Opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent any other organization or affiliation I may have.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

What if teachers adopted "Net Zero"?

*Read this on Kevin Epp's facebook page and loved it so much I had to share...

What if teachers adopted "Net Zero"?

Well, if they did, things would change dramatically in schools.

First, the "collaborative meetings" which Minister Abbott claims are so important wouldn't happen. Teachers are not paid, nor required to attend meetings (except for one staff meeting a month) outside the school day.

Field trips wouldn't happen. Since the planning, organizing, and collecting of money, forms and other things necessary for these trips to happen are not part of our work. While away with students, teachers are away from their families. Parents who chaperone go along by choice, and teachers who organize and run these trips also do so by choice.

Extra help at lunch time, or after school would also cease. Teachers are paid only for class time. Although, for a fee, tutoring would be available as it is in the classified section of the paper. The marking and preparation of lessons, report cards, adaptation of work for children with special needs, and many other things are all done on our time.

Sports, clubs, science fairs, music performances and theatre performances would stop. Most of these things are done outside of the work day and 'outside' of the 'hours of work' for teachers. Tournaments, play days, track meets, assemblies, performances, all require hundreds of hours of work. That work is unpaid. We get our summer off. Yes we do. Most of us need it to make it up to our families who don't see us when we're away on field trips, tournaments, or at performances.

Teachers would start telling students who don't have a pen, pencil, eraser, paper, or calculator that the classroom runs on "Net Zero". The teacher will no longer give them the materials. It seems that some people don't realize that there are no cupboards filled with these things in schools, and teachers spend, on average, $500 dollars of their own money for supplies they give away. Perhaps teachers should start to charge 'user fees' like the government does.

Graduation ceremonies would have to be taken over by others. Who? I don't know. Teachers at secondary schools spend countless hours organizing the grad ceremonies at every high school in the province. That is not paid work nor a requirement.

Reference letters and assistance with university applications would also need to be taken over by others, again, who would do this is unclear. If not, then perhaps, like others, letters and forms would be completed by teachers, however, under the Net Zero Mandate, those would be only completed for a fee.

Net Zero by teachers would mean, go to school just before the morning bell, teach your students, leave for lunch (since those in the private sector can go out for lunch...MLAs get lunch for free....) return to teach for the afternoon, and leave promptly after the last bell.

No lunch time activities like student council meetings, practices, extra help sessions, meetings, phone calls, parent interviews, rehearsals.....and.....

No afterschool practices, extra help sessions, meetings, phone calls, rehearsals, field trip organization, grad planning, open houses, and...............

Nope. Not anymore. Not under the Net Zero (teaching) Mandate.

Our government claims that along with no salary increase for teachers (who are ninth in salary in Canada but live in the most expensive province) they also need to take away other rights from teachers.

They want to roll back health benefits, take away job security, and provide even less for kids that need extra support.

Why haven't teachers adopted the "Net Zero" (teaching) Mandate? Because we are professionals who care about kids. Because we didn't get into this career to just earn dollars. Teaching is not a lost art, but the regard for teachers is a lost tradition.

[copied this from Kevin Epp, President at Okanagan Skaha Teachers' Union status on Facebook]


  1. Well said! Thank you for posting this and I hope many people read this. I am going to share it:)

    1. Thanks Terri, I felt it was too good not to share with others also :)

    2. Awesome...Let's hope for a strong "Yes" vote tomorrow.

  2. Well put - now if the country would just listen!

    Amy :)

  3. Trouble is that teachers care too much so this will never happen. Even if they are mandated back and given nothing., teachers will still do these things. So it would be an empty threat.

  4. not to mention that if we didn't take the time before and after classes to plan, prep, photocopy, research, etc..., can you imagine the poor quality of our lessons? It is outside of school hours, when i am not TEACHING, that I plan out lessons to make them interesting and relevant to my kids!! As said above, we still do these things - empty threat indeed!

  5. i do think that if teachers aren't prepared to work to rule then we deserve what we get- if we won't stand up for ourselves we can't expect others to.

  6. The only issue I have with the net zero argument is that if you factor out all the other work involved, and strictly worked teaching hours, you are looking at about 6 hours of work/day (without an unpaid lunch like most jobs). At 30 hours a week, 2 weeks off at Christmas, a week off at spring break and 2 months off in the summer, the pay per hour is much more than someone working FT in the private sector. In my job in the private sector, the expectation is to work more than the alloted 37.5 hours of work. I often work in the evenings, weekends, and am away on trips during the work week. Vacation pay for the first 8 years of employment is 15 days off a year. If this was unacceptable to me, I do have the decision to find another place of employment. But I don't leave, because I like my job and I accept that this is a part of my work. My husband was a teacher for over 10 years, and so I am also not speaking from a place of no experience of what your job is like. Yes, he also coached numerous school athletic teams, because he came from a place where he valued sport and wanted his students to grow up with some of the great experiences he had in high school sport. He has since left the teaching profession and is now involved in coaching sport full-time. I can say that there is even more time now away from the family for competitions and training camps than when he was a teacher. But this is what he loves to do, so there are sacrifices to be made for doing what you love sometimes.
    I am not saying that teachers don't deserve a pay raise, as it cannot be an easy job. However, I am not sure this "net zero mandate" is the way to go in the minds of garnering support from the public at large.

    1. Zladys - the writer of this article is simply listing some of the "extra curricular" activities that teachers engage in which are completely voluntary. however, they are necessary for a school to function and are some of the "unwritten duties" which go along with teaching students.

      you must know a friend or family member who is a teacher. please ask them how many days a week they come to school at 830 and leave by 3. also ask them if they take any work home with them in the evening and during the weekends.

      teaching in the classroom is just one part of our duties. all teachers must plan carefully in advance taking into account holidays, early dismissal days, assemblies, sporting events etc to ensure that the curriculum is covered. they also try to make lessons fun and engaging so that not only can they "tick" items off the curriculum list, but they feel that students will take something away and enjoy learning about topics they may initially find boring. it often takes longer to prepare a lesson than what students spend in class doing. this is not sustainable, but for some important lessons, it is worth it.

      photocopying alone can take hours a week. having materials worthy of being photocopied, waiting in line and getting copies done all takes time. if you have a son or daughter, take a look at how many handouts they receive from their teachers and multiply that by 200 students. their teacher had to make these copies, wait for them to finish and then distribute them to students.

      you may say well once you have a set of lessons, you'll never have to do work again. true, there will be less upfront work in preparing, but teachers are always tweaking their lessons. fixing things that didn't work so well last year and adapting to the times. we want to make our lessons relevant and meaningful to today's students. we must keep up to date with the latest technology, literature, media etc to help us give our students lessons which will benefit them most.

      marking is another item. for example, in high schools, a full-time teacher likely has 200 students to mark assignments, tests, projects and homework for. even if you only collect and read over one page per week, that's like reading an entire 200 page book. teachers don't have time to do this in class. why? because they are busy teaching the next unit. that's not counting tests and or projects.

      teachers are also legally obligated to report any physical/emotional problems to child services/RCMP. if we notice them discussing drugs, physical abuse or crime, we must follow through and do the paper work associated with it. if we do not, we can lose our jobs, we can't turn a blind eye since we are responsible for them in and outside of school. this all gets done on our own time, but is a duty as a teacher. of course, this is not getting done in class.

      if you start adding up these items, you can see that 6 hours a day if a gross understatement.

      we easily have 2 hours of planning, an hour of marking and 1/2 hour of admin/photocopying duties per day.

      the average teacher is easily putting in 45-50 hours/week during the school year. this is for core teaching duties.

    2. Zladys - The "net-zero" is the government's mandate. This post was simply saying "what if teacher's took the governments stance and moved forward at 'net-zero' as teachers?"

      Furthermore, salary is only one of many issues BCTF has brought to the table... sadly BCPSEA won't allow somethings to be negotiated locally and won't negotiate any of the items BCTF have brought forward.

      It is clear by the items BCPSEA wishes to bargain that their goal is to take more control over things such as committee-appointments, professional development, hiring and such.

      One can't help but wonder what the ultimate agenda is? More and more it feels like privatization of public services is their end-game, which is a sad reality.

      I am tired of the rich getting richer and everyone else paying for everything.

    3. Wow!
      How beautifully said, because it is all so true. Some other things not said yet include how teachers very often have to go shopping on their own time and vehicle expense for supplies, including books, math manipulatives, dvd's, etc. Other times they are encouraged, pushed or bullied into combing over publisher catalogues for resources. Yes, they get a say for what they know they need to deliver curriculum, but once again this comes on their own time, outside of the school day. Teachers have to meet during their lunch time or after school, because they are teaching the rest of the time. Then they have to fill out the order forms and the requests for funding. Other times they are bribed with free resources if they ditch their previous planning and preparations (another area of shortfall for BC teachers compared with other provinces - less than half the paid preparation time to plan lesson delivery and the individual adjustments necessary to accommodate the variety of personalities and skill levels in any given class ), to pilot something new pitched to the districts by the business publishers.

      And don't get me started on grave differences between administration from school to school. Talk about discrepancies! One provides release time for teachers to plan Welcome to Kindergarten, others vehemently do not, and expect the teachers to plan and prepare everything needed - shopping for snacks, materials, books, name tags, goodie bags, etc. to put on a good show for parents, outside of classroom time, using their own transportation. If you don't comply, you are a rebel. You don't get resources (like the new computer) for your class. You don't get a good recommendation should you want to change schools. And more blackmail or bully type treatments like not supplying paper for students to work with! Yes some administrators hide paper and supplies or lock them up so you have to ask the secretaries' permission for supplies to teach your children. These requests and hunting expeditions are also done outside of class time. Other administrators make sure teachers have what they need for the students. Some teachers get release time for sports, others don't. Some get compensation for organising staff presentations and assemblies, others don't.
      Where is the consistancy and accountability for administrators?
      Truly, the general public has little understanding of the intense extent of teaching. Thank goodness teachers love working with and have such compassion for kids. Sadly, that compassion is being eroded by the constant bashing and bullying they sustain for caring and for speaking up about what they know kids need and what the classroom needs in order to function best for ALL learners.
      Those needs include respect for the professionalism and education teachers must invest in, in order to deliver the rich quality education BC is noted for around the world.
      Why do non-teachers undermine this knowledge and expertise?
      Why do a select few wield their power to erode the dedication and talent teachers have?
      Teachers have children too and they also have a vested interest in the future and in society.
      There is a great deal more involved in teaching to get the curriculum taught between 9 and 3 in less than ten months per year. That timing is an absolute fallacy.
      Teachers do care because kids are worth it. And teachers pay for it in so many ways.
      Stop teacher bashing. Suck up your jealousy for the compassion and investments teachers give to society every day of the year.

  7. Agree. I am a high school teacher and this is bang on. Plus, if you look at federal EI guidelines, which everyone knows are pretty miserly and do their best to short-change everyone, they count teachers as working 9.5 hours per day. That’s 47.5 hours per week. If this poster wants to count 8 UNPAID weeks for summer, 2 paid weeks for Christmas, and 1 paid week for Spring break, that’s 41 weeks. 47.5 hours times 41 weeks = 1948 hours per year. (Realistically, however, most teachers still do prep on Christmas and Spring Break, and spend the first week of their summer holidays cleaning up their classroom, since the students were there until June 29 or 30th, and then are back in the school the last week of summer to get their classrooms and lessons ready, because we have to be ready to roll when those kids walk in on the first day.) So let’s say conservatively, 43 weeks per year times 47.5 hours per week =2043 hours per year. The typical full-time 37.5 hours per week mentioned times 49 weeks per year = 1838 hours per year. So guess what that math tells us (in case it wasn’t clear)- we earned that time off. We get three weeks (15 days) of paid vacation, and the unpaid summer hours are effectively banked time that we already worked. Surprise!
    That’s not to mention the “perks” we get: Our work "shifts" (days) are dictated.Period. We cannot swap shifts, and we cannot choose when we take our vacation. So when you find some great cheap flights, and want to go to Hawaii or wherever in dreary February, off you go. We can’t do that. Generally, parents take their kids with them, and ask the teachers to spend extra hours creating make-ahead packages (that the kids never end up doing most of the time), and/or expect us to give up lunch hours or extra time after school as private tutoring to help their well-tanned child get caught up when they return. Guess what? Private tutors charge anywhere from $20-$40 dollars per hour. But I don’t see any of that. Yes, I do get one discretionary day per year. One day that I can take without question. Oh- but I’m not allowed to take it as the last day before Spring Break, or the last day before Christmas holiday, or the last day before summer. And, when I do take it, not only is it unpaid, I have to pay my replacement teacher out of my own paycheque.

    1. My friend who teaches high school did the math with her class and based on hours worked in class and outside class on a basic salary, she was making $10.50 an hour and a few of her students informed her that they made more than that at their part time jobs!!!

  8. So while we’re on the topic of being away from work- when you are sick, you take a sick day, or a “personal” day. While you are gone, your job stops, or there is someone who can fill in for you “on-call” (i.e. nurses do this). Or you can “work from home”, checking your email and making a few phonecalls, still in your pj’s and napping on the couch. When I am sick, my job does not stop while my voicemail and inbox just collect the happenings of the day, for me to sort through tomorrow. I have to leave a plan for the whole day for my substitute. And odds are, they won’t be able to get though all of it, because the kids always mess around when there’s a sub (come on, think back to your own school days- you know I’m not kidding). So now the students (and I) are behind on the curriculum, but I can’t just ask them to work a bit later today to finish it up- they’re out the door at the bell.
    In fact, there is no way that we can make up missed time by staying later, working an extra shift on an evening or weekend, or picking up some overtime. That just isn’t an option for our job. So what’s sick is the numbers of times I have seen (and done it) teachers drag themselves to work, red-eyed, on antibiotics, no voice, just to keep the students on track, especially for a provincially examinable course that counts towards their chances at scholarships. And yes, I do get 1.5 sick days per month, more than average other sectors. But you parents all know that once your kids are out of daycare and they can’t send your kids home, you don’t want to miss work so you send your kids to school, sick, snotty nose, rubbing their infected eyes or “cough cough here’s my paper I’m handing in”, covered in viral goodness. Elementary school teachers get it the worst (they wipe the snotty noses, they clean it up when your kid who you pretended wasn’t sick puked in class, they help the kids change their wet pants after “accidents”), but then there’s always the fun years- Remember H1N1? I had two students come back from Mexico in the midst of the outbreak, after one of those nice extended Spring Break vacations that parents like to go on. We couldn’t insist that they stay quarantined at home, the way a daycare would. And you guessed it- Half the staff at my high school had H1N1 the spring before the vaccine even became available. Thanks kids.

    1. As a TTOC I often go in when teacher's are ill, H1N1 hit me hard and I couldn't work for a month and was in the hospital because of it :(

      I wish TTOCs had an ability to acrue & use sick days also, then maybe less teachers and teachers-on-call would drag themselves to work even when they are sick... healthier for everyone!

  9. Don’t get me wrong- I love my job. I love it because teenagers are fantastic. They are on that cusp of almost becoming adults, but still needing support before they take that last leap. How many people would spend 6.5 hours a day, voluntarily, with 120 teenagers, 30 at a time? Think back to when you were a teenager. Think about spending all day with your teenagers now. How many times do you get into a rip-roaring fight with them? Think their ears are broken because my god, why won’t they listen? Just don’t get why they find it funny or have to do that annoying thing or put your cell phone away at the dinner table!?! Now try to convince your stubborn child to learn something. I do get them to learn things, every day. In a manner that is polite, and civilized, and because I know they need people who can be patient with that adolescent brand of growing pains.
    How many parents can’t wait for the weekend to be over and get your child, of any age, out of the house? And where do you think they go? To us. To what you better hope is a caring, supportive, and educational environment. And it will always be educational, but we are human, and we have needs too. If we are constantly undervalued and told that what we do is not important, the light that dims first is that spark that we bring to making learning fun. If you just want the motions of a McTeacher, plug your kid into a DVD and sit them in front a screen. But that’s not what you want for your child, is it?

  10. Teachers work hard, and this I don't dispute. My wife is a teacher in Victoria and she values the well being of her students more than anything and puts in more hours than I can count. However, I can't say that I completely agree with what the Teachers Union is telling the public.

    All public sector unions are facing the same situation. Some, including Hospital Pharmacists, are being forced to accept wage rollbacks and salary decreases. Government ministries are shrinking, and enrolment and birthrates are falling because people are delaying having children because they can no longer afford to take on the burden of childbirth early in their career. This is compounded by the fact that the global economy is in a period of recession and much of Canada is suffering as manufacturing jobs disappear to other countries . Governments across the world are shrinking and becoming more efficient, and the education system is not immune to cutbacks and sharing some of the pain.

    Not only this, but there is a huge supply of supremely qualified teachers that are currently not engaged in full time employment and would be happy to work for less than the salary that is currently being offered to Teachers.

    Please don't get me wrong. I sympathize with where all teachers are coming from and they certainly deserve to be compensated handsomely, but I can't say that their demands for a 15% wage increase are helping to increase the popularity of their union, especially considering the sacrifices many other hard working employees have made in BC, Canada, and across the world.

    Please consider how other public sector workers will view giving Teachers a 15% wage increase when many of them have already accepted the 0% mandate. How will employees in the private sector view this when the majority of them are also facing a slow down in the economy and there tax burdens are already increasing to support a large public service.

    1. I have just a couple of points in response to your post.

      Although it might be true that all public sector unions are facing the same situation in regards to cuts during these troubling financial times it's important to remember that the funding for public education has been cut almost every year for the last 10 years. We've coped and accommodated and made do with less and less each year which means the students have also made do with less and less each year. If the concessions the government has on the table go through then even more students will have to make do with substantially less than their wealthier peers.

      My second point is that although we are asking for 15% we don't expect to get it. It's only a starting point and, as I imagine you already know, the BCTF has already scaled back our wage demand in a gesture of good will.

      As research has shown again and again, the best way out of poverty in hard economic times is education.

  11. I found this on Facebook from Charlene Hodgson:

    You may be interested in some facts about public sector salary increases in BC.

    The net zero policy mandate of the provincial government, which has never been debated nor adopted by the legislature, covers the period July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012.

    There are provincial government employees who broke the net zero - Life Labs (BCGEU) 1.5-2.0% for 2010 and 1.0% for 2011 and CUPE who negotiated $7.5 million for SEAs. As well, there are a number of other BC public service employees, not subject to the net zero mandate, who have received recent salary increases. Here are just a few of them:

    BC Nurses – 3% for 2009, 3% for 2010, 3% for 2011
    Treasury Board of Canada (PSA) – 1.75% for 2011, 1.5% for 2012, 2% for 2013
    CN Railway (Teamsters) – 2.4% for 2010, 3% for 2011, 3% for 2012
    Kamloops Municipal Employees (CUPE) – 2% FOR 2011, 2% for 2012, 2% for 2013
    Surrey Firefighters- 3% for 2010, 2.5% for 2011
    North Cowichan Municipal Employees (CUPE) – 2% for 2010, 2.5% for 2011, 2.5% for 2012, 3% for 2013

    CN Railway (CAW) – 2.4% for 2011, 2.6% for 2012, 3% for 2013, 3% for 2014
    Comox District Municipal Employees (CUPE) – 2% for 2010, 2% for 2011, 3% for 2012, 2% for 2013
    Vancouver Police – 2.95% for 2010, 2.95% for 2011, 1.25% for 2012, 1.3% for 2013
    Quesnel Municipal Employees (CUPE) – 0% for 2010, 1.5% for 2011, 2%for 2012
    BC Rapid Transit – 3% for 2010
    Canada Revenue Agency (PSA) – 1.5% for 2010, 1.5% for 2011
    Courtenay Municipal Employees (CUPE) – 2% f0r 2011, 2% for 2012, 2.75% for 2013, 2.25% for 2014
    BC Paramedics – 3% for 2010
    Revelstoke Municipal Employees – 1.25% for 2010, 1.25% for 2011, 1.5% for 2012, 1.5% for 2013

    Over the period 2000 -2010, average public sector wages in BC have risen by 16.9% while private sector wages have risen by 25%.

  12. I don't think you understand the intention of my post. I am not disagreeing that the job of a teacher is difficult. I am also not disagreeing that teachers should get a raise. I am simply saying that to make the public more sympathetic to your cause, a net zero mandate is not the avenue. I never said that teachers only work 6 hours a day. That comment was in response to the original article that teachers should adopt a net zero mandate. I am aware there are many more things that a teacher needs to do to be effective. I was simply trying to point out that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. There is no-one in my office that works 37.5 hours. The expectation is always more and I accept this as my current situation. When I am sick (5 a yr), only the most urgent items may get covered off. Everything else is left for me to handle on my return, as well as my regular duties. Layoffs can happen at any time; I can't be mediocre in my job and expect continued employment; overtime is expected without compensation, there has never been a year where my salary has increased by 15% nor would it ever be entertained. I can go on and on and complain about my job and how it doesn't compare to other professions. But that is not my point - my point is that every job has its positives and negatives, and we choose what we want to spend our time doing. I am thankful for great teachers and that they choose to spend their time educating our future.

    1. The 15% is broken down as follows:
      year one - 3% Cost of Living Allowance & 0% increase
      year two - 3% COLA 3% market adjustment
      year 3 - 3% COLA 3% market adjustment

      THe reason for this is because right now our teachers are 9th in the country as far as pay goes, with the highest cost of living.

      Additionally, teachers agreed to take 0% in the past in return for language that protected our class size and composition. To be clear, agreeing to no salary increase so that our students can have increased learning conditions and smaller class sizes.

      Then the government stripped that language that protected class size and composition (illegally at that!!)

      Now we are trying to catch-up... we have fallen behind the rest of the country for salary and losing amazing teacher's to neighbouring provinces.

      Net zero (0%) is equivalent to a pay cut because of inflation (2011 inflation was 3%) To stop the gap widening between BC and other provinces we need a 12% wage increase (Alberta is $21,000/year higher=20%+) Net zero (0%) over three years would widen the gap to $30,000/year, and their cost of living is much lower!

      But, as I have said it is not just the salary teacher's are asking for... however, that is what the media like to focus on.

      The net-zero hasn't been followed in other public sectors (as i posted in a comment above) so I wonder why it is being so strictly enforced with teachers... no give... which is what is needed in bargaining and negotiations, compromise.... We say 15% they say 0 as a teacher I would like to see some kind of compromise so we can move forward.

      More importantly I want to see classsize and composition language back in our collective agreements and the retun of specialized teachers for areas of need.

      But that can be a future post ;)

    2. I am wondering what type of employment Zladys has that expects overtime without compensation. I previously worked in numerous office positions (for over 15 years), all of which I would be paid time and a half for any overtime. I think it very sad that Zladys would not value her own skills and time to the point where she is clearly being taken advantage of.
      A few points not mentioned, are that many of the jobs in the private sector, do not require the employee to have 5 or more years of University training as BC teachers have. When we are compared to the other Province's teachers, and we are 9th in wages ... we also have a minimum of a year of University education MORE than any other area of Canada. The most University required in any other province or territory is 4 years for a degree. So, we are the highest trained teachers in Canada, yet nearly the lowest paid.
      Many people are unaware of the fact that many teachers take 1-5 years after their minimum of 5 years of University training to get a full time position. During all this time, they are not even on the salary grid, meaning they may have worked for many years before beginning the climb on the teacher salary grid. Many young teachers cannot afford to wait for full time employment and relocate to other provinces or go overseas to teach.
      Also, in my first 2 years of teaching, I only had a 60% contract, and had to spend over $2,000 per year of my own money to purchase materials to decorate my classroom (alphabet, shapes posters, spelling and writing process posters, calendar materials ... many things you see in every elementary school classroom ... all purchased by the teacher's own money ... things you are expected to have on the walls, yet are unable to be reimbursed for) and to buy books with blackline masters appropriate to the grade levels I would teach.
      As for the comment about once we get our lessons set up, each year should be quick and easy ... this is very unrealistic, as every few years, the Ministry of Education decides to CHANGE all the requirements and Prescribed Learning Outcomes, and topics ... which means, gathering NEW materials (usually out of the teacher's own pocket) and developing new lessons. It is never ending (think new brainwave of Ministry for 21st Century learning).

    3. Do you really think that every single professional managerial position in the private sector is getting paid time and a half for every single minute of overtime? Then you are out of touch with reality. Do you think a small business owner puts in 40 hours a week? My point is that we all choose what we do. You didn't decide to be a teacher because you thought you were going to get rich. I do value my skills and my time as does my employer. When it does come time for performance review, they will see I have delivered more than expectations and I will be compensated. I never attacked what teachers do to go beyond just the classroom. Why then the personal attack on me? This doesn't lead to open dialogue and may explain why there are issues at the bargaining table. Can you imagine if I decided to cut out some administrative work that wasn't the core function of my job but supported it, until my employer conceded to my demands for a pay raise? Again, I do have personal experience into the life of a teacher as my husband was one for many years. I just don't have sympathy when kids are used as the bargaining chip. Good luck with your negotiations and I do hope that this will be resolved with some of the items you are asking for.

    4. Well Zladys,
      A managerial position may not get every single minute paid overtime, however, they may be taken out on bosses boat or for special soirees, and indeed, have a christmas party paid for. You may also be subject to receiving a bonus now and again, or perhaps tickets to a hockey game. The only time teachers get any personal perks is from grateful parents. These are perhaps more trivial points, but please remember that small business owners can make it big in business and reap great financial rewards. They can also have tax write offs for goods needed to run the business. Not so for teachers. Not even home computers to write report cards are deductible. Private business and public school just cannot be compared this way. As you said, you will be compensated. Teachers are being stripped. The biggest concern I have is that you say kids are being used as bargaining chips. Remember, all kids are being taught and assessed to know where they are at. In fact, kids are saying that their teachers are spending more time with them (sometimes to their shagrin). As well, just think about who is using the kids. The employer is culpable here as it has not bargained or 'discussed' anything with teachers. I read that teachers have removed some items and they have reduced some requests to stimulate talks. Nothing from the employer. You are also right that teachers will never get rich working for the government, but private sector can make it rich. And where does that money come from? Taxpayers, citizens, customers, public workers trying to earn a fair living and pay their bills with money from services rendered and bargained for in good faith. Thank you for the vote of confidence that some items will be resolved through negotiations. I hope so too.

    5. Well Unknown,

      Zladys made the point that decisions regarding profession are about choice. Teachers make the choice to earn a moderate salary for a number of reasons, but the primary one is that they love what they do and want to make a difference in the lives of our children. It is a noble calling that not all in society are cut out for. Teachers make the choice to enter the profession knowing what the salary implications are, what the job satisfaction is likely to be, and what the extra, volunteer components of the occupation consist of.
      You concede that managerial roles do not get overtime for all their extra work, but you are the first to do so - if you read the other replies above you will see that there is a perception that overtime is always paid in the private sector. You do, however, seem to think that private sector workers are on boats and at parties or hockey games, and that somehow those small perks reserved for the elite few are better than the perks reserved for all teachers. You state that the private sector can make it rich - true, but that's a big 'can' - more than 50% of businesses fail in year one. Further, teachers have the choice to enter the private sector. The 11 to 12 weeks of vacation is a well deserved perk for teachers - something I would much rather have than a Christmas party or hockey tickets. I weighed all factors of my professional field of choice prior to entering it and made a decision based on the information. I chose to become a teacher. No one would ever expect a personal household to budget the way we are asking the government to. We are asking the government to overspend with our money, and the argument that I have heard is that since they have overspent in other areas (ie. demonstrate other union deals in which the zero mandate was broken), they should be encouraged to overspend some more. If I overspent on a car should I justify it by overspending on a house too?

  13. Boohoo...I am done with this whining! If you keep complaining about your wage, why don't you quit complaining and find another job or move to another province where you are paid more (ie find another job??). I work in excess of 37.5 hours/week (not compensated for overtime as I am a salaried employee), use my own means of transportation to get to/from work, and only have 3 weeks of holidays per year. And yes, I am missing out on seeing my son grow up too. We are all in the same boat. Stop thinking that you teachers are so special and deserve so much more! Poor teachers...I am sick of hearing this!

  14. Your sarcasm suggests that you haven't understood what has been written. What is always true in the public sector (and usual in the private sector) is that the employee must ask for a raise if they want one. The collective bargaining process is the process that is required here. However, it is difficult to bargain if the employer chooses not to bargain, and has the ability to legislate the outcome. Net-Zero is not bargaining in good faith.

  15. It's not net zero. They also want to strip away from previously bargained and mediated agreements. It is net negative. - this time. What about next time?

  16. Bill 22 which was tabled today will eliminate average class sizes, as well as the number of IEP's (Individual Education Plan) for those with special needs in each classroom. Those with children: do you want you child to be in a classroom with more than 30 students?

    Current averages are:
    High school: 30
    Intermediate: 28
    Primary: 21
    Kindergarten: 19

    Bill 22 will eliminate this and lessen the amount of time teachers can spend with each student even more than now.

  17. if only it were net-zero... that doesn't even consider the "tame" rate of inflation (See Billion Prices Project http://bpp.mit.edu/usa/)... assuming 3% inflation compounded means a 30% loss of purchasing power in just 9 years.

  18. Please check your math....and ask your friend to reteach that lesson!

    $10.50/hr x 12 hrs/day (generous) x 325 days/year (very generous) = $40,950

    That is less than the average starting teachers wage, and certainly more hours/day & days per year than any teacher will ever work!

    I have a very good friend making $74,000/year and who agrees he only works 55 hrs per week during the school year, less christmas & reading break. If you try the math again:
    55 hrs/wk x 42 wks/yr = 2,310 wks/yr, divide $74,000/2,310 = $32/hr

    Does that not sound more reasonable for someone who spent a mere 5 years at university? Please tell me you agree that's a fair wage and maybe I can actually take you seriously!

    If I had to count all the time outside work I actually spend thinking about and preparing for work in my wage calculation I might say something as silly, but why would I ever be that silly and who would I expect to take me seriously?

  19. Awesome comments, everyone! I love reading such rich discussion.