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A view from both sides

Dear sir:

I graduated from university in 1991 with a degree and certification to teach grades nine to OAC from this increasingly fascist province. At the time, I wished to pursue other interests and placed myself on the call in list for “supply teaching.”

As it happened, though, immediately after graduating, I worked nearly eight weeks straight for a member of the staff at Fort High and discovered firsthand that although I loved the job, there was an immense amount of work involved.

Granted, as with any job that one begins, there is a learning curve and one generally may put in more hours until a routine is established. During that time, my days started at 6:30 a.m. and ran until 11:30 p.m., or midnight, every day for two months.

Obviously, a teacher with a few years under their belt would not spend this amount of time but there is no denying that every teacher brings their job home with them and works on their own time.

How many readers right now would be willing to put in one-two hours per night doing a job-related function for no compensation? I don’t see too many raised hands.

I have, in my life, worked numerous jobs. I have worked construction, service industry, menial labour, and various mill labourer jobs. I have worked 16-hour shifts on the “charging floor,” doing physical labour in 100 percent humidity and 95-degree heat. I also recall working an 18-hour shift under the paper machines, clearing away a thigh deep, near boiling, pulp spill under machine #6.

Many days I put in 10 hours during the summer working construction. Obviously I felt tired at the end of such stretches but I was compensated.

I can honestly state, without hesitation, that after a day teaching a, shall we say, less than hospitable group of kids, that I have never felt more exhausted, including the aforementioned examples. Any work that I had to do that night, in spite of how I might have felt, had to be done, as is by all teachers, free of charge!

Those who I hear stating that teachers are “overpaid” or “have it easy” have no concept of what they speak of!

Many of the teachers who used to volunteer their time after school are now not because of Premier Harris’ “mandatory-volunteerism” (a fine oxymoron). Again, how many readers would volunteer to work after work, free of charge? Teachers have always done that but will not be ordered to, and I support them!

In closing, let me state that I am not a big booster of the teachers’ union. As a post graduate, I have watched as the local “old boys” network is allowed to function, in some cases, in contravention of guidelines regarding the amount of work retirees can be assigned.

The union doesn’t seem too concerned when area schools call in greedy retirees already on a generous pension to work supply in our district public school while those of us who should get the work are left to our own ends.

Our premier states that folks like myself, with only four years of school, are not well enough prepared to be teachers and wants to make it a five-year program.

This same union has yet to go to bat for all the unemployed graduates who see jobs being given to Canadians who haven’t even finished a free bachelor’s degree but are given employment anyways solely because of their skin colour (this “reverse apartheid” is a whole other letter/book).

My perspective is, as I set out at the beginning of this letter, one of a person who sees the issue from both sides. While I am not a militant pro-teacher’s union supporter, there is no denying that Harris is doing the system--and your children--a great disservice.

End his vendetta against the profession in which he couldn’t cut it by voting his fascist butt out of office in the next election, if not writing and calling for his early retirement.

Before it’s too late.


Will (with a “W”)


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