Yes, I've bought the materials in the boxes that I'll be hauling to work each day this week. And yes, I sincerely wish that I hadn't had to go out of pocket to make sure that my students get the best education that I can give them. The underfunding of public education in B.C. has already taken enough out of me. I refuse to let it take who I am as a teacher, too.
Then there is the issue of school supplies. I have watched the list steadily lengthen over the years. This year alone, I have spent $300 just so my children can have adequate supplies for school. Not to mention that their supply lists include ridiculous items like Kleenex, photocopy paper and Ziploc bags. If our schools don't even have the funding to supply children with something to wipe their noses with, then like one parent said to me, "What's next, toilet paper?"
You probably think to yourself what a lovely place to learn for your child. Teachers spend many hours finding ideas for organizing and decorating classrooms. Because they know that an organized, efficient environment is essential to learning. But it's all a mirage. What you do not see is the room's bare bones before your child's teacher came in over the summer and transformed it.
I will continue to do my job because I believe in these children. I will do my best to speak a word of encouragement or direction to each and every one of the 27 sweet faces in my room while I strategically try to give those five or more children that are struggling the extra time they so desperately need. It is getting harder and harder to do, but I will continue to do it. Because I am a teacher. That's my calling.
The end of the 2005 strike didn't stop some teachers from bringing their feelings into the classroom -- and into the curriculum. One teacher spent most of a class criticizing the government for limiting senior teachers to a certain level of income. She even went so far as to go over her her personal finances on the whiteboard. Maybe she had a point -- but who were we to know? We were a bunch of 15-16 year old kids.