The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. After the shock of the education minister announcing her intentions to remove the discipline function from the ATA, the anger set in – anger at the blatant disrespect toward teachers and their professional association.
Teachers care deeply about their students and who teaches them. We do this in many ways. The ATA works with preservice programs across the province, instilling in our newest teachers the importance of professional competency and conduct. I have also sat through many enjoyable induction ceremonies that also focus on the high standards of teachers within their schools and communities.
As I processed this anger I was carrying, while getting some exercise on a treadmill, I realized that I have been angry for a while, not just that day or for those five hilly treadmill miles, but for months. The attack on the ATA on Dec. 9 was just another slap in the face to the caring professionals who are doing their best every day to keep public education afloat during a pandemic.
Teachers I have spoken to over the last few months are also carrying anger. But it’s not only teachers who are angry. Parents, academics and everyday Albertans are also angry with the way the government is treating public education and teachers.
That is why I was more than happy to attend and speak at a Dec. 18 rally in Calgary to support public education and teachers. It was a chilly day, not the kind of cold that hurts your face like the weather we have been having lately, but chilly enough. The group at the rally was small but mighty, and the great thing about it was it was mostly parents in attendance. The rally was organized by parents who care about their children and their children’s teachers. They expressed concerns about the draft K–6 curriculum, funding cuts to classrooms and special needs programming, and to the way the government has handled the pandemic.
As tired as I was that day, I noted I was a little less angry. There is tremendous support for teachers among the public, though that may not always be obvious on social media. It’s there and, given that public education is facing several uphill battles, I, for one, am grateful for that. ❚