Bill 115 And Your Kids

(All political parties may not be capitalized when I write about them, because I don’t feel that they have earned the respect.)

Okey dokey. I guess I might as well ruffle a few feathers here, but I’m not yet sure whose I’ll be ruffling. I was just made aware of some makeshift job action that will be taken by Ontario teachers this year because of wage freezes and other fun stuff that is in Putting Students First Bill 115 by the liberal government. A good friend put a post up on the Facebook page wall, and wanted a discussion about what’s going on at the school with the extra-curricular activities being cut. I knew nothing of this, because I block the real world out of my day-to-day life, so I called down to ask the girls if something had been sent home, and whaddya know? There had been.

I got this, and while it was being handed to me a ten year old girl said “stupid government”.

Now you might think I’m going to go on about the kids, but I’m not. I just put that in the title to lure you in. We all know that they are the most important piece of the puzzle, but for this, they can sit in the background.

From what I can see, as of Sept. 2011, the absolute base salary for the lowest grade of teacher in Toronto is $45000. It’s actually closer to $46k, but I’ll round down for the hell of it. This means that they make, before taxes, $865.38 per week. Keep in mind that this is the bare minimum and almost all teachers are above this scale. I know that the teachers are showing up about 15 minutes before the bell goes to call the kids in to class. That is around 9 AM at our school. I assume that they leave the school between 4 and 4:30 PM but lets put them there until 5 to be safe. That gives them an 8 hour work day, and a 40 hour work week. That means that at the minimum, a teacher makes $21.63 per hour, and that’s for the entire year. It’s not their fault that the schools shut down for holidays. That’s pretty decent for having no experience, but it’s by no means going to make you a young millionaire.

The steps in the scale work out quite well if you plan on sticking it out as a teacher, and if you make it to step 10, you will be making at least $36+ per hour, based on the 40 hour work week. Not too shabby, especially when you factor in the summer off, pension, benefits, sick days, etc… I honestly don’t know how long it takes to get there, but it’s something to shoot for anyhow.

Well here, I guess I might as well make up a table from the collective agreement for Toronto. That way you can look for yourself.

I believe that the “step” is length of time, and “Group” is education and/or experience

Now you’re probably figuring that because I’m anti union, anti-McGuinty, and anti-establishment, that I am sitting on the fence here.

I’m not.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I think that everyone is greedy as hell here, but I really don’t care about all of the bickering between the government and the teacher’s union. They made their bed, now they can lie in it.

That’s right, the union spent millions of dollars fighting to keep the Hudak conservatives out of power in the last election, and they were detrimental in the ejection of Bob Rae and the ndp, so many years ago. They fought tooth and nail with the Harris(a former teacher) government over such things as teacher testing, and now they don’t like the liberal government. I don’t know what will keep them happy, but we know that it isn’t sacrifice.

Hold on while I back-pedal a bit here. (photo from www.citytv.com)

Before we get too far, I need to clarify that I am not for any of these parties, nor am I lumping all teachers in with the union. I understand that they need someone to fight for their rights and freedoms, and I respect that, what I don’t respect is what unions have turned into over the past hundred or so years. It isn’t about making sure that people are treated fairly, it’s about money, it’s about votes, and it’s about power. I guess they all add up to the same thing anyhow, and that’s a pretty sad thing, but it’s not what I’m here to talk about.

Remember that pay scale I showed you before? Take a look at it again.

That’s right. Some teachers are getting screwed. Some teachers are getting a free ride.

I want to tell you a story of two teachers that I was in contact with last year. Ms. A and Ms. B. Ms. A was loved by her entire class, and treated the students like the little sponges that they are. She would spend her own money to reward the students that did very well, and tried their hardest. At the end of the day, she was revered for her teaching style by almost all of the students. I would say that they all loved her, but I didn’t talk to all of the kids in her class, so I can’t really say. She is a fairly young teacher, and unable to be too far down on the pay scale. To me, this teacher should be getting paid more for her dedication to teaching her students to be the absolute best that they can be.

Now down near the bottom of the scale is Ms. B. She is getting close to retirement, and makes at least $25000 a year more than Ms. A. Now our Ms. B is a bitter husk of a woman, and is not known to be kind to students. She does the bare minimum that has to be done, while throwing sheets and sheets of mundane homework at the students she has. She does no extra-curricular activities, and makes no effort to better the students lives. She teaches, and rules with an iron fist. I don’t know what kind of person she was when she was a younger woman, but for now, she is just eking by until they give her the boot, I guess.

I want a golden handshake. I guess I should maybe get a job then.

Does it seem fair that she makes almost half again as much as Ms. A? The Ms. A that utilizes her time to make sure that her students receive the best education that she can provide. The same teacher that actually gives a shit about the kind of people that her students will be when they grow up. Sure Ms. A might grow cold and bitter over the years and lose her passion for her career, just like Ms. B has done. Maybe she will have one too many students just give up at such a young age, and just get discouraged. She may very well just say “What’s the point?” and give up on the terribly flawed system herself, but I don’t think she will.

I think that she cares too much, and would rather keep molding her students into the future leaders of the country, or maybe even the province that she may very well be still employed by. Perhaps one boy might be the head of the teacher’s union, and with the knowledge and values that were instilled in him at an early age, he might reshape the way contracts are negotiated in our society. He may be able to sit down for a cold beer, with Sarah, the newly elected Premier of Ontario, and honestly discuss how the educators and the Green Party can work together to strengthen a once great province with the finest minds, and the strongest hearts that our public school system has produced.

Maybe when the province’s chips are down, he will be able to say to the teachers that look to him for leadership:

“Hey, we’ve had it pretty good for a lot of years, do you think we could give up a few sick days and coach a bit of soccer after school for a little while, until things get back on their feet around here?”

Those teachers might say to themselves, and each other, “I guess we could do it for a while, but we want to know for sure that they are working on a solution.”

That’s when the Minister of Finance would sit down with a group of them to explain their situation, and the plan of attack to rectify the problems they are facing. Maybe she even asks them if they have any suggestions, because the new leaders of the world understand that the more heads working on a problem will give you more possible answers to look at.

I guess that’s all I really need to say. I could go on and on, but my darling is sick in bed, and I should go rub her back or something. I don’t want the teachers to take this as an attack on them. It isn’t at all. I have never thought that your wages were going to bankrupt our coffers. The government can do that without your help. I know right now that I couldn’t handle all those kids without using corporal punishment, so I respect the job you do, and the way that most of you do it. When I suggested that everyone help, I was talking about when we all live in my Utopia, and it wouldn’t just be you, it would be everyone pitching in. If things were done properly, we would never need to worry about going broke, and everyone would have a job, but corporate greed, and the cronies who bend rules and laws to feed them have taken it’s toll on us.

Maybe this next generation will understand how to better handle this shit.

People try to put us d-d-d-down, just because we g-g-g-get around,

Birdman

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9 thoughts on “Bill 115 And Your Kids

  1. The education system in Ontario is basically broke. There are issues right from kindergarten to university. I sure as hell don’t know how to fix them, but I sure as hell know that our kids will suffer because of it. How the hell can the both sides of this argument be so arrogant as to say that they have our children’s best interests at heart? THAT is utter bullshit! It’s all about money in the pocket and the kids will suffer. It’s no bloody wonder that home schooling is becoming so popular.

    • Yeah, it’s hard to fix anything when you are dealing with bureaucrats and red tape. I hate to see the kids lose out, but what do you do? We can’t even supervise after school activities ourselves because if there isn’t a teacher there, the insurance is invalid.

  2. Ok… you baited me… and I bit.
    I am an Elementary teacher and I am deeply saddened that I am not in a position to start all of my VOLUNTEER activities that I passionately do outside of my job. It’s just that all my rights have been taken away. No one is listening to my opinions. Its like I work for that grizzly old teacher you mentioned. I work for a bully that decides how this is going to go with no input from myself or any of us in the trenches. For the record none of asked for anymore money. Yes I receive a nice allotment of sick days… but I rarely take them, because the kids in my class come first. However there was one year that I burnt myself out so badly (not doing the 40 hr days you think I perform) that I got Mono… yes Mono. It’s called extreme burnout… and it happens to teachers A LOT. My starting wage wasn’t big… it was 37 000. I had paid for 9 years of Post Secondary up until this point. I don’t even want to know what that total was. Yes I make a nice wage now, but it has taken my 11 years to climb to the top of my grid, plus courses in the summer that I pay for thank you very much! What does my typical day really look like? It starts at 8am – often with emotional distress or neglect.. with a weeping child at my door that has been thrown up the wall by her neck by her father when she didn’t do dishes…and has run to her grandmothers for safety. The only problem is the grandmother is married to a convicted pedofile. I phone Family and Child services… I make my way to my classroom.. I prepare for my day. I teach 2 classes, at break I have a duty and watch 4 classes. I eat on the run so that I can help students in my class that are stuggling. I teach 2 more classes. Lunch time arrives and I eat my lunch in 5 minutes so that I can take care of the Art Club I run on MY lunch. My kids like it so much 2 days a week has morphed into 5. I do it because I love it… but my digestion suffers for sure. I teach 2 more classes. The day ends. I head out to meetings surrounding another child that is drug dealing in grade 5. At about 4:30 I head home to drag what energy I can muster for my own two children. After dinner I do another 2 hours or so of marking and planning for the next day. On Sundays I dedicated the half day to school too. Yup… I’m lame alright.. just checking in 15 minutes before and checking out 15 minutes after… NOT! But you don’t see all that I do, you didn’t have to pay for 9 years post secondary… and now a new teacher has to wait an average of 7 years to get a job. I could write another 10 000 words… but I’m sure you can see.. that there are many sides to this story. I teach my students to rise up against bullies. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t do the same.

  3. These parties of which you speak are strange and foreign to me… Which state do you live in exactly?

    Seriously, we have similar issues down here in the States. I’ve had horrible teachers who had no business being allowed around children firmly entrenched, even when they were clearly a physical danger to kids. And I’ve had excellent teachers who made a fraction of the pay the awful ones did.

    And then when Chicago tried holding teachers accountable by keeping those that actually educated the children and letting go those who clearly did not, everyone lost their shit.

    Call it bullshit, or call it connerie, it’s the same on either side of the border.

  4. Love it. And I am a teacher. I could tell you stories that would make your head spin……..
    Sucks being caught between two huge political machines (the government and the union) who use us (the teachers) and, sadly, the kids, in their political game of power. They are no better than the students who fight in the sandbox. I used to expect more of grown adults. Now I just go to my classroom and teach my kids. End of story.

    • It’s probably for the best, Pam. Thanks for not taking this as a personal attack. I do have great memories of more amazing teachers than asshats, so it really wasn’t a sleight against you guys.

    • It’s the teacher’s union, and they say it’s because the government is taking away their right to strike. Our government is broke, and we have to claw back money from somewhere, or a whole bunch of somewheres. I’m not saying that the government is good at managing money, but we don’t have any to manage anyhow. For years and years the unions have been taking and taking, and not just the teachers, it’s all of them. People are sick of it, and now it’s come to this. They are doing no extra work at all. No parent teacher interviews, nothing. Oh well. Life goes on.

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