I always knew that I’d have be be crafty if I wanted to be a good teacher. I don’t mean crafty as in “good at arts and crafts” (although I think I’m pretty good at that!), but crafty as in being able to drop everything at a moment’s notice, switch up the plan, get a new plan out of thin air and somehow make that plan rock star. Admittedly, there haven’t been many moments this school year where I’ve had to launch into “crafty teacher” mode at the drop of a hat, but right now amidst job action I’m feeling like every day in my classroom is going to have to be extra crafty.
For those of you who aren’t teaching in BC right now, here’s the breakdown of what’s going on to the best of my understanding. As of tomorrow teachers in BC are not allowed to arrive at school until 45 minutes before the bell rings. We also aren’t allowed to stay longer than 45 minutes after the end of day bell rings. We aren’t allowed to work over our recess and lunch breaks (I guarantee you, most of us do). We may not help a student with work over recess or lunch. We aren’t allowed to bring marking, planning and prepping home. Before all this job action escalated I had been doing at least seven hours of work per week at home, including working through most of my breaks. We have to cancel any field trips/end of year adventures that have not already been paid for. If we DO go on field trips, we have to schedule those outings around our breaks because we cannot supervise children over said breaks.
All these restrictions have been slightly overwhelming for me and Meaghan because, as she mentioned yesterday, this is our first time going through job action as actual, certified teachers. Unfortunately, we know it won’t be the last time we go through this. We’ve cried our tears, we’ve rescheduled our plans and we are going to start this school week as if it were any other week. Sure, we’ll be picketing on Wednesday because that’s the day our school district goes on its rotating strike, but every other day will be as “regular” as we can make it in our classrooms…we just have to amp up our craftiness, I guess.
Despite all the crazy right now, we keep on keepin’ on because the work we do is too important to be pushed to the side. We work with children. We work for children. Our students are the main show and the system isn’t servicing them right now, but we are going to try our very best to make things as doable as possible because that’s what good educators do.
Here’s how we’re surviving in my class right now:
Tomorrow morning I’m going to school to be a champion for my 28 grade 8s. Teachers in BC, I hope you’re all able to dig deep, breathe deeper and hold your chin high as you walk through your school’s doors tomorrow. Remember what you stand for and stay true to your morals. Be champions for your students because right now they need us the most.