We first walked to BCTF Headquarters at 6th and Cambie to pick up some buttons and (I hoped) a T-shirt, but they were all out of the latter.
I was a member of the BC Teachers' Federation for thirteen years. I taught Grade 6 and 7 French Immersion, then K-7 ESL, before veering off into the world of post-secondary education in the early 2000s. The reasons for this slight career change were varied, but one of those reasons was the steady decline in support for public education on the part of British Columbia's increasingly neo-conservative, corporate-butt-licking, social-service-slashing provincial governments (not a uniquely British Columbian phenomenon, I realize).
This is Ken, the guy charged with the thankless task of fielding some pretty obnoxious phone calls and messages (these days, anyway). I heard him take a couple of (innocuous-sounding) calls while I was there, and his tone was entirely pleasant and professional. I don't know that mine would be!
After our stop-off, Freddie and I walked on to our destination on the east side of town.
To which I say: bullshit.
Some of the sins teachers have been accused of (left)
Even if our province were barely scraping by economically (ha), and even if all teachers in the province were "negligently" working only those hours for which they're being paid (yeah, right), I can think of a crapload of costs that should be lined up at the chopping block way ahead of public education (and healthcare). Starting with the Minister of Education's expense account, perhaps?
I'm trying to show off my solidarity buttons here. They say "A fair deal for teachers / Better support for kids."
We did several laps of the school grounds. In the trafficky stretch along E. 25th, the support from drivers was fantastic — loads of honking and waving and thumbs-up. Only two obvious expressions of disapproval the whole three hours.
Playing Behind the Picket Line
So. For all my teaching friends and family members, for my former colleagues, for my former students who've since become educators themselves, for the friendly and dedicated folks at Tupper Secondary School ... most of all, for all the students currently in our ailing system — from those who still believe in Santa Claus to the ones who'll be eligible to vote in the next federal election — Freddie and I walked the line this afternoon.
Leah's program: Tupper Young Parents Services (TYPS)
Their garden grows beets, and I got to take some home.