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Field trips, book club, school sports, photography club, concerts, extra-curricular bands, the improve team, and so much more is being taken away. An ECA (extra-curricular activities) ban has been put in place because the teachers are protesting their new contract. Basically, teachers aren’t allowed to do anything they aren’t paid for; which is a lot.
I’ve always loved how open my school is. Almost every door was gaping when I walked the halls before, or after school, during lunch, or even throughout the day. Students flowed in and out of classrooms and offices like bees moving about their colony. A building often compared to prison was alive, buzzing with freedom and creativity.
Now school resembles prison more and more. All the doors are sealed. No one shows up early, or stays late. And it’s quiet, unfeeling. During class, people converse and shift around; it’s almost like there’s still some vitality left. I can just about make out a soft din. But that sound is just our marching in line, our wings have been tied down. Besides, the eerie silence always returns.
There is so much more to school than going to class. We grow: we learn about each other, and ourselves in the time we spend together, teachers and students. The lessons we’re taught without realizing it are the most important ones; we carry them with us for the rest of our lives.
Teachers do so much more than what we see. They teach us to reach for the sky so we don’t get caught up in the beat of the march. Instead we learn to to fly. Flying is random, spontaneous and free. Marching is organized, repetitive, and boring. I’m sick of it.
Teachers don’t get paid for giving us flight lessons, and they don’t need to be because it’s what they love. They became teachers for a reason, and it wasn’t to become rich. They don’t need to make absurd amounts of money, just enough to live. The protests aren’t out of self-interest, but for the students.
The main issues with the new contract the government cooked up are changes that affect us. Right now what’s being discussed is class size. More specifically, increased class size and the fact that children with special needs may no longer be taken into account in calculating class size. Slower students will have trouble following courses with larger classes because they will be given less individual assistance. Special needs students will also unintentionally be taking away learning opportunities from the other students.
In the government’s eyes we will all be the same. A uniform sea of orange made to march to a strict tempo, regardless of personal abilities. But we have different skills and assets; we can’t all be worker bees.
Canada, and Quebec as a part of it, is a democracy. So shouldn’t we have the right to voice our opinions, to fight for what we believe in? Don’t people get a say in the contracts they sign? Supposedly, negotiations have started between the government and teachers, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Neither side is budging. If something is to be done, the public needs to speak up.
I’m not usually one to tell people what’s right or wrong. I give my opinion and let you draw your own conclusions. I don’t want you to just agree with me. Take my knowledge, your knowledge, and all the information you can find; then just think. Make your own judgement. If you live in Quebec, and want your voice to be heard, contact your local MNA; tell them your thoughts.
And no matter your opinion, keep that mind buzzing