Urban Disaster

I have become increasingly annoyed with the antics of Sandra Urban-Hall as she continues to bargain in the media on behalf of the province.  In her latest diatribe, she speaks of the unwillingness of teachers to negotiate.  This is a lot of B.S.  Teachers have shown a willingness from the beginning to negotiate reasonably.  She continues to try to vilify  teachers with statements like “please don’t impact the graduating and post secondary plans of our students.  These decisions are not made by the STF, rather the Ministry.  She also goes out of her way to describe the STF as a union, which it is not.  The Federation is just that…a professional body that represents the collective interests of its members.  I have repeatedly heard the voice of the ignorant who suggest teachers need to be more visible on picket lines.  When have you seen doctors and lawyers on the picket line?  We are professionals and thus aim to conduct ourselves as such.  Further to the notion that teachers can’t ask for the percentage we are because it is about supply and demand…that would mean lawyers would earn pittance and politicians even less.  The barometer should be…what does it cost to ensure that our students the best education.  If people like Urban-Hall continue to devalue teachers, the profession will only attract those who believe the tripe about 9-3 and summer off.  The most insulting thing this government has done in this negotiation is by appointing Urban-Hall as a spokesperson.  I hope that they are confident that they can undo all the damage caused by this Urban disaster.

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Well Played SaskParty

So…the provincial government has resolved to invite teachers back to the table to resume negotiations.  In a press conferenced their spokesperson is quoted as having said,”This offering will make SK teachers the highest paid in the country.”  Well played, well played indeed.  The beauty of a comment like this is that no matter what the government comes back with, teachers will look like schmucks if they don’t take it.  The government knows this and it is the reason they continue to bargain in the media.  It will not matter whether or not it is a fair agreement; people will believe that teachers are turning down a lucrative contract.  Teaching is often referred to in cliche as the “nobelest profession”.  The truth in that statement is that teachers have historically taken little compensation (sometimes 0) in tough economic times. As a result, teachers now stand at a crossroads where we have the opportunity to regain some of that lost ground in a time of great prosperity.  Yet, the provincial government would rather devalue teachers by playing ridiculous mind games in the media.  It is my hope that these antics only serve to strengthen the resolve of the teaching collective to reject anything less than what we deserve.

Ascending The ITSummit

I sit here on day 2  listening to Michael Wesch tell us about creating learners for the 21st Century.  Of all the things I take from what he says, the most poignant ideas contextualize the dangers of passive consumption of technology.  As educators, we have a responsibility to assist our learners in becoming constructive users of technology.  As Wesch points out, we must move from being knowledgeable to knowledge-able.  Being knowledge-able heightens the processes of communication, thoughtfulness and empathy. So, with that in mind, how can we as educators, ethically resist the responsibility of helping our students to become transformative in the use of technology?  I don’t think that most teachers want to resist, rather they ar uncomfortable with the idea of being in the role of the learner themselves.  Well, a little discomfort can sometimes be a great motivator as well. We must move forward with our students on this journey.  Complacency is not an option!  We must ensure the path for our 21st Century learners is visible and that they have the comfort of knowing that we are there if they need us.