I don't really want to, I don't want the backlash... but then again... I believe in our cause.
I'm an educator in Ontario. A member of the Elementary Teacher's Union of Ontario. Someone asked me why, in plain English, why we are having a political protest day. Why we are against this Bill. Here is my reply (edited to make more sense for a blog post).
Bill 115, Subsection 15 (2) - the subsection that puts the government above the Charter of Rights and the Ontario Labour Relations Act. We are fighting because we live in a democracy, and have a voice. We are fighting because the government is abusing its power, and is doing it to us because they know we are compassionate about our students, and they expected us to roll over and take it. This bill sets a precedent that the government can tear up collective agreements, legislate whatever they want, and it's not an appropriate process in a democracy. We are unionized, we have an Ontario Labour Relations Act and it protects our rights to fair collective bargaining. This has been stripped from us. Also, the bill stipulations make little to no practical sense in our schools and school boards -- nothing was written in consultation with anyone truly connected to education or with an educators background. No one even *gets* what most of this stuff will look like, or can explain it to teachers in "plain English".
We are also using our voice and our opportunity to stand up for the caretaking staff, support staff, administration team, and school board employees -- all of whom are also having contracts imposed on them with little information or evidence of planning to what it means for the future, and whom cannot fight for themselves. We are a village, our schools are full of important people, and we are allowed to fight for our worker's rights to a fair process.
We have been misrepresented, completely disrespected, and demeaned... and we are good people, in a very special job. It's so hard to keep hearing that parents are angry they need to spend a day at home with their children... over and over again. Sorry, but we have a future for your children to fight for. We are the tip of the iceberg and we will not sit idle -- for all of Ontario. The thing is, this is all a very human process... and quoting articles doesn't help because nothing is ever reported without bias. I'm bias too, but I'm on the front lines so here's why *I* agree to this protest. I know you will have your own feelings, of course, but you asked so here it is. I'm fighting, as a young teacher, for my future in this profession. I'm fighting so the government can't act like a dictatorship when we have the right to fair process.
Many of you, if anyone is reading this, do not agree or are not on the teacher's sides. That's fine. It's not easy to change someone's mind when they are not personally experiencing the whole picture. I'm not trying to change your minds. I do hope that any comments on this post will be respectful, as I'm being respectful of you. Please remember that teachers are human beings. For full disclosure, before the usual rant and rave begins about my time off and my pay... I am not a permanent teacher yet (I am a long-term occasional who fulfills the role of a permanent teacher while on maternity or sick leave, and am in my position for the full year therefore am on par responsibility-wise with the permanent staff), and for every holiday I receive $0 for that day, so just keep that in mind.
I do agree whole-heartedly to a political protest. This is not a union telling us what to do, we have voted and we have stood in solidarity. This is a bigger beast we are battling than ever before, a significant impact for the future of Ontario will stem from all of this.
Also, keep in mind.. it's good for you to be angry. Do, please, get angry! But then please, turn your anger towards letters and calls and email to your local MPP. You can even rant about "the teachers", but rant to your MPP. Ask what they are doing to ease the current education crisis. Do it. Anger needs to turn into action in this province.
Okay, that's it. I really will try not to say anything else about it. After so many negative comments out there about "those teachers" like we are faceless entities without feelings, I felt I should share something here. Now I'll go back to movie reviews and light-heartedness. Carry on.