JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: HIGH ABSENTEEISM BY ONTARIO’S TEACHERS – IRRESPONSIBLE AND UNPROFESSIONAL – REFORM NEEDED – PUBLIC SCHOOL BOARDS AND TEACHERS’ COLLEGES ARE INCOMPETENT AND OUT-OF-DATE – IMPORTANCE OF CRITICS   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

The recent record of teachers’ high absenteeism, including many 3-day weekends, demonstrates serious irresponsibility.

The generous terms of their employment – high salaries, big pensions, generous benefits, 6-hour days, and 8-month years – aren’t enough for them.

And when a teacher is absent for no good reason, the public is required to pay two salaries each day.

During labor negotiations we always hear the teachers’ special-interest plea about kids’ education needs, but teachers behaving this way really care about kids, don’t they? Or for that matter, care about anyone else?

Of course, the real problem is, and always has been, that teachers pretty much answer to no one once they are hired into a school.

And the problem is made worse by the fact that the entire system – from principals and superintendents to directors – is run by teachers, actually teachers who’ve left the class room and don’t want to teach any more.

And what is the genuine competence of the average teacher with his or her general BA and a few months at an academically-meaningless teachers’ college? Not much.

If the public doesn’t demand more for public education, we’ll never get it. Remember – setting aside former-Premier McGuinty’s years of empty rhetoric – Ontario in no way stands out in the world of education.

And now we have another premier, a former teacher as it happens, who will give and give and demand nothing in return – a formula for labor peace and political advantage but having nothing to do with genuine education.

We need an entirely new way of hiring and training teachers if we are to have reform.

Any motivated university graduate with an academic major or at least two minors or any motivated middle-aged professional should be able to spend two years in the class room as a substitute under supervision.

Eliminate the academically-meaningless teachers’ colleges.

And forget the overblown and inaccurate notion of teaching as a profession.

It is not, it is an avocation, an art, a skill, and sadly not enough of our current teachers, despite the formal qualification of teachers’ college, possess it.

And you must have something you know thoroughly – music, math, English – in order to teach effectively, which is not the case for so many general BAs. Indeed teachers’ colleges promote the fatuous notion of teachers as some kind of vaguely-defined facilitators who needn’t be expert in the subjects they teach.

Making teachers’ college a 2-year proposition – as our McGuintyesque Premier Wynne has done – is a guaranteed waste of resources and no route to improving education.

And we badly need real management of our schools – people who understand the effective management of human and physical resources – not the money-wasting system of boards and principles we have now.
_______________________________

From a reader:
“Those who can, TEACH. Those who can’t, CRITICIZE. (I’m neither a teacher nor a critic of teachers.)”

You’ve got the quote wrong, and your error is revealing.

Shaw said:

“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”

A criticism of teachers from a wry, inveterate critic.

A world without serious critics would be an impoverished one indeed.

Some of the greats included Shaw, Voltaire, Johnson, Orwell, and Swift.

People like this writer want the same tired band to march in the same tired parade, playing the same tired tunes.

So, according to this writer, we don’t want critics, but hacks like the last director of TDSB are okay? He managed to weasel through a system which has no effective protections and no competent management. Indeed that fact is the most important lesson that should have been learned by those shameful events.

The “managers” at TDSB clearly never checked into his background. I am aware that he was a failure in Hamilton and, most importantly, a very big and wasteful spender, but none of Toronto’s “experts” were aware of the facts nor did they recognize serial plagiarism when they saw it.

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