Teachers’ demands

Teachers' demands

To the joy of many students in Provence of British Colombia, Canada, their summer has been greatly extended. They have been out of school since last summer and don’t look to be going back any time soon.

The reasoning behind this dramatic change of schedule is not the students, but the teachers. Similar to what has occurred many times last year, teachers in B.C. have been demanding higher wages and better accommodations to appease themselves. The halt in production has been caused by British Colombia Teacher’s Federation (BCTF), and the mastermind behind it all is the Federation’s president, Jim Iker.

The Canadian Government offered a binding arbitration to Iker that could potentially settle for both parties, but it seems that it is a good possibility that things stay the same for quite a while until they can settle an agreement.

I had the opportunity to speak with a resident of British Columbia, Canada, who lives in the outskirts of Vancouver. He informed me that he would be going into his senior year in high school if it weren’t for the strikes. The source wished to remain anonymous.

“It was kind of nice at first, having an extended summer,” he said. “At this point it’s getting kind of ridiculous. Once an agreement finally does get settled we’re going to be way behind and have to cram everything in at the last minute. I think it’s great to stand up for what you believe in, but when the effects of what you are doing negatively effect millions of people than you start to look like a hypocrite.”

It seems as though frustration plays a bigger role in this than hypocrisy. Standing up for what you believe in is never a bad thing, but when the driving force behind that motivation for change is frustration, the outcome is never pleasant.

While I do believe that teachers in North America are greatly underappreciated, the demands that the teachers are asking for are much too high. Teachers definitely need to be more appreciated and accommodated, but the way they are trying to get their message across is just the opposite of why they chose that occupation in the first place, to teach children. And on top of that, if they end up meeting their great demands, a teacher’s annual salary would be equal to or more than the average police officer or fireman/firewoman who place their lives on the line to keep us safe. That is unacceptable. I do undoubtedly believe that teachers deserve more for what they give to the community, but there are much more pressing matters that need to be attended to before this happens.

What has been happening in B.C. imposes a great question about teachers and even as simple as education in America. Is the education system in America satisfactory with the rest of the world and are teachers appreciated enough?

Let’s look at statistics. America, despite being one of the most elaborate and unified societies on Earth, America is still not considered one of the smartest countries in the world. We’re not even in the top ten. That’s bad. We have a tremendous amount of resources at our disposal and we’re wasting them.

It’s also no secret that teaching is not the ideal occupation for a lot of people. Dealing with kids and going “back to school” when people would generally like to get away from it after attending for 16+ years. Finally there is the biggest reason of them all, teachers don’t necessarily get paid great. Why would you want to use all of this knowledge you possess in one subject to teach rather than going into that field and gaining more money.

The beautiful thing that we see in today’s teachers is that obviously, most of them love to teach and don’t care about the amount of money they receive. These are people who are passionate about what they do and don’t care what the return is. One of the first teachers who came to mind when this description came into my head was Elder’s own, Mr. Ploehs. Mr. John Ploehs is going on his 42nd year of teaching at Elder and is still just as upbeat and positive as he was when he was younger. He got his teaching degree and Xavier University after achieving academic success when he went to High School at Elder, and got a full scholarship to Xavier University.

“I know there are other countries that seem to value their education more,” he said. “But it’s hard to say that one job is more important than the other.

Mr. Ploehs is definitely someone who believes that you should stand up for what you believe in, but the way they are getting their message across in Canada doesn’t seem like the best way in his mind.

“I don’t like strikes,” Mr. Ploehs said. “For some people they believe that the only way to get their point across is through fear and intimidation. I think if Elder teachers went on strike (which they wouldn’t because they’re not part of a union) I don’t think I would join them because I value the education too much. I love my job.”

 No matter if you are a kindergarten teacher or a college professor, the great impact a teacher places on a kid’s life is more immense than they could even imagine. The great service they do for the sole purpose of educating children so they can become well-rounded individuals is something that needs to be shown greater appreciation.