Honk 4 Teacher

Vankleek Hill protest

The teachers at VCI, and other schools across Ontario, are refusing to participate in extracurricular activities, like after-school sports, because the Ontario government blah blah blah, it doesn’t matter. But one hundred-ish students at VCI walked out on Friday afternoon in support of the teachers.

And some of them took five minutes to make signs. So I guess it matters to them. They probably stole the cardboard and markers. Fucking delinquents.

Or confused kids. Whatever. The point is this job action won’t inconvenience the school board at all, which, I think, was supposed to be the point. But it will inconvenience everyone else, like any student in a drama or music program, or on a sports team, or who belong to a club, they all lose something.

Even the teachers, who may have a point, lose credibility with parents who get to watch their kids not do the stuff that interests them and that would eventually make them better kids. So, really, this is a lose-lose teachable moment for pretty much everyone.

Those signs are cool, though.

“When the union’s inspiration through the workers’ blood shall run,
There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun;
Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one,
But the union makes us strong….”

…the photo looks a little bleached out because I was using my zoom on a grey day. Some version of this photo will / should be appearing in the local paper [The Review: Link] — this is the one I like most, but cropping to just the two students holding the sign would work.

…also, I rewrote / edited most of this because, when I reread it — after getting some sleep and drinking some orange juice, it seemed a little cruel. Also, it was incoherent.

Vankleek Hill Photos copyright

3 thoughts on “Honk 4 Teacher

  1. Incoherent? But that is the kind of blog post I love to read!
    As a friend of more than teacher I sympathize with them, long hours, low pay, little respect from students or parents or the general public and they are required to support/guide extra curricular activities with no additional pay offered. People here in the States seem to think that teachers are lazy, work short hours and get tons of extra time off when in reality when they get home from teaching they have hours of work to, not to mention those extra curricular activities. Not that I know what is really going on in your neck of the woods regarding teachers, but just mentioning them is enough to get me onto my soap box to shout support for the people who are giving our world’s children the tools they will need to be beneficial members of society. And all that.
    Oh. and cool shot!


    • Here’s the thing… I should have been a teacher. If everything was right with the world, and I was of sound mind and body during and shortly after high school, I would have become a teacher — don’t get me wrong, I love being a reporter, but I should have been a teacher. I know most of them deserve more than they get, and I support their right to strike when they’re being abused. BUT… my little brother finished high school in 1995-ish, and he never had access to extracurricular activities because of a four-year long teacher job action. No sports, no drama, no band, nothing.

      I just watched a report where a teacher admitted that the reason they cancel after school stuff is to piss off the parents enough that they’ll call politicians and force the government to capitulate. Normally I’d say “that’s fine, whatever works, viva la revolution”. However, extracurricular activities might have ‘extra’ in the name, but they’re as vital to learning and growing up as any ‘regular’ course is. They’re also part of their job description.

      A lot of the events I’ve covered as a reporter have been on weekends and after the 5pm work day is done. I also used evenings at home to rewrite features or copy edit someones work. I wasn’t paid extra, it was just part of the job. If I had been a teacher, I would have fully expected to have to mark homework at home, or be on the soccer field at 8pm. That’s the job. That’s the way it is for some professions.

      If you want to be a teacher, those are the things you have to expect.

      …to be honest, I think the high school teachers are dicks for cancelling the programs. But if you really need something to do over the holidays, this is the Bill / Law the teachers don’t like [Bill 115: Link]*, and this is an article kind of explaining it [Ottawa Citizen: Link], so you can decide for yourself.

      Thanks for leaving the comment… I don’t get long comments here, and I definitely never get a chance to leave long responses very often, so this was fun.

      *…it’s actually called the “Putting Students First Act”, which is only a little Orwellian.


      • You should have been a teacher eh? Never too late to start!
        Thanks for the links on the cause of the protests, as I confessed already, I know nothing as to the why of your current teacher woes. After reading the news report I also realize I do not understand your public school systems.

        I do feel sympathy for the kids and agree that extracurricular activities are important, but at the same time here in the States I feel too often they are given too much importance. I’m not sure there is a good way to resolve this short of rewarding teachers better or offering them more support staff. The students should not have to the ones who pay the price, but given they are who teachers are there for in the first place there is no way for them protest effectively otherwise.

        I also understand that some professions include a lot of “off the clock” work, in the case of teachers (at least here in the States) they are not only not compensated fairly except in the wealthiest of towns they are vilified by the general populace as lazy, over glorified babysitters. I know they are not, and have seen the amount of work they do that parents and students never seem to stop and consider. So I tend to side with teachers in general, until I am given reason not to.

        Also, schools are not the only place students can participate in extra curricular activities. They are free to get together and organize their own teams and clubs, as well as seek adult assistance to guide them. This is what my friends and I did in a few cases back in the day, when we wanted to make a ‘zine spanning 3 different schools. We found one adult who was willing to help us one day a week and we worked our butts off. It was fun, it was educational and I’m guessing we learned more by doing it ourselves than we would have as part of a school program. We also included some rather more questionable content than a school would have, if I remember correctly.

        So given my continuing ignorance of the actual situation I suppose the only real thing I can say is:

        I hope that this issue is resolved to everyone’s mutual slight dissatisfaction soon.

        (You’re welcome for the commenting, you’re one of the few bloggers I actually comment to so consider yourself extra special. Thanks for giving me the time of the extra long response too.)

        Liked by 1 person

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