Critiques on social and education issues
Currently, teachers get to bank 20 sick days each year, which can roll over to a maximum of 200 days, and get around $46 grand when they retire. This is (or rather, will be changed to was) how society thanks teachers. Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it?
Obviously not to the McGuinty government. Not only do they want to crush the 20 days into a measly 6 days, these days cannot be rolled over, and there is no reward at all for your work after you retire.
If I was so sick that I cannot go to school to teach, would 6 days in a school year (i.e. 1 day per month) really be enough for me to recover to plan, assess and teach effectively?
It sounds shallow to be salivating over the lump sum and sick days, but who doesn’t look forward to vacation? Do cubicle workers not look forward to the weekend? How about plumbers? How about doctors looking towards the 5 minute coffee break before going back to the surgeon table? How about accountants looking forward to the break after the fiscal year clean up?
Everyone wants vacations. We are not the only shallow mortals on this planet.
Education Minister Laurel Broten says that the government is having too much of a liability to fund these retiring teachers. The solution she proposes is to freeze all movement in the salary grid, and to kill the banking system for sick days, along with the $46 grand. This means that even with AQs, you will not be allowed a raise, nor will seniority help you earn the few extra dollars.
This really tells us loud and clear how much the government values education and teachers.
Let’s calculate why teachers get these “benefits”. It isn’t a 9-3 job; you take the work home to mark, and then plan, and teachers mostly always fall behind because stuff pops up when you don’t plan to. In a 24h day, 6h (9-3) is for in-school, 1-2h for school clubs/after school help (which are necessary), 4h for planning, 3-5h of marking (particularly because school boards are focusing heavily on literacy and math now), include sleep (6-7h realistically, 8h ideally), dinner + washrooms + shower (1-2h). Also, we aren’t allowed to go to the washroom or get a drink when we’re teaching because we’re responsible for the kids’ safety, and it disrupts the flow of your lesson and may imply a bad impression to your students without your constant presence.
Added up, that’s 17h used up for work each day when we’re only being paid only for the 6h in school: I’d be paid for only 1/3 of my work. Let’s not forget the AQs to make us stand out, which takes up our time and money as well.
The most haunting fact is that not all teachers really do sleep as many as 6 or 7 hours. Most teachers only sleep for only around 5 because the prep work they do overflows into their personal time. Moreover, notice that in the list above, nothing is left for having a social life. I’m not saying that being a teacher means you will become a hermit, but very few jobs require the loss of a major portion of a social life. Doctors, lawyers, politicians, real estate agents, receptionists and secretaries, plumbers, technicians, engineers, businessmen, and many more occupations have time for their social lives because they are not required to take work home. And yet we get the sharpest edge of the blade.
Teachers are one of a child’s significant influences in regards to their lifestyle and life decisions. We have not started complaining about the missing 2/3 of our deserved compensation, and yet they want to cut down the “benefits”.
Oh wait, what benefits? It all evens out, or rather, it doesn’t: we sacrifice most of our social lives and personal lives for 6 months of paid work (not that we don’t enjoy it), and now, we don’t deserve the little 3% raise on the salary grid per year (up to 12 years), even with AQs?
So we’re being underpaid by 2/3 of the work we do, salary freezes, “benefits” cut, and no compensation/monetary recognition of our additional qualifications. And yet, society complains about the quality of education. And yet, society complains about why the “good teachers” are leaving to teach internationally, rather than staying in Ontario. And yet, the government wants to slash their budgeting in education, as it is always the first to be cut.
Without money, we cannot live. However, that does not mean to take an entire chunk out of teacher “benefits”. Instead of killing one field, why not take a little from each field? Do we really need a cut to the corporate income tax rate, especially when corporations already receive so much revenue, yet the ones who really create jobs are the small businesses that political parties rarely recognize?
All the services Ontario provides are important. No field should go through the same insult the field of Education is facing right now, to be implicitly told that we are worthless.
It isn’t fair, and we won’t be taking this sitting down.
If any other field was only being paid for 1/3 of the work they do, there would already have been a violent riot down at Queen’s Park. We need to stand up and tell the government that we are not worthless.
After all, who else has the lives of 30 children at their fingertips for 6 hours?