I got a great reminder this week of why we voted 96% in favour of a strike. In a staff meeting our admin introduced the “new” way to track progress of kids on IPPs [individual program plans]. It was the most arcane, complicated, user-unfriendly process, not just for teachers inputting the data into the computer system, but for parents who (supposedly) read it on the other end. I can’t even remember how many times this process has been changed in the past few years, but none of those times has the process actually become easier or more clear.
This is similar to many other procedures in Nova Scotia these days: more time spent writing incomprehensible report cards, participating in school-wide and individual improvement plans (we all just go through the motions), meeting in PLCs [professional learning communities] so we can check off boxes saying we did.
And for what? So that someone, somewhere, can supposedly hold us “accountable.” Never mind that the countless hours we spend entering this kind of data onto spreadsheets prevents us from actually helping our students in need. Never mind that even if some of this data-tracking is somehow useful for helping out students, it is always added to our existing workload (nothing is ever taken away).
There was some good from the meeting though – it seemed like teachers were more willing to speak up about their frustration than in the past. All the talk about the contract negotiations have helped us find our voice and realize we’re all going through similar things. Even the administrators seemed a bit sympathetic. It might take us some time, but I think we’ve started to realize that change needs to happen, and if we stick together we can make it happen. We owe it to our students.