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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 3, November/December 2004

President’s message

Over the last few months, I have had the pleasure of meeting teachers in their schools and locals across this province. In every community I visit, teachers talk about their day-to-day experiences.

Education underfunding has led to 2,500 fewer teachers—so teachers are facing class-size/class-composition problems, less support for students with special needs, and less support in learning assistance and counselling. At the same time as the government makes pronouncements on literacy, we have seen a 25% reduction in teacher-librarians.

The accountability mantra, with its focus on very narrow measures of achievement, and the new teacher-supervision crusade by principals pose real threats to our profession.

Teacher supervision attempts to control not only what we teach but also how we teach. Teachers feel the disconnect between what we know to be best practice and these attempts to de-professionalize teaching.

We know that B.C. has the best-trained teachers in the world. Despite all the challenges, teachers are doing the very best they can under very difficult circumstances.

During these times, it is important that we find ways to support one another and to look after ourselves. While I was visiting Decker Lake Elementary School, in Burns Lake, teachers in the staffroom were sharing their stories. In the middle of the discussion on job intensification and the growing pressures, a card arrived for one of the teachers. She opened it and found a thank-you card from one of her students, and we had tears of joy.

This speaks to the passion we feel. I encourage you to take care of yourself and your colleagues.

Share your stories. And thank you for the amazing job you do.

– Jinny Sims