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Monday, January 14, 2013


As a regular consumer of media, a lot of newspapers have been sold, commentary generated and opinions produced on TV and Radio on the seemingly endless teachers dispute.  If you take a look at the number of viewers comments on websites, it far surpasses most other articles.  

If you also took the time to read the number of viewer commentaries, you might go legally insane at the baffling logic, gross inaccuracies and ranting tones of those who obviously have been traumatized by some sort of teacher/student interaction deep in their psyche. It seems that many people have had their voices heard, some to the point of exhaustion.  Government, Union leaders, Parents, even students are liberally (pun not intended) quoted through various media sources. 

All arguments and attempts to define the profession are ridiculous and display beyond belief.   Yet Teachers have largely had to sit back and take it.  Scant attempts to set the record straight have been met by louder on-line jeering by those who are so brave, that they use an online pseudonym.  

The ones scarcely not heard from?  The teachers themselves, the ones at the heart of the dispute instead are spoken for by those who think they know the profession inside an out.   Oh sure,  there are lots of images of teachers holding picket signs, the odd microphone clip at a rally, or a quote in a newspaper, but it does not even come close to representing the real interests of the profession.  

There will be little time wasted on Bill 115. It's a deeply-flawed Bill put forth by a Premier who hit the back door when the heat was turned up, and whose early salvo fired in the whole dispute was a laughable video attempt at a warm-hearted olive branch extended out to teachers.  Whomever green-lighted that should either have been canned, or was playing a magnificent practical joke on the premier.  The Bill itself was stamped and put into force by an Education Minister/former lawyer, combative in nature and refusing to really answer any questions on the matter, instead sticking to a well-worn smoke-screen of a script about "Putting Students 1st"

As far as the repatriation of extra-curricular activity, that is something of a more sensitive subject among the profession. Extra curricular are an integral part of a school day, and part of the development of the student but not the most important.  Daily education is always, and should always be the most important part of the school day  and I would stand shoulder to shoulder with my fellow professionals who are innovative, articulate, educated and above all always are looking for that added motivational tool to reach a very diverse student population in their daily lessons.   Many people have lost sight of that during this battle and through it  teachers have been seen as one of the main villains in this beyond its best date tragic farce.

On the whole the profession has taken a sound beating, and its time to start the long, slow rehabilitation of a profession that has largely been misunderstood by a public who only really have their own memories of school draw upon and have been misled by a polarizing Education Minister, and a government whose recent strategy was to have the Premier quit and the parliament prorogued, despite the fact important decisions need to be made. 

Time to push the reset button, get back to business as usual, and get back to restoring faith in a system that has, and continues to produced top notch, educated professionals. 

Steve Clark
Law Teacher

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