While American’s mourn the devastating loss of young children and their teachers, over 300,000 Canadian kids just north of the border are running a muck.
Teacher’s across much of Canada are unionized, and in the Province of Ontario, teachers at the largest school boards in the province are staging a one day walk-out to protest the province’s plans for them.
Since last week, school boards across the province have been staging these one day strikes, today’s just so happens to hit the biggest school boards of Toronto, Durham and Peel regions.
Ironically, teachers are protesting provincial legislation which would ban them from striking.
Only a union would protest a possible ban on striking, by holding wildcat strikes. What a way to win over parents and others, by showing just how harmful these strikes are too our children, and our community.
The province’s teachers have actually been protesting over a month, most have withdrawn their extra-curricular activities, so sports teams, student clubs and groups, and other after school programs have all been axed.
This means no more cheer leading, football, student paper, or debating club.
Not that teachers need to learn how to mentor cheerleaders, coach football, edit a newspaper, or build their confidence and public speaking through debate.
Oh wait – that’s not the point of these things – it’s all about the kids.
By cutting back on extra-curricular activities, today’s children are already losing out – big time.
Teachers are more than just educators, they are role models, and leaders within their community.
What kind of role models are these for our children, when they demonstrate when the tough get going, they stop what they are doing either part-way or as in today’s walk out, just stop completely?
Kids across Canada’s largest province today may rejoice in a well-deserved day off. Their parents on the other hand may have been left scrambling at the last minute, trying to figure out who’s going to take care of Little Johnny while mommy and daddy need to go to work?
Student groups across the province have spoken out, crying foul too. Across much of Toronto last week, numerous high school students walked out of class to protest the cuts to extra-curricular programs, and the threats of these rotating one day strikes.
All this remember is because the government of Ontario wants to eliminate the right for teachers to strike.
Regardless of whether teachers should be allowed or not allowed to strike, all of this is raising an even bigger issue buried in the subtext of strikes, walk outs, and suspended services.
Isn't a well-rounded education about more than just reading, writing and arithmetic?
Shouldn't teachers be more concerned with shaping the future leaders of tomorrow?
School should be a place where kids go to learn, not just stuff in books, but through self-discovery, led by well-rounded adults that know there’s more to life than the stuff in a text book.
Think back to your memories of your favourite teacher – we all have one.
If you are like me – and you probably are somewhat – then your memories are of a teacher that did more than just teach.
My favourite teacher participated actively in the drama club, began the high school radio station, ran the environmental action group and more.
He didn't just teach, he helped make me who I am by encouraging me, and bringing out the real me, by allowing me – and other students in his classes and activities – to discover who they were.
That’s what school is all about – learning, growing and self-discovery.
Or at least, it should be.