms that you already agree with. I don't understand why all of you teachers keep spouting the union line that you're protesting because your right to bargain and negotiate has been taken away. What the heck is there to negotiate if you already agree with what is being imposed?

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    1. Yes, that is exactly right ... teachers are protesting because a right is being taking away by a government. Instead of turning on teachers, the general public should be (and, for the most part, is) seriously concerned. What the heck is so difficult to understand about that?!

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    2. Because it makes no sense. A) it's not a charter right, like nearly every teacher has claimed so far... b) the labour legislation giving that "right" has many conditions and provisos which the government is now exercising, and c) as legislation, the legislators can revise it anyway. That's their prerogative as democratically elected representatives of ours. They're simply imposing trends they campaigned on.

      Why do teachers not understand any of this? Ignoring inconvenient truths?

      Delete
    3. Anonymous, you're both right and not right. In the original Charter of 1982, the specific wording wasn't there but in the 1990's, a Supreme Court Case ruled in favour of the Unions and legislation was put in place to put change that wording. Since then, there has been tons of other cases which support this new legislation. This is a direct quote from the case law:

      In its June 8, 2007 decision, Health Services and Support – Facilities Subsector Bargaining Association v. British Columbia, the Supreme Court of Canada held that “the s. 2(d) guarantee of freedom of association [in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms] protects the capacity of members of labour unions to engage in collective bargaining on workplace issues.”

      See? Not as ignorant as you think...

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    4. I never called you ignorant. You actually come across quite bright in my humble opinion.

      My question is simple: if you're willing to accept a wage freeze and the elimination of the sick day bank, and that is EXACTLY what Dalton's legislation is imposing on you, then what is all the protesting for?

      Yes, your right to bargain collectively is being over-ruled, but you are being given a contract with terms that you yourself have said you are willing to accept. So why make such a fuss??

      This reminds me of my dad who went out for dinner with some friends and complained to the manager when the restaurant automatically added a 15% tip to the bill, but then he admitted that the service had been great and he was going to leave 15% anyways.

      If the contract contains term that are all agreeable to you, then what more would you like to negotiate and bargain for?

      Delete
  56. One question I have, as a parent, is how the teachers posting here feel this will impact their personal approach to the year, the classroom and our children? Is it more of a 'battle between adults' or do you personally feel like it will spill over to how you approach your job day-in and day-out?

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    1. I can't speak for other teachers, but if anything, this experience has reinforced how much I actually love the art of teaching and how important it is for me to always do my job in the best way I can.

      With that being said, I really doubt it will impact my job performance at all. Once I'm at school, I will not be thinking about the politics at all. And I can say that definitively since I was in school all morning today getting ready and this whole kurfuffle didn't even cross my mind…I was too busy trying to decide which novel studies I want to do this year.

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  57. Most teachers do an outstanding job, bottom line is - the great summer vacations - e.g. making $100,000 a year for 5 to 10 years of experience is a pretty good salary for 10 months of work. Getting home to make dinner for the family is a pretty good thing too.
    The question is not job performance related but rather, looking at your pay cheque, perks and benefits, pensions - vacations etc, calculating really how many actual hours are put into a day and looking at the complete year. Not a bad living. As a professional recruiter with many many years of experience, and comparing teaching profession to others, teachers have it pretty good. Thats the reality of it all.

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    1. And what's wrong with that? Why are we not allowed to have "good jobs that pay well"? We are all highly trained and we work hard at what we do. Why are we not deserving of what we get paid? Perhaps people are just jealous…

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  58. The main problem with this debate is that everyone thinks they can be a teacher. There is no other profession where other people think they could do what a teacher does. At the heart of this is a lack of respect for teaching. I am a lawyer. I make a crap ton of money. No one ever questions whether I deserve it. How good a job I do or anything related to my competence. Yet everybody thinks they can opine on teachers being lazy, argumentative and not worth the money. Yes they get good vacations. That is one aspect of their job. They also have to do all kinds of things I don;t want to do. Each job has its pluses and minuses.

    The real scary thing about legislating teachers back to work is it curtails negotiation and colelctive bargaining rights. When education is offered by the government realistically the only employer is the government and to give that government unilateral control over the terms of jobs is very scary. If people in the private sector don't like the terms offered to them they can shop around. Teachers can't. I want everyone to think what would happen if your boss came to you and said "ok so your not getting a raise, we are tkaing away your benefits and by the way you have to take this offer and there is no ability for you to go to a competitor." I am pretty sure you might not like that and might be a little upset.

    Teachers are not emergency services. No one is going to die if there is no school for a month. It would be inconvenient. That is the point. Taking away the right to strike is taking away a fundamental liberty enshrined in our Charter. Why are we demonizing teachers?

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    1. Teachers are not being demoralized, but need to understand the real world we live in. A teacher can go to the competition. There are other teaching jobs in the private sector, and believe me, they do not compare to what public school teachers receive. When you accept a position as a teacher and are part of a UNION, this is what may happen. In the private sector, salary increases are often frozen, positions are eliminated, there is lots of discrimination with the more seasoned workforce and much more, never gets discussed publicly and is quietly swept under the carpet. The teaching profession should not be unionized.

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    2. The reason it is so important that teachers are unionized is that there are so many of us doing exactly (more or less) the same job. The union is there to make sure that there is equity among us, as well as a safe and fair working conditions. Without our contracts and regulations, there would be no rhyme or reason as to who gets raises or not, whether we get a lunch break or not, or if we can even take a day off to attend a funeral. When you have over 10 000 people in the same position, you need a way of ensuring that there is equity among the group.

      We do live in the real world…why do people keep saying that teaching is not real world? Is it because of the union thing? Because are not the only union out there: nurses, postal workers, garbage collectors, doctors, and auto workers are also in unions with the same job protection rights and regulations as us. Do they also not live in the real world?

      I had a friend whose dad recently retired from the Ford Auto Plant. He made a CRAPLOAD more money than I did, had WAY MORE paid vacation time than I get, and the most rock-solid pension. How does he deserve all that but we don't ?

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  59. Just about every teacher I know would agree with you- including me. Extremely well put. It is sad to read so many ignorant comments. These are your children that we are taking care of all day- your children that we see more than our own; your children that we spend our money on; your children that we fill the role of: mother, father, therapist, doctor, coach, friend for. The media and the government seem to have accomplished their goal reading some of these comments: making teachers out to be the bad guys. By the way, every friend I have that works in the public sector (with similar qualifications and years worked) have MUCH higher salaries, a significant handful of sick days, weeks of vacation that they can use whenever they want and they can work from home- oh wait, and they dont work with children who pass along to them every germ and illness imaginable, and they dont have parents complain at them, they dont have students threatening other students and staff, fistfighting, being rude and they certainly dont work from 7:30 in the morning when we get to school until 9, 10 or 11 o'clock at night as many of us do....which jobs sound better now??? We arent in it for the "vacation time" or the pay...

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Thoughts?