Moving forward, building together
STRONG TEACHERS MAKE STRONG SCHOOLS
Like most teachers I know, I never imagined we would have to take politics seriously.
But now it’s clear that we do. If we really want to do the best for our kids, we have to deal with the world that affects their schools -- and our jobs.
We have to stop the cutbacks the TDSB has faced over the last decade. And we need to respect our work and support one another in a workplace that views teachers as professionals, not tools.
Strong schools need strong teachers – teachers who have autonomy to work for what their students need rather than Ministry-mandated outcomes, test scores, administrivia and empty accountability.
We know the austerity drill: lots of “caring” official rhetoric covering up more cuts. We know it means reducing essential resources, raising class sizes, putting pressure on wages and pensions.
We have to take back real power on the job, not only in classroom work but in genuine decision-making with our colleagues on issues like school budgeting and organization, student distribution, and curriculum integration between classes.
Finally, we have to face up as a union to the pointlessness of hundreds of dissociated curriculum “outcomes” policed by irrelevant and destructive standardized tests. Toronto teachers have said time and again that this curriculum/testing framework is a failure.
So we have to fight for real standards – standards that can only be judged in practice by classroom teachers. They come from teaching an engaging and purposeful curriculum. They’re about skills focused on the real world, such as projects in history and social studies, how math is used, what students think about nature.
But we can’t stand alone in fighting for the kind of school system we know is needed -- we have to bring our communities on board. If we have the courage and determination to reach out to parents and communities, a broad-based alliance for education quality could grapple with the problems we face about funding, local control, curriculum and testing reform.
That’s why ran for Executive Officer. There is a lot of work to do, standing up with teachers in a profession that has been hit hard in recent years. But it’s work that needs to be done -- to make our schools our students and ourselves strong.
We need to look after one another as teachers and friends.
Let me know what you think.