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Dear people of Ontario:

June 18th, 2015 | Posted by Amy Boughner in Issues | Parenting

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I have heard reports from multiple teacher friends now that they have been on the receiving end of abuse from parents and I am now really, really angry.

Let me state right out: I am a supporter of unions. Though they have their issues, unions have done amazing things for people’s lives and the work that gets done. I am also a supporter of teachers. I cannot imagine how difficult a job it is to do. And yes, I know that there are some bad teachers – I had them too – but I also had some good teachers that probably changed my life.

I believe that most teachers love the kids and are dedicated to them. My daughter has had an absolutely wonderful year of preschool thanks to three dedicated and hard-working ECEs and now a pretty damn good kindergarten year thanks to a solid teacher assisted by a solid ECE. I believe that these experiences have paved her way for the rest of her school career.

I also believe that it is a parent’s job to support their child’s teachers. But right now there are parents across this province who are not only blaming teachers for job action that they believe is hurting the students (for which the province and the school boards should also receive blame) – I’m not even a teacher and I’ve been called naive for believing that our teachers actually do have the best interest of students at heart.

But the worst of it is that parents are being abusive towards the teachers.

This I cannot understand. It’s not just that people don’t bother reading about the issue and start blaming teachers for not doing work that they are actually doing. I want to know what you think you’re teaching your children by speaking out so loudly against the people you send them to every day.

I wonder about this because I think you’re teaching them that teachers don’t deserve respect, and that’s an attitude that will last with them through the rest of their lives. A damaging attitude.

*In 2012 the Ontario Liberal government put forward Bill 115, the “Putting Students First” Act. The act includes several measures that prevent basically any official organization from evaluating whether the act is constitutionally sound or whether it goes against the Human Rights Code. Any government putting such restrictions in any act should immediately be seen as a problem. 

The government/school boards says this is all about more money, the teachers say this is about not giving up control of their own prep time, not taking away restrictions on class sizes, etc. In fact, the EFTO says it has not brought salary issues to the bargaining table yet. 

Why do I trust the EFTO? Because school boards have already been caught lying – boards across the province told parents that there would be no report cards because teachers hadn’t submitted grades. Teachers did submit grades, the boards want the teachers to input the grades into their system and the teachers are not doing that because they are working to rule, which means doing their job to the letter of their contract. Entering grades is not in their contract. Unfortunately many Ontario parents seem to vastly underestimate the amount of extra time teachers put in, particularly around report card time. 

Just because someone has become a teacher (or a public servant for that matter) does not mean you own them. It does not give you a right to treat them as less than human. It does not give you the right to teach your children that these people are not worth kindness.

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