To the editor:
I, as a taxpaying citizen and former student of the Fort Frances High School, would like to say a few things about the strike to the general public and especially the teachers themselves.
Firstly, I cannot remember a time in my 20 years during which the teachers of Ontario have had to strike before. This, in itself, should be an indication that their right to strike, which the government wishes to remove, has not been abused. Besides the strike issue, though, the opposition to the bill itself is not a result of greed or malicious intentions on the part of the teachers. It is out of a true and great concern for the quality of education for the students of Ontario.
Unfortunately, unless the government realizes soon that the teachers will not sacrifice quality education, then all students, especially high school students, will suffer the loss of education and classroom time that can never be truly recovered.
I can proudly say that I have had the honour of being the student of some of the finest teachers, and finest people that I could have ever wished for. I completed from grade 10 to O.A.C. at FFHS and was at first worried at the quality of education in small town compared to a city. I quickly learned that my fears were unfounded in this school.
The teachers at FFHS are another group of people unto their own. In the classrooms, they command respect, not obedience, and treat all students equally and with a consideration that they might a peer. I have had the honour of being taught by great men and women like Mr. Hallikas, Mrs. Martindale, Mr. Maraj, Mr. Vancowenburghe, and too many other teachers to name. These people were more than teachers to me; they were mentors, sources of inspiration, and I would like to say that they were also friends.
These teachers went above and beyond the job description and my expectations.
I have gone into the home of teachers during the evening when I needed assistance. Many teachers hand out their home phone numbers on the first day of class and make sure that every student knows that any phone calls are not only welcome but anticipated. These teachers look at the curriculum and see not a series of lessons that must be taught to the students in order to earn a pay cheque but a series of tools that can be used to open the young and intuitive minds of their students, and challenge them to learn and not just memorize.
These people do so much more than just the daily routine of dry lessons and quickly answered questions that so many uninformed people seem to think.
Personally, I just wanted to try to convey the sense of admiration, respect and honour that I have for these great people, and wanted the teachers themselves to know that they are much more than civil servants. I believe that the teachers are the backbone of the community and deserve our support.
I may be just one person and one voice but I fully support the teachers in their fight for our educational system and maintaining the quality of education that is needed today.