Dear Premier Christy Clark,
I am writing to you on behalf of a majority of students in the public school system, Canada's future generation of voters. You've already lost my vote, but it would probably be wise for you to hear and take into consideration what we future voters have to say.
I am a student who is involved and passionate about volunteering and helping make a difference in society and the community. I am a student, who like many others, cares about my education. But, above all else, I am a student, who believes and sees value in our public school educators.
And I am a student who is outraged that the Liberal government is failing to see the same value in my teachers and education as I do. There's no arguing the idea that investing in our children now will be good for our future. So why isn't that a reality?
Keeping your government's promise to put children first in B.C. seemed believable at first. But now, I am doubtful to say the least. I am losing hope: losing hope in our politicians, and losing hope in humanity.
We don't know each other, Christy. So let me formally introduce myself-- my name is Justine Taylor and I am a Grade 12 student in the Delta School District. This may come as a shock to you, but I once attended private school.
As a student who has experienced both a public school and private school education, I can honestly say I unquestionably and undoubtedly enjoy the public school system more than the private. I understand every student has different experiences, but for me, public school has been the biggest blessing in my life and high school career.
Every day I wake up in the morning and enjoy going to school. I am excited to go to Delta Secondary School and step in a classroom where a teacher is engaging and I'm not just a mark on a report card. I enjoy it so much, that I have devoted over 500 volunteer hours to my school in the past two years.
My learning means something to someone who, in your eyes, is just a "public school teacher." So why are you, Christy Clark, treating my teachers like they're flies on the wall? I don't think I need to explain to you just how hard teachers work, because you've already taken these points into consideration, right?
But just in case you haven't realized, teachers don't just work 8-3; they come early and stay late. They don't get two months off in the summer to do nothing; they plan curriculum and collaborate with other educators.
And that one hour and 19 minute prep they get in between seven blocks of teaching? They mark their 210 students' quizzes, assignments, homework and tests, which we all know can't possibly be done in, that amount of time, so it is done on their own time.
Finally, with all of that on their to-do list, they still find time to volunteer and help out for clubs, committees, events, sports teams and so much more. So Christy, take your politician hat off for one day, and put on your mom hat. Now once that is on -- think about who has been with your child from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., five days a week (give or take a few), 279 days a year (roughly) for let's say Kindergarten to Grade 12. That's 13 years. A teacher has.
I have many questions, all which have been left unanswered. So, hopefully, you can enlighten me and provide me with answers to my concerns. My first question is: When can I make up that Pre-Calculus 12 test I missed while I was away sick with a flu two weeks ago? If you're locking my teachers out of the school, how do you possibly expect me to find time in my jam-packed eight course schedule?
Next question: If the teachers are still on strike come time for exams, do you have educators qualified to mark my exams, exams that could very likely determine my final acceptance to university? Handing someone who is not an English teacher and knows next to nothing about how to write a poem commentary or how to properly execute an introductory paragraph, a checklist explaining how to mark my English 12 Provincial exam is unfair.
It's unfair that my final exam marks may be jeopardized so the government can save a few dollars and fill classes with up to 30 students, all of whom have different learning needs and abilities.
Last question: Why are the students suffering and being punished because the government is being stubborn? The teachers whom we have built relationships with and admire can't even come to our grad walk or banquet.
The teachers who have taught us for five years -- coached our basketball teams, directed the plays, stayed after class, volunteered their time to help run events and fundraise for charity, believed in us when no one else did -- will not be able to be at our grad events to congratulate us and enjoy our last few moments of high school. They will not be there to pat us on the back and say, "You did it!"
Christy, although I don't agree with all the work you do for our province, I understand you are faced with a tough job. And at the end of the day, this letter that I stayed up until 2 a.m. on a school night writing, may not make a difference at all.
But if I can reach one person, just one, and provide evidence and personal experiences explaining how teachers have impacted and changed my life, I will be happy.
To all the teachers in our province: You're amazing. Your hard work does not go unnoticed, and I hope a fair deal is negotiated for you, the educators, who do one of the most important jobs in the world.
Grade 12 Student
Delta Secondary School
Related blogs on The Huffington Post B.C.:
- The Difference Between An Engaging Classroom And An Empty One - Martha Lamarche, teacher
- Christy Clark's High School Clique Won't Stand Up For Public Education - Louise Wallace, mother, blogger
- Why B.C. Teachers Are Eating Lunch On The Curb - Ashley D. MacKenzie, teacher
- I'm A First-Year Teacher And This Isn't What I Signed Up For - Ryan Harrington, Teacher
- The Student Who Was Lost, A Casualty Of Christy Clark's Cuts - Lizanne Foster, teacher
- What Happens After A Teachers' Strike, From A Student's Perspective - Ramesh Ranjan, former student