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May 29, 2018

My teaching career began 25 years ago. The classroom experience that I had then is a far cry from the classroom experience at present. The demands on our schools teachers, administrators, counsellors, etc… has never been higher. I have heard about and directly witnessed the impacts that these increased demands are having on our membership. Issues around violence, harassment, and stresses for our membership are impacting the ability of teachers to provide our youth with the education that they need and deserve.

And while the demands on our membership has never been higher, the supports for the membership have not kept pace. Many of us have seen and read stories and postings on social media and other forums that serve only to undermine the good work that our members are doing for the children of the province. It is important that all who are involved in education provide supports to those who are delivering it. Yes – the Premiers Task Force report did offer a number of recommendations that would provide much needed supports. Yes – I am pleased to see the process starting to roll out and I am hopeful that the measures that have been announced will find their way to every school in the province. But, in the here and now, many schools are feeling the pressures, many administrators and teachers alike are faced with demands that are overwhelming. And while, for many, there is a sense that they cannot do any more than they are doing, teachers are still being asked to do more.

I am a teacher. I am a professional. I, like all of my colleagues across the province, deserve to be respected for my professional expertise. I deserve to be respected for what I bring to the table in terms of how best to foster the development of my students. What I do not deserve, what I should not have to endure, are unrealistic expectations or harassment from those who fail to see the impossibility of meeting these demands.

A couple of days ago I came across an article written by a parent entitled “Why Teachers Deserve More Respect” ( The last paragraph certainly resonated with me. It reads:

If you ask a teacher why they teach, the most common response is “to make a difference.” I think back to all of the teachers I have had from preschool to my first year of college, and every one of those teachers has gone out of their way to help me succeed as a student. Staying later after class has ended to explain something, giving me extra feedback on papers to tell me what I need to improve on, spending a little more time in class explaining something so on the next test I will get that question right. They do all of this because they care. They care about each student individually. They want to see their students graduate, whether that be from preschool or college. They don’t want to see you fail because then a little part of them thinks that if they could’ve focused on something a little bit more, tried a little bit harder or spent a little bit more time, you would’ve succeeded. It’s time we start showing those who educate us a little bit more respect because they deserve our best effort for all that they put into us.

I couldn’t agree more!!