LETTER: Students are suffering

I’m just so disheartened by the latest dispute between the province and the BCTF.

As I sit here to write this – it’s hard for me to know where to begin.

The last time I wrote a letter to the editor or an article for a publication, I was in university (and let’s just say that hasn’t been in the last 10 years). But this issue has weighed so heavy on me that I felt compelled to write my thoughts down.

I’m just so disheartened by the latest dispute between the province and the BCTF. My daughter is in Grade 8 and has been told that she not only won’t be going on a three-day Grade 8 trip like kids have traditionally gone on in recent years, but they won’t even get their one day outing due to job action.

This comes to a class whose Grade 5 trip was also cancelled due to job action just a few years ago.

It’s increasingly difficult to try to explain to my daughter, “why.” Why can’t a room full of smart, capable, adults who all (reportedly) have the same common goal of providing the best possible education for our kids, speak and listen to each other kindly and respectfully enough to work out their issues? My kids are losing faith in the lessons I’ve taught them that people can always work things out if they are truly willing to listen to each other, acknowledge the other’s perspective, and try to work together toward a solution everyone can live with.

It occurred to me recently that we often shake our heads in disbelief or bewilderment when disputes turn into wars over religious convictions. Because when you learn what any particular religion stands for — the core beliefs are quite often in common with the very religion/group they are in dispute with.  However, this province vs. teachers dispute doesn’t seem too far off.

I am a teacher. I became a teacher because I wanted to share information with kids in fun and varied ways. I wanted them to see how exciting math, science, and socials can be through the puzzles, wonders, and experiences in life.  Though I changed careers a few years ago I keep my certification current because I will always be a teacher at heart.

I have many friends who are teachers and I respect them greatly for keeping on despite the challenging issues they face every day in this fractured environment. I also have friends in administration and respect them greatly for plugging away, and showing up each day to do their best with the challenges they face everyday in this fractured environment.

Yet, at the end of the day, I am disheartened that these two groups, who tout so vehemently that our kids’ well-being are at the heart of their latest battle, are using those same kids and their education as pawns again. I’m weary; someone throw this mom a bone. How do I explain this to my kid(s)?


Tara Kettner


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