Teachers in B.C. are feeling completely disheartened and demoralized. They feel hopeless because the government doesn't seem to value them. They don't want to be on strike, yet here we are.
How do I know they feel this way? I am a B.C. teacher, and lately I feel like I should apologize for that. I'm so tired of hearing how awful I am. How greedy. How I shouldn't want more for my students.
The only thing that makes me feel better right now is remembering the moments I have shared in school with my students. So I thought, why not challenge people to share those special school moments they have? Because right now, teachers need to hear them. Teachers need to feel like they are appreciated so that they can keep fighting.
I know everyone has a favourite teacher or school memory. Here are some of mine:
-Miss Hill, now Mrs. Ashlee, was my favourite teacher of all time. She was young, fun, and passionate about music and sports. She knew how to laugh. I wanted to be just like her. She gave so much to us. We had rehearsals at lunch or before school, field hockey practices after school and on weekends, and she even ran scrimmages in the summer. Some of my favourite memories were field hockey trips and singing, "Hot, Hot, Hot" on the bus. She would yell, "HOW YOU FEELING?" and we would reply with the song's catch phrase; it was our pump up song. I liked that she was silly sometimes and serious others; she was real, and she let us see that.
-Mr. Taylor was a favourite too. He used to have us drop bowling balls and use Slinkies to get us interested in physics. He was passionate about what he was teaching, and he got us excited about it, too. I had 99.7 per cent in Grade 11 physics because of him. He let us hang out in his room while he worked in his office. He used to make us laugh, and you could not get away with anything in his class because he would call you out on it.
-Mrs. Rajotte made me love math. She had little tricks that made it so easy, and she was just so excited about it that you couldn't help but be excited, too. To this day, I love math.
-Mr. Rivers was the sweetest little man. For our grade 12 chemistry class, he had his wife make us a banquet of food for a final study session before the provincial exam. I remember a few of us looked his phone number up because we had been studying and all had different answers, so we called him to settle the dispute. He wasn't even mad, just patient.
-Miss Marra, now Mrs. Mtwali, used to always ask us, "Questions, comments, concerns?" after every lesson. Before a test she would give us little baggies with Smarties in them and tell us to eat some while we were studying and some while we took the test because it would help us remember better. I remember feeling like she really loved us.
With so many wonderful role models, is it any wonder that I became a teacher? Most were science teachers, and as a result, I went into science in university. I hated it. To me, that spoke volumes about how important it is to have a teacher you love.
All of these people helped instill a love of learning that I have to this day. You will note that I don't speak necessarily about their lesson plans; what I remember is the relationships and how I felt being in their classes.
I want all of my students to feel that they are important to me. I want to feel like I have enough time to help them discover their passions and strengths.
So, I am putting my challenge to you. Tweet it out, make a Facebook post, or share on Instagram your favourite teachers and favourite school moments with #thisisYOURstrikepay. Be creative. Make a video. Write a song, poem, or blog post. (Teachers LOVE that kind of thing). Then tag some friends and ask them to do the same. Let's get teachers feeling valued because things are rough right now, and it's getting hard to remember by ourselves.
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