I am not an upset parent, I am not a teacher nor someone who is related to a teacher. I am a recently graduated French Immersion student. Though I may not hold any political, economic or sway of any other kind in the matter, I believe that my opinions represent a vast majority of the beliefs of the students of British Columbia.
No matter what conclusion is drawn from the continuing debate over a teachers' contract, it is the students who are affected. It is the students of today that will become the voting population of tomorrow. Though our voices may be nothing but noise today, tomorrow they will be the voices that lead us.
I have wanted to write a letter on this topic for quite some time now, though I decided against it as I trusted that a settlement would have been reached by now. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I hear endlessly on media and other sources that "striking hurts students." Today, I can say that I have never felt so honoured to have been taught by the teachers and educators who stand up for what they believe in, so that students may be put first. They walk today, so that we won't have to tomorrow.
From the students with dreams, there was a teacher who motivated them. A teacher who did not over or under promise. A teacher who was realistic, yet supportive. A teacher that showed the student exactly what they needed to do in life to achieve their goals.
From the students who "just couldn't get it," there was a teacher who stayed after school to help them. There was someone who gave up their lunches, breaks, free time after school, and the early hours of the morning before and after school to stay behind and help that single student; so that they may succeed.
From the students who were bullied, harassed and teased by other children, there was a teacher who invited them to eat lunch with them. A teacher who would not judge them. A teacher who would not only speak to them as a student, but as a friend.
From the students who needed to find a part-time job to support their families, there was a teacher who drafted their resume and cover letter with them. A teacher who spent hours practicing interviews with them. A teacher who could sympathize.
From the students who were on the path to addiction, there was a teacher who showed them a new road to follow. A teacher who did not force them to succeed, but gave them the opportunity and tools necessary to do so. A teacher who was there when they were needed.
From the students who felt as if they could never live up to the standards set by their parents, there was a teacher who opened up to them, and shared their own stories. A teacher who could not only instruct the student, but a teacher who could be a mentor; helping them shape their own life.
From the students who were not in a passing position and felt as if they would never have a career, there was a teacher that helped them find their passion. A teacher whose gaze could see further than percentages, and who could identify what it truly was the student was capable of.
From the students who were forced to leave their homes, there was a teacher who opened their doors. A teacher who offered a warm bed, and a hot supper. A teacher who helped them get on their feet.
From the students who considered suicide, there was a teacher who helped them learn to love life again. A teacher who was there when no one else was. A teacher who refused to let them walk down a long and lonely road, and instead, vowed to walk with them side by side.
From the students who believed there is nothing more to life than following the "status quo," there was a teacher who taught them that things can change. That the actions of today, can better the lives of the people of tomorrow.
A teacher who taught us that it only takes a single voice to start a conversation. A single voice to take a step forward, so that others may follow. A single voice, to turn a noise into a song which can be heard. A song which fights for what they believe in.
Though change does not come easily, it is natural. Without change, women would not be able to vote. Without change, LGBT couples could not be married. Without change, many Canadians would be in chains and owned by another human being, simply due to the colour of their skin.
Budgets need to be balanced, and cuts need to be made. It would be silly for me to suggest that we can spend infinite sums of tax dollars on all the areas of government that we desire. However, just as cuts must be made, so must investments; not only investments which benefit the province on the short term, but investments that benefit the province in the long term.
Students are long-term investments. Today, we cost the province tax dollars. Tomorrow, we will be making the tax dollars. A better educated population will always prosper.
Students and their families are not interested in a $40 daily subsidy. Support is not bought, only earned. We don't simply want a resolution, we want the resolution. We want a long-term solution, that will build a better future for us all.
Please, care for our teachers as they have cared for us. In the words of Nelson Mandela: "Love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
ALSO ON HUFFPOST:
Related blogs on The Huffington Post B.C.:
- I Will Hold The Line For B.C.'s Public Education System - Cecelia Griffiths, teacher
- A Teacher's Appeal To BC Liberals Of Conscience - Lizanne Foster, teacher
- Private Schools Aren't The Only Place For Diverse Education In B.C. - Ashley D. MacKenzie, teacher
- A Letter To B.C. Parents, From A Striking Teacher - Sarah Collins, teacher/author
- Simple Math For B.C. Teachers: Economic Growth = Higher Wages - Jordan Bateman, Canadian Taxpayers Federation