Teachers hurt by union influence

The teaching profession faces a perception problem

As my husband and I have two hardworking teachers in our family we read with great interest the letter about the teaching profession from Lynne Holloway and Rick Willie. (Western Nov. 2)

We agree with everything you say and most particularly the public image problems that the teaching profession faces.

Maxwell Maltz, the author of Psycho-Cybernetics (1960) and the forerunner of now popular self-help books, once said: “The ‘self-image’ is the key to human personality and human behaviour. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behaviour.”

My husband and I would take this one step further and say that self-image is the key to public perception. Teachers set the standard for public perception by belonging to the blue-collar union movement.

Standards for teachers are high: professional requirements, ongoing training and dedication to the job should not be taken lightly by the public. The influence that a teacher can have on a student can be lifelong. Most of us have in our memories at least one and sometimes two teachers that have influenced our lives and we still remember a half century later.

Yet teachers are constantly put on the back burner of public opinion. The minute anything happens to little Johnny or Mary it goes back to the teacher. Bad grades or behaviour, it goes back to the teacher.

Because teachers belong to blue-collar unions they are perceived on a different level than other self-governing professional bodies such as lawyers, accountants and doctors. They are seen as protecting the incompetent, luckily few, instead of setting the standard for professional conduct and educational excellence that are a source of pride and control in other professions.

Despite the fact that the most important job in Penticton has to be guiding our children to face an ever-changing world ahead of them, the recent school board candidate meeting held by DPAC at the Days Inn was attended by less than 200 people in a Penticton population of 35,000 citizens.

We wish many of you well as we know how hard working and dedicated you are. But your image problems stem from your inability to insist that your professional expertise qualifies you to represent yourself and set and enforce the standards by which you practice your profession.

Once you do that you are entitled to expect excellence, call yourself professionals and consult with school boards and other governmental bodies on an equal level instead of just as unionized workers.

Elvena and Ernie Slump