I am writing in regards to Mr. Kennedy’s June 22 letter to the editor, “No sympathy for B.C. teachers”, where he is swift to lash out at teachers as being overpaid, underworked and lazy, except for the few that do this work for the love of the job while barely making their mortgage payments. He further equates teacher salaries with doctors — apples and oranges, Mr. Kennedy.
I take great exception to his generalizations and feel pity for this man and all his built-up anger towards the education system, which he currently knows nothing about. In “the current day” where educators try to teach tolerance, understanding and non-bullying, Mr. Kennedy’s letter equates to the exact opposite. Perhaps if the public were made privy to all the snail-paced negotiations of the government, their lack of co-operation to bargain fairly and the contract-stripping policies they are trying to “stick” teachers and the children of B.C. with, he would understand that the call for a strike is a last-ditch measure. Teachers would rather be teaching than walking a picket line.
Since Mr. Kennedy went to school “back in the ole days”, teacher responsibilities and workloads have exponentially exploded. There are no more smoking rooms, Sir. Lesson planning/marking consumes weekends, teachers coach or tutor before and after school (all unpaid), buy supplies for their students out of their own pocket and take on the role of social workers and psychologists to kids and parents alike.
Perhaps Mr. Kennedy would rather see teachers paid “old school” like babysitters. Consider a class of 30 children with each child equating to a nominal $3 rate of pay per hour. That’s $90 per hour per 30 kids. Times that by six hours equals $540 day. Five days equates to $2,700 or $10,800 per month. Ten months for $108,000.
High school teachers who educate 105-plus students per year (based on rotational blocks) would earn $378,000. That certainly does beat the $47,000 a year an average full-time teacher makes in B.C. This number, however, is much less appealing as most teachers are unable to secure full-time positions. B.C. teachers form the eighth lowest paid province in Canada.
I do thank Mr. Kennedy for the kind comments for my wife, a dedicated teacher, who earns no income during the summers but continues lesson planning.