Teachers a malleable bunch
How sad it is to realize that Newfoundland society has changed so very little when it comes to employer/employee relationships. But it’s particularly pathetic when that intimidation exists right in the midst of the very profession that purports to be the primary catalyst for change — the teaching profession, and the field of education.
How could any young student be encouraged by word and role modelling — both inside the classroom setting and in extra-curricular activities — to develop strong moral principles when they know their very teachers are being coerced by their supervisors at all levels, right up to the minister of education, to not rock the boat.
All they will learn from such ambiance is that to get along, one must go along, and ignore all the principles of decency and entitlement with a hope — sometimes very faint — that the gods may one day also smile on them as an individual because they too “played the game.”
There is corruption everywhere in varying degrees and those seeds will surely grow and produce a most foul and odious plant that will reek to the high heavens the longer it remains firmly rooted in the educational system.
It was only a few short years ago when Darin King, then director of the Eastern School District, publicly chastised two teachers and suspended them for discussing stress, not in the classroom or on the public media, but at a teachers’ forum with their fellow teachers.
Yes, at a forum for teachers, which to me is comparable to doctors discussing medical stress at a doctors’ seminar. Can you imagine Vicki Kaminski saying, “ok, boys, that’s enough of that. Let’s focus more on the gall bladder removal via the bully button procedure.”
For too many decades, the teaching profession has been treated as a malleable group. Lay down the law from above and they will obey. We watched our teachers pension payments from Joey onward being thrown into a melting pot of general revenue while the concept of a fully funded pension plan was not even discussed.
We watched even the bureaucrats in the pension and payroll office play fast and loose with pension credits. I know that for a fact because I was a potential victim of it, waiting for an NTA executive director, president or my MHA to come to my rescue.
How futile! I even had my union executive director trying to bar me from even discussing the topic at a retirement conference. Then to add to all this control we had denominational school boards, each of which fought to put its branding iron on our wretched bodies, while it laid out a moral course for this.
A course of indoctrination that one must not question — but must passively accept — because the Bible tells us so. Well today, we have many cultural books of moral instruction in play which is a positive because their very multiple existence symbolizes the fact that one’s religion is an individual choice and not a monopoly on truth.
Yet, what kind of society are we still living in when we are trained to speak and think logically, and then are forbidden by this body or that body from doing so? The fishermen, with great help from the Coaker’s and the Cashin’s, threw off the fish merchant burden.