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Saturday, August 18, 2012


Many people know that I am a full-time secondary school teacher, while broadcasting on the side (the official term is "freelance", but saying on the side makes it a little more mysterious).   The news has been full of the expiration of the collective agreement at the end of this month and the governments need to try and recoup some of a 15B deficit that they have rung up during their tenure.

 I know that I will go back to school in September and it will be "business as usual", though without an agreement it will be a little bit of a different atmosphere.  Teacher bashing has become a favourite pastime of many of the mainstream media.  I expect it from the anti-union right wing Sun, but not so much from The Star or the Globe and Mail.  Both of the latter papers have taken veiled shots at teachers from time to time and the comments sections have been full of vitriol against teachers and unions.  If that is people's opinions, that's fine as that it was a forum is for.  It is a tad misguided and I think that people like to believe they know teachers because they sat in a classroom for upwards of 13 years and were likely bored by some teachers along the way.

Also, lets face it, teachers have not exactly been portrayed very favourably in movies or TV.  For every "Dead Poets Society" and "Mr Holland's Opus" there has been "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" "Summer School", the list goes on and on.  TV is worse.  It seems that every teacher is either a stereotyped buffoon or nerd, or plot lines are spiced up with a teacher having a dangerous liaison with a student.  It's happened on Degrassi, Boston Public and shows like Mr. D and Saved by the Bell delight in lampooning the profession. 

I 've long since accepted that will be a wage freeze of some sort for the next two years, and I know that it is in the best interest of all to have a stable collective agreement, but it does have to have an element of fairness to it.  Time will tell I suppose. 

The NHL collective agreement has got my attention as well.   As an OHL broadcaster, I know that there are quite a few IceDogs who are anxious to get their pro-careers going. Many magazines have already tabbed Ryan Strome and Dougie Hamilton for the NHL already, while guys like Mark Visentin, Freddie Hamilton, Jamie Oleksiak, Alex Friesen and David Pacan are likely tabbed for the AHL, a league that will not be affected by the lockout and will start in mid-October. 

For the freelance (now I'm talking media, I will use the official term) broadcaster last year saw a ton of movement as teams like Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Phoenix, Washington and Calgary all saw TV or radio on-air personnel changes.   This year as hockey holds its collective breath, the same goes for the job market.  It has been very quiet in the hockey opportunity market as there is no need to expand on-air coverage, while there is no coverage to be had.

Again, settled agreements are better for the overall health of the industry and for this broadcaster, there is hope a settled agreement will catapult the search for fresh on-air talent!

Steve Clark

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