Teachers will be ready for school
While I have never met a teacher who does not love summer, for many of us August is a long month of individual preparations for the return to school. Teachers are thinking, planning, talking, and yes dreaming of their return to work. This summer, thanks to all the additional headlines and mixed media messages from our government about the changes to delivering the Health and Physical Education Curriculum there is added consternation for teachers who are trying to prepare a positive return to class on September 4th.
The new PC government has made a lot of statements over the summer and appears to be making every effort to ram through each of their campaign promises before all the leaves hit the ground. Secondary teachers in this community are very concerned that the new government is making up education policy without any consultation with the workers who deliver the lessons. The most recent proclamations made by Premier Ford insisting that teachers follow outdated curriculum or face discipline are unprecedented and have caused tremendous anxiety among the teaching community. We know that anonymous snitch lines do not promote learning or improve school communities. These are divisive ideas which always fail.
Let me assure this community, that there is no desire to return our schools into ideological battlegrounds. Teachers are open to change, dialogue, and consultation. It is how we deal with issues, difficult conversations, and parental concerns daily. We want to assure the parents and students of this community that we are as dedicated as ever to the education of your children.
Enjoy your last few days of summer, and be assured that come the first day of school, we will be ready for you and your kids.
Expect to be challenged to learn within an environment which is safe, inclusive, and ideal for academic and social growth. Dave Warda (Teacher) TBU President OSSTF D14
We are one short week from school starting and the Ontario Government has given little direction or information to teachers and School Boards about their repeal of the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum, besides threats and a snitch line. The curriculum the Government wants Teachers to use was written in 1998, not 2014. Trying to placate the public by insisting that it is a 2014 Health and Physical Education Curriculum, is insulting to our intelligence and just not true.
What has the Government’s responses been to real concerns made by medical professionals, health care professionals and teachers? That it is only a brief change, that no students will be hurt by going back 20 years. This is absolutely not true and demonstrates that our current Ontario Government does not understand the realities of today's students and their families. In response to how Teachers should handle questions, the Government suggested, if a teacher is asked a question, that they can have private one on one conversations with students. That is not only dangerous to our professional career but also sends a message that students should feel shame for asking difficult questions, should hide how they are feeling and what they are wondering or seek help when in trouble. It ignores the realities of what our students live every day and only puts them in potentially harmful situations.
As teachers, we are responsible for preparing our students for life, for giving them the tools and knowledge about the world they are actively participating in. The 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum gives us, as Educators, the tools we need to engage our students and to support them on their education journey.
The 2015 Curriculum covers the reality of what our students live:
• it’s about recognizing uniqueness and differences
• it’s about respecting each other and self
• it’s about creating a safe place to learn
• it’s about allowing all to be part of our school community
• it’s about creating a sense of belonging
It is also about keeping students safe. Safe when interacting on the internet and social media, safe from abuse and safe from bullies.
BUT it is also about creating critical thinkers:
• creating students who can stand up for themselves and say NO,
• creating students that are aware of how to express what is wrong and how to get help
• creating students that know how to keep themselves healthy and active
• creating students that know about their physical health and well as their mental health.
The 2015 curriculum is relevant, important and necessary for all students and teachers. Taking away the tools we use, in the classroom, to support and teach our students is blatant disrespect for our students and teachers. If this Government wants to spend more money by offering more consultation, then go with that plan but do not place our students at risk and discount the importance of the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum. Let us teach from it until there is something new for us to use. That is the respectful and responsible thing to do for everyone! Shirley Bell President, Kawartha Pine Ridge Local, Elementary Teachers Federation on Ontario