Given my personal interactions with School District No. 23’s dedicated teachers – the same teachers who provide exceptional learning environments for our children - I was surprised to read Jeff Hunkin's comments in his March 18th column (Teachers: What are you teaching?) on Castanet.
In my judgment, the opinions Mr. Hunkin articulated are unfounded and insulting to teachers in our District and throughout the Province. From my personal perspective as an elected School Trustee, I have the opportunity to see the results of the long hours and good work of our teachers.
They are dedicated professionals, working under challenging conditions in an ever-changing learning environment with increasing pressure to meet individual student needs, parental expectations, and curricular outcomes.
Our dedicated teachers create places for inspiration, curiosity, and creativity - opening worlds of opportunity for our children to shape a new future, to become responsible and contributing citizens, and to empower them to open new worlds of inquiry. Maybe it’s time Mr. Hunkin went back to school and see what’s happening in the classroom.
So before Mr. Hunkin decides to share his judgment of Central Okanagan’s 1,250 teachers, I urge him to do his homework. Our teachers deserve respect and recognition for their commitment and professionalism.
Differences of opinion about working conditions are legitimate points of engagement as part of any contract negotiation. But because both negotiating parties in this case don’t see eye-to-eye on these matters, it is not proof that our teachers are “over indulged and overly pampered with minimal onus of responsibility to parents, and little transparency to the general public, unless it conveniently serves the union’s purpose,” as Mr. Hunkin so boldly asserts.
Education is the foundation for a civil society. And teachers are the bedrock of our education system. They deserve to be treated fairly - even if there isn’t agreement about what exactly that looks like right now. Our children are our future and our teachers take their responsibilities seriously to provide a quality public education that supports a strong and prosperous society.
Although the BC Public School Employers’ Association and the BC Teachers’ Federation are still negotiating the terms of a new collective agreement, attacking teachers is inappropriate and unproductive.
Central Okanagan teachers understand their responsibilities and they work tirelessly in the best interest of our children.
Trustee Chris Gorman