I don’t often (maybe never?) get into contentious topics on this blog, but today I feel compelled to share something important to me with you, my readers.
I was asked to speak at a rally today in support of teachers in Nova Scotia. Our teachers are in a legal strike position during the first week of December and this scares me for many reasons (not the least of which will be my need to increase my wine budget if the kids aren’t in school). But I digress… these are the remarks I delivered today in support of students, parents and teachers.
Let me know your thoughts on this important issue!
My name is Jody MacArthur.
I am a resident of East Hants. But, first and foremost, I am a parent. I have two daughters here in the Chignecto Central Regional School Board. My daughter Maddie is in Grade 5 at Enfield District Elementary and my daughter Kate is in grade 8 at Riverside Education Centre.
Today, I am speaking out in support of THEM and all children who attend school in Nova Scotia, now and in the future.
Our kids deserve classrooms that are not overcrowded, that offer a learning environment conducive to learning for ALL students. They deserve to be assessed on things that matter. They deserve learning conditions that are the best we have to offer them.
Today, I’m also speaking out for parents…
Parents deserve to be able to gauge their child’s success in school. Not to receive a report card full of information we can’t understand. We deserve to feel that our children are getting the best our government can offer them. We also deserve to feel comfortable that our children are in schools that are healthy. High school students and teachers in East Hants are expected to thrive in a high school that has been leaking for decades, that doesn’t offer lockers for students to store their stuff during school hours, that hasn’t had an air quality test in 8 years (did I mention that the school has been leaking for decades). This is not acceptable to our students and staff.
Finally, today I’m also speaking out for our teachers. Teachers like Mrs. Currie and Ms. Blinn who teach all day and then spend hundreds of hours AFTER SCHOOL helping middle schoolers put on a musical production each spring that entertains young and old alike and is such an asset to our community. Teachers like Mrs. Arsenault who welcomed us to Riverside when we were brand new to this community two years ago and my then 6th grader knew not one person in the school. Mrs. Arsenault gave us a tour of the school the day before school started and then waited to welcome my daughter the next day so that she would see at least one familiar face in a sea of new people.
Teachers like Mrs. Gatto and Mrs. Smith who gave the grade fours the experience of hatching chicks last year. Going into their classrooms on the evenings and weekends to make sure the eggs were turned and once hatched, to make sure all was well with the babies.
I could go on and on. There are many amazing teachers who pour their hearts and souls into their classroom work and extra curricular activities to make sure OUR kids thrive.
I have been lucky to have had amazing teachers during my years in school in Nova Scotia. From Ms. Gillis in grade primary who entertained us all with made up Halloween stories, ones I still remember every Halloween, even now. To Mr. Gillis in grade 8 who helped a struggling student go from a math mark in the 60s to high 90s just because he believed that I could do it and gave me some extra help during HIS lunchtime. His use of hockey analogies certainly helped make math real for me! To Mrs. Cooke, Mr. Gouthro, Mr. Preeper, Madame Douglas and I could go on… for encouraging my classmates and I to try harder, go further. Thank you.
Times have changed since I was in a classroom as a student.
But teachers still do amazing things for today’s students. Of that, there is no doubt.
But teachers are telling us and our government that their jobs have become an almost impossible task in today’s classrooms in Nova Scotia.
We need to listen.
Teachers deserve to be heard. Their jobs are important. Important to our children, important to us parents, important to themselves and SHOULD BE important to our government and to the future prosperity of Nova Scotia. I strongly believe the government needs to negotiate in good faith with the Nova Scotia Teachers Union in order to ensure there is not a teacher’s strike. In order to ensure that we are giving our children – ALL OF OUR CHILDREN – the BEST opportunity to thrive right here in Nova Scotia.
Please listen. We know there is a fiscal reality in our province but we also know there is a cost do not doing now what we need to do for our children. Listen to those who spend the most time in the classrooms, our students and our teachers. They’ll tell you the real state of education in Nova Scotia.
Today, I’m speaking out for our future. I hope you will too!