Opinion

The Fourth 'R' - Ur doin' it RONG

The teachers' unions are fighting the Ontario government's ham-fisted legislation by punishing students.

By James Arlen
Published September 19, 2012

So if you are of the parenting streak, a labour leader, politician or teacher, you're aware that there's some fuss going on right now with teachers. If you're not one of those things, this still affects you but you won't feel it for a while.

Recently, in a move that can only be described as "borne from the eternal flowers of stupidity growing in Queen's Park", Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and his minority Liberals with the support of the Conservatives passed legislation ordering a common contract between all teachers and all school boards and restricting bargaining rights.

It is very difficult to argue that the move the government has made is in congruence with the way that any of us as individuals would choose to be treated in our work.

The teachers are attempting to move public opinion against the legislation. I understand that. Teachers have often had issues with opinion making in the public eye. My opinion of teachers when I was a child was largely positive - I had good teachers for a few formative years. As a teen, my opinion could best be described as far too much like students of "The Breakfast Club".

My opinion of teachers as an adult varies widely due to the individual performance of those who have been or are my kids' teachers. At the start of a new school year, I try to be optimistic about what teachers will bring to the table.

This year, while under duress, the teachers are responding with a work-to-rule campaign that revolves around the refusal to participate in so-called extra-curricular activities.

This is not producing a positive turn in my opinion of teachers and I'm having a very hard time keeping my children engaged and positive towards school.

Volunteering vs. Job Requirements

What this "pause" in extra-curriculars has done is help me as a parent develop a very clear idea of what "the job" entails from the perspective of the teachers and their unions. Justifying 10 months of 6.5 hour days for what the rest of us working 50-60h / week for 50 weeks a year would consider pretty good money just got a whole lot harder for teachers and their unions.

The teachers' unions are doing an astronomically bad job of gaining my sympathies as they claim that anything they do outside of the classroom is "volunteer".

My profession requires a significant amount of unpaid volunteerism and continuing education, but I don't use it as an excuse to do less than what the job requires. I know very few people who work less than a consistent 50h / week.

"Acceptable" for jobs is arriving a little early and leaving a little late - 8-6 and eating at your desk. And if you're climbing the ladder or are one of the many people who work and parent and volunteer, you're putting in even more.

That's the stark reality for the overwhelming majority of workers who have stable full time employment with good benefits packages. There are teachers for whom teaching is a true advocation - who regularly put in what the rest of us would consider to be the necessary unpaid overtime of the job. I was very lucky to have a handful of them in my scholastic career.

Unfortunately, of the population of teachers that I've interacted with as a student and parent, the number of "clock watchers" is a super majority.

Key Component of Stuent Experience

At this point, I'm questioning whether teachers are even aware of what the job entails. When I see teachers' unions trotting out the threadbare excuse: "but extra-curriculars are volunteer work", my only response is: "You suck at both understanding the job description and negotiating contracts."

I dare any one of the teachers (or apologists who haul that line out) to explain themselves. As I see it, they've got two options: 1) they were not participants in those activities as students - out of deep and abiding concern for the excess load placed on those teachers or 2) what they refer to as required volunteerism is what the rest of us refer to as "part of the job".

For the last century, school sports, clubs and artistic endeavour have been a key component of the student's experience. Are the teachers of today suggesting that their retiree co-unionists failed to correctly define job definitions and what does or does not fall under the heading of 'paid work'?

Or are the teachers of today suggesting that their students should not be offered the same opportunities they were able to enjoy? Either way, the teachers are angry at their bosses and they are taking out their anger on my kids.

That's the behaviour one would expect of a petulant child or an abusive spouse. I will not stand for it - and neither should anyone else.

Punitive and Petty Interactions

The issue at hand is that the social contract (rather than the written one) is what truly governs the relationship between teachers, students, parents, and society at large. My children have not violated that social construct, neither have I violated it, but the government and teachers have.

It is accepted societally that government will often behave illogically and we often expect much from the winners of popularity contests, and I have made my views clear to my MPP an the offices of the Minister and Premier as is my duty.

My children attend school and do not engage in punitive or petty interactions with the teachers, but out of all of the groups, the only one taking direct action with malice against the least prepared and least influential of us all are the teachers.

They are engaging in behavior that meets the dictionary definition of bullying - playing "keep away" with the smallest kids on the playground. It is quite simply shameful. There is no way to spin this - to make it okay for adults to materially negatively impact the lives of our children.

Congrats folks, you're crystallizing public opinion - and you're doing it wrong. Until they prove otherwise, anyone who calls themselves a teacher and participates in this "pause" has legitimately earned the Stolen Wardrobe of Barry Manilow Award.

I will be civil, but I'm done trying to tell my kids that their teachers are to be trusted or admired.

James Arlen, CISA, is a senior consultant at Leviathan Security Group providing security consulting services to the utility and financial verticals. He has been involved with implementing a practical level of information security in Fortune 500, TSE 100, and major public-sector corporations for 18+ years. James is also a contributing analyst with Securosis and has a recurring column on Liquidmatrix Security Digest. Best described as: "Infosec geek, hacker, social activist, author, speaker, and parent." His areas of interest include organizational change, social engineering, blinky lights and shiny things. http://jamesarlen.net/ Note: his RTH username is "Myrcurial"

63 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 07:01:57

Justifying 10 months of 6.5 hour days for what the rest of us working 50-60h / week for 50 weeks a year would consider pretty good money just got a whole lot harder for teachers and their unions.

Wrong. As the child of a teacher, this is simply untrue. My mom works from about 7:30am to about 4:30pm at her school, then another 1-2 hours at home doing lesson plans, marking, and the like. Then, come report card time, most evenings and weekends are taken writing them.

I disagree with some of the work action, but also hearing the government and the union's sides, I can understand why some teachers are attempting this type of work action.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 09:59:19 in reply to Comment 80992

You've taken the sentence out of context for your comment -- what I was saying specifically was that the labour unions have re-defined "the job" as 6.5h/day for 10 months by making the statement that what the uninformed masses consider to be part of the job really isn't.

I know that some/many/most? teachers work as hard at their jobs as any other professional. Some work VERY hard indeed. And there are a whole lot of clockwatchers who do the absolute minimum necessary to get by.

The unions seem to represent the latter group.

Permalink | Context

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 07:07:28 in reply to Comment 81017

I don't think so. If the unions have reshaped the work week into 6.5 hour days, where's the proof?

And if so, how on earth would this work when schools run from, say, 8:30 in the morning until about, oh, I don't know, let's say 4pm? That's more than 6.5 hours a day. And trust me - the prep time teachers get while their class is in the gym, library, computer lab, music room or wherever is not enough to get an entire day's plan ready, marking, report cards, etc.

Your rant comes off more as someone who is anti-union. Is this because you work in a non-unionized profession or workplace? Are you so angry because you wish you were a part of it? If so, remember, you had a chance to become a teacher or be a part of it back when you were finishing high school.

Me? I work in IT too and we don't have the luxury of a union (though we sorely need it!). I dislike some of what the union is pushing for - things such as a pay freeze are needed since most of us in the private sector have not seen increases in years - but I also agree with some of what the union and its members are fighting for.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2012 at 09:41:50 in reply to Comment 81073

As a parent and observer, the unions' message has been very clear: Teaching happens in the classroom. Things that were done outside the classroom hours (band practice, sports, afterschool tutoring) are volunteer-based.

I'm not anti-union. Heck, I've been a unionized IT worker -- that's 11 kinds of heck to work with. Need three people to install a server, one to rack it, one to install the network and power cables and a third to push the on switch. But I was well paid, never worked more than 37.5h/wk without paid overtime.

Here's the part that's going to blow your mind:

I COMPLETELY SUPPORT THE TEACHERS' UNIONS AND THE RIGHT TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING. IN FACT, I WOULD STRONGLY SUPPORT A WILD-CAT STRIKE TO END THIS STUPID IMPASSE.

The point of the article (which people seem to skim right over) is that the teachers are bullying our children. Taking out their anger at their employers on kids. And with the bulk of the issue being Ontario Elementary School Teachers - it's the littlest kids.

Why can't we do the right thing and have the union act against the government or against the parents -- but not against the kids.

Permalink | Context

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 09:32:10 in reply to Comment 81073

Your rant comes off more as someone who is anti-union. Is this because you work in a non-unionized profession or workplace? Are you so angry because you wish you were a part of it?

Exactly. This rant reeks of jealousy, spitting on the teaching profession because they're actually organized enough to fight for fair treatment.

I find it distressing that 100 years after the Paint Creek mine war, where dozens of W. Virginian coal workers died fighting for basic rights like recognition of the union by management, that jealousy over unionized workers' gains still encourages people to piss on them for having a united voice and leverage when bargaining with big corporations or governments.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2012 at 09:44:34 in reply to Comment 81084

Holy crap on a cracker.

The rant is about the bullying of our children.

I'm not always on the side of the union, but I also think that what the teachers are doing as a "not quite work to rule" response is just wrong.

Be angry at your employer, be angry at the parents, but do not beat up on the kids.

It's as simple as that.

Permalink | Context

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted September 22, 2012 at 08:10:51 in reply to Comment 81087

There's no 'bullying' going on. Let's define it, shall we?

From the anti-bullying legislation: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_d...

Education Act 2. (1) Subsection 1 (1) of the Education Act is amended by adding the following definition: “bullying” means the severe or repeated use by one or more pupils of a written, verbal, electronic or other form of expression, a physical act or gesture or any combination of them if it is directed at another pupil and if it has the effect of or is reasonably intended to have the effect of, (a) causing physical or emotional harm to the other pupil or damage to the other pupil’s property, (b) placing the other pupil in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or damage to his or her property, (c) creating a hostile environment at school for the other pupil, (d) infringing on the legal rights of the other pupil at school, or (e) materially and substantially disrupting the education process or the orderly operation of a school; (“intimidation”)

And from the dictionary's definition: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/b...

bul·ly1    [bool-ee] Show IPA noun, plural bul·lies, verb, bul·lied, bul·ly·ing, adjective, interjection noun 1. a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. 2. Archaic . a man hired to do violence. 3. Obsolete . a pimp; procurer. 4. Obsolete . good friend; good fellow. 5. Obsolete . sweetheart; darling.

Sorry, I just don't see the declining of taking part in extra-curricular activities as meeting any of those items above. You're just calling sour grapes.

Comment edited by DowntownInHamilton on 2012-09-22 08:15:01

Permalink | Context

By LOL all over again (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 07:24:09 in reply to Comment 80992

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 08:14:27 in reply to Comment 80995

Speaking as someone married to a teacher, I can tell you that teachers can get into the school that early, and even earlier, via custodians who are already there. My husband starts his work day as early as 6:30-7:00 am every day,works through lunches, and takes no breaks -- recesses are spent returning phone calls, completing admin tasks, assisting students, when he is not scheduled for yard duty. He spends evenings and weekends marking, preparing lessons, and researching and/or practicing for whatever extra-curricular events he is assisting with. He has spent many thousands of dollars of our money on additional qualifications courses, because school boards do not pay for these. Any money he spends out of his own pocket on teaching aids, reference books, or his own supplies are not claimable on tax returns. He has never worked for a board that pays out sick day gratuities upon retirement (though to read the paper you'd think all teachers had this perk). The union he belongs to is not engaging in any job actions such as the work-to-rule campaign you refer to, though, again, the media (including this article) imply otherwise.

The points I have mentioned above apply to the teachers we know, including those among our friends and those who have taught our own children (a considerable number, taking into account the size of our family).

One more thing- from the article above: "That's the behaviour one would expect of a petulant child or an abusive spouse." Really? Saying "I'm not going to coach you for the marathon after work today, honey," is the same as beating your wife? Please.

Teaching, like other white-collar jobs requiring both post secondary and post graduate education, has both its advantages and disadvantages as well as considerable responsibility. To have two months off every summer where one's time is one's own is good (though some of that time is spent on professional development, or on preparing for the coming year), but not too different from other professions where lieu time is accrued (not possible in teaching) or vacation time increases with seniority. Having said that, we have never encouraged any of our own children to go into teaching, even in the years before the teaching job market dried up. Articles like this one, typically seen at both the beginning and the end of the school year, are part of the reason for this.

Comment edited by Michelle Martin on 2012-09-19 08:38:01

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 09:50:10 in reply to Comment 80998

I wish that all children could be as lucky as yours and the students of your husband.

This piece was not intended as a personal attack against any single teacher, but rather a summation of the profession as a whole - that one union behaves better than another is largely irrelevant as we are judged by the least of our associates.

To be clear (and many of the comments are extraordinary in taking single phrases out of context) the quote "That's the behaviour one would expect of a petulant child or an abusive spouse." refers specifically to the notion that should you experience upset or anger, you should not take it out on an unrelated entity. The teachers' anger with the government is being unleashed upon our children.

Permalink | Context

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 18:54:52 in reply to Comment 81014

he teachers' anger with the government is being unleashed upon our children.

Again- unleashed? Please.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2012 at 09:48:43 in reply to Comment 81054

Yes, unleashed.

If the teachers' unions (heck, let's pick on Ontario Elementary School Teachers) had a modicum of common sense or an understanding of the anti-bullying curriculum, they'd see that what they're doing is wrong.

Because teachers are having trouble with their employers, my kid who has been running two kilometre circles for the summer just sits and stares at her cross-country shoes and asks when the teachers are going to go back to work.

That's what I'm saying when I talk about the social contract - the one that says "I'll trust you with my most precious every day because I think you're a professional who is without fear and beyond reproach" - the teachers and government are embroiled - but the kids have no voice.

Permalink | Context

By Kiely (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:50:03 in reply to Comment 81089

Because teachers are having trouble with their employers, my kid who has been running two kilometre circles for the summer just sits and stares at her cross-country shoes and asks when the teachers are going to go back to work.

Why don't YOU go run with your kid?

Or is that not your job either?

Permalink | Context

By tired of the hypocrisy (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 20:19:37 in reply to Comment 81054

Are you protesting against the government or the children. If its the children you are hitting the target hard. If its the government you aren't even aiming at the right planet. If you actually cared about the kids you'd never do this. Explain to me how this helps kids. If you really meant it you'd do like every other community volunteer who's not a teacher and realize that your boss is the problem not the kids you give your time to. If you can't do that please don't volunteer in the future, we don't need that kind of volunteer

Permalink | Context

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 08:40:11 in reply to Comment 80998

One more thing- from the article above: "That's the behaviour one would expect of a petulant child or an abusive spouse."

Really? Saying "I'm not going to coach you, after work, for your marathon race, honey," is the same as beating your wife? Please.

Permalink | Context

By AnjoMan (registered) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 09:43:14 in reply to Comment 81000

There are many ways one can abuse their spouse without hitting them or even being openly aggressive towards them.

Permalink | Context

By Conrad66 (registered) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 08:38:50 in reply to Comment 80998

I hear you im a Custodian and i start my day at 6 am at school and the erliess i have a teacher comming in is at 7 am .. but i told her come in when the secretairy is comming at 7 20 am . cuz i dont have time to open up the school make sure every thing is secure and safe around the school make sure everry thing is well cleaned and open all the doors in the school and clean some of my corner of the school but if i walk by the door and if there there il open the door for them .. but i hafe to get my work done also .

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 10:05:21 in reply to Comment 80999

As a personal note, the non-teaching staff at schools deserve a whole lot more credit than they get. The true dirty jobs are done by some very caring people.

The secretaries that bandaged me up after another recess run-in with the big kids.

The custodian who cut the lock off the locker I spent a morning in.

There's more to school than teachers.

Permalink | Context

By DowntownInHamilton (registered) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 07:59:31 in reply to Comment 80995

Normally I agree with you, but this is just ridiculous. Most schools open at 7:30am, and I would say that it's more than a "tiny minority" put in extended hours. I would posit that it's a tiny minority that paint the rest as lazy, unthankful, union-types.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 09:25:43

My profession requires a significant amount of unpaid volunteerism and continuing education, but I don't use it as an excuse to do less than what the job requires. I know very few people who work less than a consistent 50h / week.

Jeeeeeez Arlen, suck it up. So you foolishly work for free--big deal--and somehow that's a problem for teachers? I am constantly blown away by this race-to-the-bottom attitude. Just because your profession "requires" unpaid work (it's not volunteer work if it's compelled) doesn't mean it's right to not pay people for their labour, and doesn't mean everyone else wants those working conditions extended on to them.

Obviously you feel remunerated well enough to continue to put in your 50hrs a week, but you still sound aggrieved. If so, please take it up with your employer, not other workers. A lot of people, not just teachers, just want to be treated fairly in the workplace, and number one is being paid for work.

In the case that workers really love their jobs (as most teachers do) and want to add value through volunteer activities, that's just a benefit of treating people well. Since the gov't chose to legislate, not negotiate, teachers have no other options available to them except doing their paid work and withholding their volunteer labour.

James, if you're going to spout on about unwritten social contracts, then you should be prepared to discover that there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 09:54:41 in reply to Comment 81006

TANSTAAFL has been a guiding principle in my life for a very long time. Whether I'm a fool or not - the jury is still out, but I'd agree with you often as not.

My upset with teachers is not the hours - heck, if anything, I'm envious of a job that I'd love to do - I teach a significant amount as part of my job and profession and I love every minute of it. My upset is very specifically that the teachers' job action amounts to nothing more or less than bullying children.

There is absolutely no way to change the facts in this - as a response to unfair labour practices, some (but not all) teachers' unions are bullying children.

Permalink | Context

By Kiely (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:55:37 in reply to Comment 81015

job action amounts to nothing more or less than bullying children.

You're not doing any favours for those concerned with REAL bullying by trotting out this hyperbole.

Refusing to take part in extra-curricular activities is not bullying. At this point in the comments you should recognize that statement is not gaining you any support... no matter how often you repeat it.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By SD (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 09:47:25

You lost credibility when you claimed that teachers only work 6.5 hours. I don't think you are dumb. I think you are very smart and are trying to manipulate the public into thinking that teachers are lazy. Nice try.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 10:09:32 in reply to Comment 81013

Check again. I said that the unions are making the claim that only "in the classroom" work is paid work -- that's 9-3 (ish) in most jurisdictions. The unions (more specifically the Ontario Elementary School Teachers) are the ones that are attempting to defend a 6 hour work day.

None of this is about lazy or my attempt at manipulation. This is about teachers who are bullying children by playing "keep away" with what most people consider to be a part of going to school (and therefore a part of the job of teaching.)

Rather than choosing to deflect from the real issue, you're choosing to pick on a mis-quote.

In your words... "Nice try."

Permalink | Context

By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 18:53:44 in reply to Comment 81021

None of this is about lazy or my attempt at manipulation. This is about teachers who are bullying children by playing "keep away" with what most people consider to be a part of going to school (and therefore a part of the job of teaching.)

The fact that you consider it to be part of the job doesn't make it part of the job. Teachers for years have been volunteering for these programs out of love of doing them.

The reason they are "bullying" your kids is that they are feeling bullied by the government and have no other means of making it clear to people how dissatisfied they are.

I'm sure they'd rather be running those programs but instead they're worried about the negotiations that aren't being held in good faith.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2012 at 09:50:08 in reply to Comment 81053

Ok - so you're suggesting that the best response of a bullied person is to pass it along and find someone smaller/less able to respond and bully them?

Really?

Permalink | Context

By Brandon (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 20:53:57 in reply to Comment 81090

I refuse to accept your defining of the teachers' actions as "bullying".

Do you really think the teachers take pleasure in not doing the activities any more? That it makes them feel better to tell the kids "Sorry, this activity is cancelled"? That, to me, defines bullying.

And on another note, if you do something for years out of a love of doing it, are you obligated to do it forever? Do you now owe it to those who took advantage of your kindness to continue regardless of how your life changes?

Permalink | Context

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:04:47 in reply to Comment 81090

Stop claiming that withdrawing volunteer labour is bullying, James. It's not.

You're acting as though teachers' volunteer time is an entitlement. It is not; it relies on their goodwill, and in turn, our goodwill in electing a government who will negotiate with them in good faith.

Like I said earlier, if you're so sad about your kid staring at her shoes, tell your boss you have to leave work on time until the teachers get back to work so you can volunteer to run the cross-country club.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 10:09:09

My upset is very specifically that the teachers' job action amounts to nothing more or less than bullying children.

That's hypberbole and I challenge this "fact" of yours. Teachers are educators first and foremost, not babysitters and drama-club directors. That you, I, the government and society at large gained from their extra-curricular beneficence for years is something that teachers should be credited for.

That some teachers, demoralized and angry that the negotiating process has been completely side-stepped by the government, now choose to only educate is a predictable and reasonable consequence. It is not bullying, it's rational behaviour as shaped by the almighty market that we're supposed to worship.

Administrators, parents and community members can now fill the void and demonstrate their commitment to children (but think of the children!) by stepping in and running programs outside of schools. James, maybe it's time for you and all of those other 50hr/wk workers to tell your bosses that you're only working the hours you're paid for, and rush back home to coach soccer or the debate team.

Instead of bemoaning teachers, the whipping-profession of our age if there ever was one, why not try to replicate the benefits they offered (for free) and see how much it costs you?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kevin (registered) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:24:32

"I will not stand for it."

What are you going to do, Jimmy? Make up more lies?

By the way, I know for a fact that almost everyone in your profession is a lazy, incompetent, money-grubbing bully, who doesn't care about children.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:31:16 in reply to Comment 81025

I'm keenly interested in what you perceive as a lie - there are no falsehoods in the above - some carefully chosen words intended to ignite some conversation, but no lies.

In the grand tradition of all Canadians, I'm probably going to piss and moan impotently and then have to choose from another slate of unhelpful ideologues when the next election comes around.

And you're actually right about my profession - except the incompetent part - only about half are.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 11:59:35

Every teacher I've spoken to knew they were going to take a hit. Some actually were okay with it and knew it was time to take one for the team, others just knew the public wouldn't support them in any job action right now so fighting too hard would be fruitless. But they were all ready for it and had accepted that they were going to lose a lot in the next contract.

But this outcome isn't anything like what anybody expected. There was supposed to be some negotiation. The government and the teacher's union was supposed to meet at the table, lay out some options, and settle on the one that was least-awful. Instead, the Provincial Government did a complete circumvention of the entire collective bargaining process, first actively campaigning against the teacher's union in public, and then jumping straight to legislation.

That's not okay.

And even worse, we've got Smokey Thomas at OPSEU writing letters that are over-the-top attacks on the government, embarrassing his union and feeding more ammo into those who'd like to see public-sector unions abolished altogether.

What should've been a reasonable negotiation for a new contract has instead become a threat against the institution of collective bargaining.

Permalink | Context

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 18:56:53 in reply to Comment 81030

"But they were all ready for it and had accepted that they were going to lose a lot in the next contract."

Very true, in this house.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 16:21:15 in reply to Comment 81030

This is absolutely worth discussing, but represents a different facet of the issue. I'm concerned with the teachers' unions taking out their legitimate frustration and legitimate anger on the least among us.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By vot de f. (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 15:54:59

Vot de fok dis got todo wit raising da hammer uv Hamilton, Hudak person?

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 16:18:48 in reply to Comment 81044

Shall we start with your intriguing use of not words? This is about education. It saddens me that you cannot participate in the discourse - I imagine that you were saddled with multiple Stolen Wardrobe of Barry Manilow Award winners.

This is about what kind of place Hamilton (and the rest of Ontario) are going to be like when we permit adults to bully elementary children and materially impact the university applications of our high school students.

Something that people seem to forget is that the Hamilton we're raising today is the Hamilton in which we will live. If we do not take care of the children and quit pushing the issue down the line, we're going to hand those same children an even worse pile of crap than the one that we've inherited after 50 years of study groups and political asshattery.

This is at it's most literal about the Raising of the Hammer.

EDIT: Also worth pointing out that the conservatives do not represent my political viewpoint.

Comment edited by Myrcurial on 2012-09-19 16:27:10

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By moylek (registered) - website | Posted September 19, 2012 at 17:11:37

Allow me to join the Incredulity Chorus: "6.5 hour days"???!?!?

I'm married to a high-school English teacher - between the many hours of marking each week and covering classes/suspensions during lunch, a 32.5 hour work week is all but unheard of for her. Same goes for her colleagues.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kevin (registered) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 19:38:32

lol a o a; you've always got a lot to say about everything and you're, obviously, convinced it's brilliant and true. For someone, who poses as a genius, you're inability to use a, simple, comma suggests you're, actually, a fool with a keyboard and access to the Internet.

Why don't you put your name on your blistering, insightful comments? Ashamed? Scared?

This article is offensive: completely, entirely, disgustingly, creepily offensive.

Comment edited by Kevin on 2012-09-19 19:39:05

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jimbo (anonymous) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 22:28:47

this article might have gotten somewhere if you hadn't tossed in the line about teachers being lazy. Then people got the option of totally disregarding any message and attacking that straw man.

As for the real issue, progressives either never learned the David Miller lesson or forgot it very quickly.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2012 at 09:30:46 in reply to Comment 81065

Jimbo, I'm struggling to understand where I referred to teachers as lazy? If you'll check, you will discover no such thing. I refer to teachers in one of three ways: 1) clock-watchers in the finest tradition of Richard Vernon (The Breakfast Club), 2) teachers who give far and beyond - with true avocation and 3) as bullies angry at the government but lashing out at children.

I don't think teachers are lazy. The ENTIRE point is that I think bullying children is damn inappropriate and contrary to the well being of our children.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kevin (registered) | Posted September 19, 2012 at 23:12:47

B.S. This childish, lazy, poorly-written, mean-spirited pile of crap was never going anywhere.

I dare Jimbo, James Arlen, or any of their apologists to go after women, gays, minorities... with the same ridiculous, hate-filled vitriol and stereotyping.

Enlighten me, Jimbo, what is the David Miller Lesson?

Permalink | Context

By jimbo (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 13:29:50 in reply to Comment 81066

your comment takes a lot of parsing Kevin. Apparently to you even suggesting that there an issue in opposing the teachers' union demands is off the table, and by doing so you you are 'going after' them in the same way as someone who goes after gays, minorities et al.

The David Miller lesson is that when the union goes after the most progressive city government Toronto had ever seen, on the basis that Miller was a soft target and they could get concessions, they set public opinion against them and inaugurated the most retrogressive government the city has ever seen. Similarly McGuinty has been at the helm of a government that has raised teachers' salaries by 25% in ten years. Then when he even suggests (as a bargaining position, note, which gets watered down in the eventual settlement) that increases would cease and benefits would be reduced - then a strike situation breaks out.

I agree tachers should have the right to bargain and strike. But I don't think they've thought through the consequences.

Permalink | Context

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2012 at 09:34:50 in reply to Comment 81066

Kevin,

Childish, lazy, poorly-written, mean-spririted?

Really?

I think that while nearly all of the comments have revolved around the teachers - no one is addressing the actual thesis of the piece.

TEACHERS ARE BULLYING CHILDREN.

Angry at their employers, they are lashing out at the least among us.

My kids do not understand why their teachers are being mean to them. It is as illogical to them as if as their parent, I was angry with my employer and I took out my frustration on them. It's abusive and wrong.

And if you knew me, you'd know that I am one of the least ridiculous, hate-less and frankly, living in a set of stereotypes of my own. This is not about me or you or women, gays, or minorities. This is about bullies in our schools.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kiely (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 10:45:54

Justifying 10 months of 6.5 hour days for what the rest of us working 50-60h / week for 50 weeks a year would consider pretty good money just got a whole lot harder for teachers and their unions.

This is bullshit. Teachers don't just work 6.5 hours a day and most teachers have to take courses during their "summer vacation" to be eligible for pay increases.

RTH should be ashamed to have published this ad hominem tripe. We don't need more teacher-bashing.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 15:30:04

Teachers simply can't make up for this by arguing they do all these extracurriculars - it cannot justify salaries that are well above most other public servants.

Go ahead, Jimbo, back that statement up. Here's the link to Ontario's sunshine list. There aren't a lot of teachers on there, and when they are, they are near the 100k cutoff. The top end of the grid is actually something around $95,000, so I'm not sure what extra work or qualifications or benefits top them off above six-figures, but they're still well behind the folks tending your sick, or generating your electricity.

You're trying to tell me that someone with a 3 or 4yr degree, or even an MA, who then does a teaching certificate, and continues to upgrade their skills over the course of their career shouldn't approach $95k?

Give it up, Jimbo--no one begrudges doctors or lawyers for their six-figures, and they don't have 30 screaming patients or clients in the office every day at the same time, each with different needs, demands and levels of communication and comprehension.

Permalink | Context

By jimbo (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 16:03:28 in reply to Comment 81105


Paramedics $30 ph, at 1800 hours a year that's $52K

Early childhood educator? Here's a govt posting at $15-16 per hour, or $28,000: http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/detail-eng.aspx?OrderNum=6646173&Source=JobPosting

Nurses? $40 ph is pretty normal for a public health nurse, comes to $70K.

Court Services Officer? $800 pw.


Teachers are quite simply paid far above most public sector workers. You can bring in people higher on the list like doctors and crown attorneys, but that doesn't show that they are not paid more than most.

"You're trying to tell me that someone with a 3 or 4yr degree, or even an MA, who then does a teaching certificate, and continues to upgrade their skills over the course of their career shouldn't approach $95k?"

This is the crux of your argument. Yes I am contesting this. $95000 is a LOT of money. The average Canadian wage is something like $27000. If teachers think they have some sort of herculean job that warrants them earning three times the average, then I think there's something wrong.

This page gives a pretty good breakdown if you continue to disagree: http://www.workopolis.com/content/advice/article/1821-how-much-money-are-we-earning-the-average-canadian-wages-right-now

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2012 at 17:32:55 in reply to Comment 81107

Not one of those positions you just listed require a bachelor's degree plus grad-school. Not one. Don't you think that kind of cherry-picking is a little dishonest? 95K is for the highest level of qualifications (IE they've taken additional qualifications courses to maket them eligible for leadership roles within the organization) at the highest level of the salary grid.

Then you're comparing this absolute maximum vs. average salaries for other professions.

Compare apples to apples.

Nurses are the closest to compare - nursing at least requires an undergrad.... http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/publications... ctrl-F "Registered Nurse" and holyfreakingsurprise, there are nurses on the sunshine list! The top-end and entry-level for nurses compares to teachers. It's almost as if two career paths that are both academic professionals working for the public have similar salaries. This is apalling!

And like I said in another thread, teachers were ready to take a hit on salary anyways. They knew it was coming and were prepared for that. The present job action is about the fact that there was no negotiation - the provincial government went on the attack in the press and then legislated them to work without going through either negotiation or the arbitration that would be appropriate for an essential service.

Comment edited by Pxtl on 2012-09-20 17:43:05

Permalink | Context

By j (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 17:49:25 in reply to Comment 81111

I don't think level of education is a valid comparison. Level of education should not in and of itself mean anything. Only in teaching does a degree mean something regardless of its relevance. In engineering, medicine, and law (the examples given above) the degrees are necessary and relevant. More importantly, in those fields there is a stronger reason for higher salaries - that the people will go to the private sector or other provinces/ states where pay is better. What's the justification for teachers? Does the teacher with an honours degree/ Masters degree do any of a better job than the teacher without?

Permalink | Context

By Borrelli (registered) | Posted September 21, 2012 at 09:07:07 in reply to Comment 81112

Does the teacher with an honours degree/ Masters degree do any of a better job than the teacher without?

I've gotta conclude with a comment like this that you're just messing with us. Someone making a legitimate, sincere argument that they have spent at least one minute thinking through wouldn't publicly suggest that the amount of education an educator has received is irrelevant to their job performance.

Comment edited by Borrelli on 2012-09-21 09:07:32

Permalink | Context

By j (registered) | Posted September 21, 2012 at 15:56:56 in reply to Comment 81127

I'm not messing with you and this is my true belief. I am actually personally an example of an overeducated person who knows very well that additional degrees do nothing for my intellectual ability much less ability to teach. I read lots of Foucault and De Tocqueville and onwards in my degrees and none would give me one iota of assistance in teaching school. Heck some would just tell me that school is a hegemonic construct bent on insidious nationalistic objectives.

Your argument, in contrast, has all the hallmarks of the person you describe (kneejerk, smallminded etc) in that rather than responding to my point you attack the person. If your point were so strong you should just make it. What's the benefit of a graduate degree in a discipline that is not education to teaching kids?

Paying someone more simply for achieving another letter beside their name is ridiculous. You pay people for skills.

Moreover my point is not only that the degrees are not themselves a good enough reason for higher pay, but that unlike other advanced degrees teachers can do exactly one job with it. There is no need to pay them more to avoid them going to more lucrative jobs.

That's not to say you pay them badly; you just pay them as well as other middling salaries; I'd say topping out at $70K would be sufficient.

Permalink | Context

By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted September 21, 2012 at 16:30:26 in reply to Comment 81139

Please tell me how my wife's undergraduate degree in math has nothing to do with her ability to teach high school math class.

Permalink | Context

By j (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 16:06:59 in reply to Comment 81107

wrong on the average wage above, that site I linked says it's $47000, though on the stats can site it says average hourly wage is $22 an hour, which is lower than that.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By not arlen (anonymous) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 15:45:43

James Arlen says he is not some who-Hudak supporter. But he is doing work of the Hudak gang--and same tripe Stephen Harper's people have just begun in Ottawa. Take a look at Hudak caucus members' comments since budget in early summer--Arlen's piece right in line whether he likes it or not. See Hudak on TVO last night! Working people organizing themselves for betterment of them and the society they are in IS what this is all about. Anyone who believes right to withdraw parts of unpaid labour, or otherwise paid labour in a strike situation--anyone who thinks this is or can be separate from right to collective bargaining--e.g. Mitt Romney; Arlen--is a know-nothing about Canada's history: "real" history (war of 1812, says Harper & Kenney); social history; or of all things in Hamilton (with McMaster), labour history. Sigh. The Arlen piece is in its type a long rambling letter to the Spectator.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By julie (registered) | Posted September 20, 2012 at 21:51:33

There is one point that I wonder about that hasn't come up yet.

I was the teacher-advisor for the school's wrestling team a few years ago. Believe me, I know nothing about wrestling, and apart from supporting it because I believe that people should be active and fit, I don't care about wrestling. Not one bit.

But there I was, 4 days a week, from 3:30 - 5:00, in or near the gymnasium (which is loud and dreadful) for 5 months of the year because the team couldn't run without a staff advisor. The team already had a coach, but apparently they needed a staff advisor. I did my marking while the coach ran the club. As the advisor, I then had to take time out of teaching (I think it was a two day tournament) to go to Windsor and watch wrestling matches all day. I took my marking.

It does seem to me that the team should be able to run without me. I honestly added nothing, but I had to be there or the kids couldn't have a team. Weird.

There have been several people here telling others to get involved and run the clubs themselves. I suspect, based on my teacher experience, that it's not an option. I don't know if that's absolutely the case in all boards and at both levels, but something seems wrong about that.

Permalink | Context

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted September 20, 2012 at 22:42:42 in reply to Comment 81121

May depend on the activity or board policies? Or possibly different at the high school level. My own kids, when in elementary school, have been coached by parent volunteers for basketball, volleyball, flag football, and teachers weren't required to be on site. CYO flag football, for example, takes place well after school on fields across the city, parents are responsible to get their own kids to the games and practices, and the whole thing is run by volunteers. These volunteers, of course, have to keep current police checks on file. Other activities, like cross country meets with wide participation, practices are held at lunch, overseen by teacher volunteers, and the meets are a day-long school field trip for the large number of kids who go. Really, these things depend on so many things, many activities have evolved differently over the years, interest from students waxes and wanes from year to year, supervision requirements differ depending on what a board feels is a liability...

Or even what teachers are available to do, and competent to do in terms of these optional activities. For example, a school won't have a chess club if none of the staff can play it. Last time my husband ran a chess club it was challenging to organize a tournament with other schools, not a lot of competition was available, it becomes impractical to do. Do you, then, as the parent of a chess-loving child raise hell if a school folds the chess club? Or do you learn the game yourself and play it at home? If parents can start demanding extra-curricular activities in principle, what's to stop them from demanding particular types of activities? DO we then say every school must run sports teams, and chess clubs, and science fair clubs and drama clubs and glee clubs and dance crews and debating teams and crafts clubs, when a single school doesn't have the facilities to accommodate all of these things in a week? Who gets priority, and why? You move into complicated territory when you insist that extra-curricular activities are essential to the school day. Which ones, then, and why?

For children whose backgrounds are less privileged than many of us here, there are other places to get those activities for low cost or for free-- the YWCA, the Public Library, Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton, Brownies, Scouts...

Comment edited by Michelle Martin on 2012-09-20 22:59:35

Permalink | Context

By Julie (registered) | Posted September 21, 2012 at 08:03:51 in reply to Comment 81122

I'm always overwhelmed by the number of extra-curricular activities that go on at my school, and school's in general. There are always teachers in the building doing something from before I get there at 7:30 to well after I leave at 4:30.

But there's certainly no implication that these extra activities are anything teachers have to do, and every now and again there's a reminder from admin. that the primary focus should be on the core activities in the classroom, so maybe that is different at the secondary level.

There's always something else that needs a teacher volunteer in order to run (I did a Dance Dance Revolution lunch club once!), but if they can't get a volunteer, it doesn't run. The wrestling club at the school stopped running soon after I stopped advising because it was impossible to get someone to commit 1.5 hours a day for four days a week for 5 months (our school went to Provincials regularly).

I do agree with the thrust of the argument - that withdrawing from voluntary coverage does essentially mean using kids as pawns in the struggle. But asserting that all this extra work is part of the job is just a position taken in an argument for effect.

Permalink | Context

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted September 21, 2012 at 19:41:54 in reply to Comment 81124

You ran a DDR lunch club? My hat's off to you! :)

Permalink | Context

By julie (registered) | Posted September 21, 2012 at 22:24:29 in reply to Comment 81144

It seems that wherever I go, noise follows me. I don't like noise. But noise and teenage sweat together. Wow. I'm due for a sainthood. I kept air-freshener in my drawer to spray after they left so my next class didn't complain about the "stinky boys" who'd been in there at lunch.

After a few sessions, I gave them all lecture about deodorant: "wear it even if you don't need it, because you do". Perhaps the best lesson I've ever taught (besides the correct use of the possessive).

Permalink | Context

By Julie (registered) | Posted September 21, 2012 at 08:05:41 in reply to Comment 81124

Ugh. Schools not school's. I'm using my real name so I didn't log in and can't edit. The shame.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kevin (registered) | Posted September 21, 2012 at 02:07:33

jimmy: Childish and lazy: “Unfortunately, of the population of teachers that I've interacted with as a student and parent, the number of "clock watchers" is a super majority.”

Super majority?

“Super majority.” Let that soak in, jimmy.

You wrote, “Super majority,” and expect respect and credibility.
Poorly written: Your first two sentences are; “So if you are of the parenting streak, a labour leader, politician or teacher, you're aware that there's some fuss going on right now with teachers. If you're not one of those things (sic.), this still affects you but you won't feel it for a while.”

After several readings, I still don’t know what this means. The onus is the writer to be understood. Otherwise, he or she has failed, miserably.

“It is as illogical to them as if as their parent, I was angry with my employer and I took out my frustration on them.” Again, this is incomprehensible and ridiculously written.

You used “opinion” four times in one paragraph and then, again, in the first sentence of the next. For the sake of us readers, please, don’t be such a lazy, self-absorbed, narcissistic hack and try, a little, harder next time.

“TEACHERS ARE BULLY CHILDREN.”

Is full capitals yelling on the Internet? Do you have proof of this? Most teachers are women; does this have anything to do with your macho, hyperbolic posturing, jimmy?

I dare you to make a similar swipe at another demographic, publicly. I dare you, tough guy.

“My kids do not understand why their teachers are being mean to them.” If your kids’ teachers are bullying and being mean to them, for God’s sake, call the C.A.S., the police, the Spec, The CBC, The Toronto Sun, and the school board and have the criminals fired and arrested.

Why would you release your children to “mean bullies for 6.5 hours a day?”

What’s wrong with you? Unless you’re lying, you’re a worse parent than writer.

You claim to be a sweet, loveable, misunderstood, adorable victim, like Bob Young. I don’t buy it, for a second, cup cake.

Like you, I have a lot of opinions I like to share on the Internet, and I think everything about your submission and subsequent defence of it is creepily, disgustingly gross. I think you’re a gutless, passive-aggressive bully, who is a bigger disservice to his children than a teacher ever could be.

And, if you knew me, you’d know, like Bob Young, I’m a sweet, wonderful guy, well loved by everyone, who agrees with me.

Shucks, golly gee. Go, Cats! Teachers suck!

Comment edited by Kevin on 2012-09-21 02:09:51

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

There are no upcoming events right now.
Why not post one?

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds