Teachers aren’t stupid people.
They know they get a good wage to do an important job, a job that is difficult to do well, but one that can also offer a lot of personal satisfaction and fulfillment.
They know they’ve got enviable job security, a retirement and benefits package that is hard to beat and significant opportunities for professional development and advancement.
They know their time off equates to the gold standard of the working world.
So when you read about the outrageous opening demands in their contract talks with the province, don’t make the mistake of thinking they’ve lost their collective minds.
Instead, look at it as just another pseudo debate deflecting attention away from the real issue.
Few of the teachers who welcomed your sons and daughters back to school this week are wanting to go on strike over expanded bereavement leaves.
Many, however, are frustrated with a work environment they believe gets in the way of what’s best for your children.
Unfortunately, instead of working together, the B.C. Teachers Federation and the provincial government fall into the trap of putting on the well-worn clothes of old-school union politics. They turn what should be a collaborative effort into an old-fashioned battle of us versus them. And in those old-school clothes, they argue about old-school issues with old-school results.
Most rank-and-file teachers we talk to are not overly upset with bereavement leave and other typical “labour” issues. They are concerned about getting the proper tools to do the best job they can.
Somehow, that message gets lost at the bargaining table.
The real issue, the kid in the classroom, is forever paid lip service, but seldom served.