Once the best friend of Ontario teachers, Premier Dalton McGuinty is now in a full-blown battle with the province’s public school educators — and the first casualty will be extra-curricular activities.

Posted: 5 years, 1 month ago by Chameleon #101 Dalton, are you kidding? Really? The day after teachers’ constitutional democratic rights have been violated in the worst possible way, you have the nerve to ask us to favour you with our goodwill? The way forward was to repeal Bill 115 first, elect a new premier, appoint a new Minister of Education and then allow us to bargain with our boards.

Extra-curriculars have always been the teacher’s choice. Union leaders are not needed to tell us to stop or to start the use of our own personal time. My best guess is that thousands of teachers are going to continue to press pause for a very long time to come.
Posted: 5 years, 1 month ago by YinYang #100
So Laurel Broten has now announced that she will repeal Bill 115 and with that announcement she hopes that all will be forgiven including the return of extra-curricular activities. The public seems to have difficulty in understanding that those extra duties that teachers have taken on are completely VOLUNTARY and that teachers have done these over and above their teaching/curriculum contractual duties. People seem to think that they are ENTITLED to teachers’ personal time, without even the compensation of heartfelt gratitude and respect.

And these last few months have really demonstrated just how little the Government respects teachers. And the public has jumped on board fueled by the misinformation spun out in the media fed to them by our Minister of Education.

Can you imagine a society where EVERYONE stayed after work and freely gave of their own personal time to make their place of business a better place without getting paid overtime? Can you imagine communities of people volunteering to pick up roadside garbage, cooking/cleaning at homeless shelters, walking/caring for animals at the humane society, coaching community sports, coming into classrooms and reading with at-risk readers, or engaging with our lonely elder citizens in senior residences. Can you imagine what our Ontario society would look like if we all had a spirit of service rather than of entitlement? Can you imagine a society where the most important word was no longer ‘me’, but ‘we'.

How many hours have you volunteered this week?
Posted: 5 years, 4 months ago by Chameleon #39
Last week I heard Rusty Hicks, Director of Kiwartha Pine Ridge, acknowledge on CBC Radio that over a professional career, teachers will have volunteered thousands of (unpaid – my word, not his!) hours. He was wistful in the hopes that extra-curricular would soon return to normal. I say, don’t hold your breath!

Teachers by the droves are now waking up and doing the head shake and asking themselves, “What have I been thinking all these years – working for free?” At my school, we have completely stopped every single extra-curricular activity. We cannot be forced to work beyond the legal work week or the hours as stipulated in the Ed. Act.

The recent news article below illustrates the ongoing problem of student violence and disruptive student behaviours in many American schools.  To what extent is this also a problem in Ontario schools, and what is being done about it?

Posted: 5 years, 10 months ago by Cambrian #30
I have witnessed students throwing rocks and snowballs and hitting other students with no suspensions. I know of students setting fires in schools with no suspensions. I know of students bringing live bullets to school and discharging them by hitting them with rocks and only receiving a one day suspension. A pregnant OT was threatened with a screwdriver. Where there are no school deterrents such as suspensions, there is student empowerment to continue with the same negative behaviours and to influence others to do the same. If we do not want police in our schools to enforce the Safe Schools Act, then administrators must start doing the enforcing themselves. I have seen ‘good’ schools turn into nightmare schools since the implementation of the progressive discipline policy.
Posted: 5 years, 10 months ago by Chameleon #29
In my career in my classroom (with my students present), I have had a knife pulled on me, I have been hit repeatedly in the chest with a fist, I have been hit over the head with a piece of hardwood about 5 cm in diameter, I have been called filthy names, I have had books thrown at me, I have had a student rampage by overturning multiple desks, I have witnessed a student assault another student with a hard lunch pail in the side of the head, I have witnessed a student grab another and throw him up against the wall, I have witnessed a student stab another student with a sharp pencil and I have received death threats with pictures of guns and messages that I was going to be killed. A colleague has reported being bitten by a student to the point of blood and hospitalized. EA’s report being head-butted, bitten, scratched, kicked and hit. These types of behaviours are more commonly becoming part of the regular teaching/learning landscape and these are behaviours that we are expected to deal with and even accept as part of our teaching role with minimal to no support. I would consider calling the police as an option especially with the violent behaviours.
Posted: 5 years, 10 months ago by Cambrian #28
I do understand only too well that some children have suffered very adverse personal circumstances and that breaks my heart. Teachers try hard every day to make their classrooms a safe, welcoming place for children. But often, that is not enough. Classroom teachers are not equipped to deal with children’s mental health issues nor are we given the EA support that we need to have these children involved in a meaningful way in the regular classroom. How can a (primary) classroom teacher be expected to actually teach when a student throws chairs across the room, kicks the teacher, pulls shelving/posters off the wall and then tries to run out onto the street with no full-time EA while at the same time making sure that the rest of the class is safe? This same student has repeatedly uttered death threats by pointing ‘finger guns’ while shouting “I’m going to kill you!” and “I hate you!” – and the student is back in the classroom the very next day … still with no EA support. What about the psychological effects on the other students witnessing this behaviour day in and day out?

On April 12, 2012 ETFO President Sam Hammond responded to Education Minister Broten's statements to the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario for not participating in the government’s voluntary provincial discussion process, which is contrary to the legal bargaining process of the Ontario Labour Relations Act.;feature=related

Read more: Collective bargaining is a legal process with a legal framework
Posted: 5 years, 10 months ago by YinYang #22
From the ETFO ‘Control Your Future’ site Apr. 16, 2012 we are reminded: “In a 2007 landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada determined that the right of Canadians to engage in free collective bargaining is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

In the CBC News article ‘Teacher stress is killing my profession’ by Robert Smol, he cites “a storm of new and increasingly unrealistic demands, coupled with a noticeable decline in support from many principals and parents [as] contributing to a growing incidence of illness among teachers, including mental illness due to work-related stress.

‘I think that the whole idea of teaching has changed in the last 15 to 20 years,’ says Emily Noble, past-president of the Canadian Teachers' Federation. ‘People are dealing with more high-need students, with more multicultural issues and with no-fail policies. Teachers want to make a difference, but the supports are just not there.’

Read more: Lack of administrative/parent support & unrealistic demands factor into teacher burnout
Posted: 5 years, 10 months ago by CThinker #18
Teacher burnout is nothing new. Teaching is a tough job and most could not stomach it. I know parents who can hardly handle a 2 hour long birthday party - with 5 kids that WANT to be there never mind a class of 30 with a number of kids that DON'T want to be there. The sad part is the fact that some school boards don't give a sh*t what even doctors have to say about the psychological state of mind of a teacher in distress and will run him/her into the ground. I have seen it happen. I love teaching but still work 60-70 hours/week after 20 years in the profession. I have told my children that they are forbidden to become teachers unless they plan to teach high school OR become a nun so that the demands of having a family don't conflict with the gruelling schedule of an elementary teacher. Elementary teachers have way too much on their plate and I haven't a clue as to why our workload has continued to become so much more challenging over the years in comparison to what is found in the high school arena. Just look at the difference in report cards for crying out loud!!! Perhaps ETFO should join OSSTF... (I guess that comment might open up a can of worms...)

Sam Hammond President of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario outlined the top 10 reasons why an “Austerity Budget Punishes Ontarians for a Deficit They Didn't Create” (March 29, 2012):

  1. Austerity budgets don't work.
  2. Ontario is not in a 'fiscal crisis.'
  3. Ontario has a revenue problem, not a spending problem.
  4. Investment in public infrastructure has always put us on the road to economic recovery.  
  5. Public services didn't create Ontario's budget deficit.
  6. Ontarians didn't vote for an austerity budget.
  7. Austerity is tearing the social fabric of what makes Ontario a great place to live.
  8. The budget targets the poor and vulnerable.
  9. Austerity plans will take a toll on women.
  10. Ontario needs a strong middle class for a strong economy.

Please read the detailed explanation of the 10 reasons Ontario's austerity budget is misguided:

“We need to champion good wages, benefits and pensions for ALL Ontarians, so that they can raise a family, retire in dignity and contribute to the provincial economy.” – Sam Hammond

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