I’m writing in response to the column, Schools get an F in labour management (June 19). For the most part, I agree with Alistair Taylor’s comments, but I want to address the public sector/private sector comparison.
As a private sector business owner, I look enviously at the many benefits enjoyed by teachers – however, I observe that private sector businesses and employees enjoy many more freedoms. If our work environment becomes intolerable, then we can make changes. If our employers treat us poorly, then we can change employers. Teachers have none of those freedoms.
Teachers’ working conditions are at the mercy of the B.C. government, local school boards, and parent advisory committees. I think no other professionals receive so little respect from their employers and from the general public.
I have three children between the ages of 16 and 22 years old, and I can honestly say that my oldest child received a better education than my youngest – in spite of attending the same schools and having many of the same teachers here in the Comox Valley. Teachers’ working conditions have been deteriorating, and it’s not only the teachers who are suffering, but our children, the future of the B.C economy.
Things may look OK on paper, but in the classroom, there is no end in sight to the deterioration. People who say otherwise have not looked seriously inside a classroom for a long time. So the education system does deserve “an F in labour management” and I think we do “all need to buck up and tell the government” – and the BCTF – that what we really need is better working conditions and more respect for teachers because it’s also our future economy and our children who are trying to grow inside the teachers’ working environment.