Retired teachers’ perspectives

As a retired teacher I am shocked at the unbelievable downloading of duties to teachers. When I retired I was a Learning Centre teacher. My responsibilities were numerous, but definitely not to the extent that teachers are experiencing today. Sure there were lots of hours before and after the public perception time of 9-3, but I don’t recall feeling overwhelmed and on the fast track to burn-out that teachers are feeling today. You have my support in whatever you decide to do and I will not hesitate to walk the picket line with you if that is what happens. Premier McNeil and his government have to be stopped in their outrageous treatment of Nova Scotia teachers. It is time they be held accountable!

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As a retired teacher I will stand with my former colleagues if…when you vote to strike.

For the past 25 years I have seen the duties of teachers change. When I started teaching in 1982 the professional treadmill was going at 3 km per hour. You could get on it and go alllll day. Generally speaking teachers were not overworked…we were not taking stress leave…were not using our sick days for mental health…(which now means stay home to get caught up)…We were competent and successful and so were our students. We loved our job. We were proud with our efforts and our profession. We were respected… and successful.

As our school boards decreased in number but increased in staff…our duties began to change. Teachers were no longer going at 3 km per hour…Over time we were going at 10 km per hour. Some teachers can do this for a very short period of time…but no one can go all day. The result of this pace was frustration, burnout and a feeling that you are failing…a feeling that you are not able to do your job. So what did teachers do? We became silent…closed our doors and did the best we could but questioned if we could do our job as well as our colleagues. Why did we feel this way? Because someone would eventually stand up in a staff meeting and proclaim the new initiative great…no problem at all. The new demands were not an issue…the new demands were not unreasonable…..noooooo problem.

New trends equaled new duties and new demands…and we did the best we could. What we, as a group, should have said…Is that we are not that good…We cannot do what you are asking. We should have been honest. We should have said, “this cannot be done”…We should have spoken out sooner…and loudly. Instead, we remained silent during staff meetings…we closed our doors and did the best we could…and we suffered. NOW is the time to act…NOW is the time to be honest…Now is the time.

Stand strong. I, for one, am standing with you.

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