Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NOW I understand why Dalton McGuinty is so intent on full-day kindergarten

The following are some of the rules of Kindergarten that Robert Fullum lists in his book All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten:

The italics beside each rule are my thought bubbles about Dalton McGuinty, Laurel Broten, and this whole Bill 115 fiasco:

1. Play fair. Respect the fact that I, too, am an intelligent and knowledgeable human being.  Respect that I have the same democratic rights as you to decide my future.  Remember that when we elected you, it was so that YOU would work for US.  Just because you make more money than me and you get to be on TV more often, it doesn't me you're better than me or more intelligent than me or even more knowledgeable than me.  Remember that you once had at least 15 teachers just like me that taught you everything you know. I'd like to believe that those teachers did a good job.

I voted for you.  I voted for a fair, democratic government that cares about me and my children and that has my best interests in mind.  Stop lying to the press to make yourselves look better and to purposefully ruin our reputations.  Which brings me to my next point:

2. Don't hit people. Especially where you know it hurts.  Why are you brainwashing people into thinking that we're "hurting" the students. That we're greedy, shallow, and lazy individuals? I can honestly say that I have worked as hard, if not harder, this year vs. any other year.  Yes, its true that I didn't coach my cross country team this year, but I still got to school an hour early and I still left more than an hour late, using my time that was once consumed by coaching to work EVEN HARDER at constantly revising my lessons, communicating with parents about when their child needs help and when their child succeeded, giving extra help, and everything else I could do that to put my students first. I spent 5 hours alone finding the perfect article for parents to read while they waiting outside my door for parent/teacher interviews (I had over 40, in case you thought I might have cut back). I always put my students first…do you?

And by the way, while they may be just "students" to you, I call them my kids.  That's right, for 10 months of the year, they are my kids: I cry with them, I worry about them, I encourage them, and I teach them-and not just reading and writing, but also how to be kind to others, how to resolve conflicts in a meaningful way, not to lie, and that bullying hurts. 

3. Put things back where you found them. Revoke Bill 115.  Let's start fresh. 

4. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS. Dalton, this one's especially for you.  One word: prorogue.

5. Don't take things that aren't yours. Don't take away our bargaining rights.  Don't take away our  Charter rights.  Don't take away our pensions.  Don't take away our human rights, our dignity, our reputations-all to balance the books that you messed up. 

6. Say you're SORRY when you HURT somebody. Ummm….do I really even need to explain this to you?  Ms. Broten, I know you a woman trying to prove yourself in a man's world, but believe me when I tell you no one will think less of you if you just admit you made a big mistake. We already think so little of you, but it takes real strength of character to admit when you're wrong.  It makes those you've wronged more open to forgiveness and more open to working together in an honest, open, and-dare I say it- democratic environment.  

When I teach my unit on bullying, I always admit that not only was I bullied when I was a kid, I was also a bully. And then I tell the kids that if I could go back and do it again, I would choose to be bullied over being the bully, because while I am proud of being able to overcome being bullied, I will never, ever be able to be proud or to justify why I was a bully.  Can you make that same claim?

7. Wash your hands before you eat.  In the words of Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth, "Out, damn'd spot! out, I say! I'm assuming you'll know what I mean by that. 

8. Live a balanced life - learn some and drink some and draw some and paint some and sing and dance and play and work everyday some. I'd really, really love to do that someday, but if you keep messing with my pension, that age is getting later and later and later.  It must be nice to be you, Mr. McGuinty, and just decide one day that you'd like to just…quit.  And get paid $300 000 as  reward for abandoning the citizens of Ontario and messing up the entire legislature. PS. It doesn't even make fiscal sense to mess with pensions; the sooner you can get older teachers to retire, the sooner you can hire new teachers who are much lower on the pay scale.  I may be an English teacher, but mathematically speaking, doesn't that make sense?

9. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. This includes not alienating the 200 000 VOTING teachers in this province…in addition to those teachers' spouses, families, friends, and significant others. Not to mention the high school students who will soon be voting   for the first time ever.  

It also includes not pitting parents against teachers when we know that the key to student success is when parents and teachers work together.  Why are you trying to turn them against us?  What did we ever do to you?  Why would you want parents to think that the individual educating their child is a lazy, overpaid, glorified babysitter?

10. And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.”  Look at what you're doing to this province.  Look at how you orchestrated this fiasco with your self-fulfilling prophecy.  We had no intention of striking. At. All. But then you took away our democratic rights.  You lied to the press about us.  Mr. McGuinty, this was never, ever about money as you keep claiming.  In fact, the pay freeze was the first thing we accepted.  Ms. Broten, we didn't just "walk away" from the bargaining table.  You refused to bargain with us.  You put a contract  in front of us and said, "sign this or get out!" So we got out.  

We really, really want to get back in.  We want to bargain in good faith.  We want to get back to normal, even if normal means frozen salaries, reduced sick days, and frozen banked days.  I want to be able to take my 6 Special Education students to the Dare to Dream youth leadership conference in February.  They are all awesome kids and I know they have it in them to be future leaders.  I want to coach track and field.  I want to be able to stay past 3:45 so I have time to hang up the amazing anti-bullying posters my kids created.  I am sick of your messy, intrusive, and unfair politics.  

I want to be a teacher.  And I want to be respected for it.  

Apparently, Dalton McGuinty and Laurel Broten never learned these important lessons in Kindergarten; perhaps that's why they're so intent on the next generation going for the full day.  

1 comment:

  1. Great, thoughtful post! I like the link to a book so many of us know & love. :-)

    Mme Aiello @ Teaching FSL