Archive for the ‘MCGUINTY AND TEACHERS’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE FROM THE CLOUDCUCKOOLAND OF TEACHERS – ONTARIO TEACHERS THREATENING TO NOT ASSIST STUDENT ACTIVITIES IN THE FALL – THE NATURE OF PROFESSIONS – OUR PUBLIC EDUCATION NOT COMPETITIVE   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

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

They would succeed only in alienating a still larger portion of the public.

You cannot play these kinds of games in private industry and remain employed.

And extremely well-paid teachers should not be able to either.
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I see several references to professionals in recent comments.

There is nothing about teaching that warrants the name “professional.”

Teaching is a talent, an art, a calling, but it is not a profession unless you misuse language.

A profession is defined by a special body of knowledge – as exists in medicine or law or architecture.

There is no such body of knowledge in teaching.

Elementary teachers do not even have to have any expertise from their BA. Many of them do not know math or language or other subjects any better than people on the streets.

Teachers’ college serves up 8 or 9 months of unexamined assumptions and tidbits of pop psychology. It is totally unscientific and qualifies you for nothing beyond union membership.

Take any bright, motivated person – someone who actually knows a subject – and put him or her into the classroom, and you will instantly get results better than those of many of the “professionals,” especially the thousands who are unmotivated and often know little worth giving children.

We need expertise and motivation in our schools, and the loose use of “professionals” does not give it to us, especially at the elementary level.

The great teacher and scholar, Roger Ascham, tutor to the young Queen Elizabeth I, said that it was the young who should get the very best teaching, and we do precisely the opposite.

And he was right.
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“So the minister thinks it’s a “privilege” for teachers to be able to spend the day in the classroom with students…

“What a crock. That statement ncely [sic] encapsulates why people loathe politicians. It’s a job where people have to make ridiculous statements that conform to third-rate p.r. strategies. And they have to do it with a straight face. This minister is either delusional or a simpleton if she actually beleives [sic] that statement.”

True for politicians, often.

But equally true for teachers, often.
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“I’m out. I’m using the time I spent doing extra curricular on my new additional part time job. I have no choice. My hydro bill is going up 8 percent.”

There is a perfect example of a pathetic and unthinking pleading, seeming to come directly from the realms of Cloudcuckooland.

A teacher up in his scale, and it takes not many years to reach that, earns more than $80 thousand plus unbelievable benefits for what really is part-time work.

If you can’t live comfortably on that, just try your next best job opportunity.

Clerk at WalMart? Clerk at the post office? LCBO check-out? Real estate sales? Whatever a general BA gets you, which isn’t much.

Comments like yours only anger most people who earn a fraction of what your schedule rewards you with, and they have exactly the same costs of living.

And how about all the retired old folks, barely keeping their homes with costs like real estate taxes, used to pay your salary?

Anyone who complains the way you do only exposes himself as someone who should never have become a teacher.
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“Thinks it’s very sad that people devote so much time and effort to criticizing the professions of others.”

The only reason this happens is because we have to read and hear the special pleadings of teachers regularly.

And you say people should “shadowing a teacher” to see how difficult is the work?

Please, everyone with children has intimate exposure to teachers, and that on top of their own experience growing up.

I’ve done both substitute teaching and tutoring as well as university lecturing.

I do believe I have experience worth communicating, as do many others.

Again, teaching is simply not a narrow field of specialized knowledge, and that fact qualifies all thoughtful people to comment on what are widely seen as abuses and excesses.
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“Many [teachers] put their lives on hold for 10 months of the year. Spend some time shadowing a teacher before posting a rant. That’s how you can truly make an informed opinion.”

There is the special pleading of all time. While I don’t doubt that this might happen in a few extreme cases, I’ve never seen it, ever.

Spend a little time with teachers, and what you’ll often, in fact, hear are whining, special pleading, and just plain nonsense claims.
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“It’s time for disgruntled teachers of the public system in Ontario to show us that they can find better job opportunties elsewhere. Good luck!”

Yes, just a few examples would be interesting.

But, except in exceptional circumstances of course, it’s an impossible task.

General BAs get you absolutely nowhere on the job market.

And a teaching certificate has zero, or even negative, value outside of the closed and privileged school system.
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“The last time the teachers “worked to rule” my daughter was the high school year book editor. Alone, and unaided, my daughter got the Principal to cut her a cheque for $5K, bought the computer system she needed, taught herself Photoshop, and produced the yearbook in time and under budget. She received no acknowledgment for this accomplishment at her graduation the next year. The next year the yearbook editor had the help of teachers and went back to the non computer cut and paste method. Perhaps more student activities should be done without teacher “help”.”

Good example of the kind of stuff that goes on in so many places and institutions.

Yet the whining teachers think an hour or two a week spent on some activity makes them over into the image of Mother Teresa.

And your point on the use of a computer program versus cut-and-paste is well taken. Many teachers cannot use a computer, and they are under no pressure to learn. So students watch them doing tasks in totally out-of-date ways, the teachers earning for themselves a great deal of respect I’m sure.

And your anecdote is the precise measure of how bad the situation has become and why the public has no respect for their special pleadings.

Think of all the volunteers in schools, in public libraries, in Sunday Schools, in food banks, and churches, in old age homes, etc, etc.

Tens and tens of thousands, week in-week out.

And no brownie points earned towards keeping up their status in their work place.

It makes you want to puke that a teacher making more than $80,000 with gold-plated benefits and impossible to dismiss for poor performance thinks he or she deserves an Order of Canada for handling an extra-curricular activity.

They are so out of it, they keep making these ridiculous pleadings, only making people more unhappy with them.
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“You all think attacking teacher’s [sic] is the solution but it is not…”

No one thinks that.

You are question-begging.

Everyone is tired of the whining and making a big deal out of every tiny event.

Especially in light of the mediocre performance of many and their guaranteed high remuneration.
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“When report card season comes, she spends an extra 15-18 hours per week for 3 weeks at home doing them.”

Many teachers ‘do” the report cards today in a matter of a few hours.

They use a no-work-required, select-a-phrase computer program to fill the forms.

The parents and kids learn nothing from it, and the teachers put no work into it.
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“I know some school boards in the US that pay teachers for extra-curriculrar [sic] activities, such as track and field, debate, basketball, and mock trial.

“Either make it part of a teacher’s duties or pay for the benefit. Teachers are not slaves.”

Perhaps, but a lot of other variables are handled differently in U.S. jurisdictions, and it is just dishonest to make a comment which isolates one small fact of costs from all of the others.

First, in many poor jurisdictions in the U.S., teachers are paid a fraction of what they are paid in Ontario. You would shocked by the pay in many poor, rural states.

Second, in some U.S. jurisdictions, teachers are paid according to the cost of living in various parts of the state with teachers in rural places and small towns receiving substantially less than those in a city.

Third, in many jurisdictions in the U.S., substitutes only are required to have a degree – BA for elementary, MA for high school – and they are paid at a low fixed rate, as low as $50 a day.

In Ontario the union says they must all be grads of teachers’ college, and they are paid at beginning full-time rates.

There are many other such differences, and you cannot compare one aspect without giving a more complete picture of all the financial flows.

As to your “teachers are not slaves,’ well, that really does make you sound just silly.
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“My mom is a teacher – still working at 67. She loves her job and she’s good at it. Has banked over 350 sick days because she rarely takes a day off. She’s only getting paid for 200 of those banked days upon her retirement as they are still being honoured. That means she’s saved her employers paying her 150 sick days + the 150 days they would have had to pay for a supply teacher.”

I’m glad she is a good teacher, but you do not get to “bank” days almost anywhere in private industry.

And did you know that in many companies and organizations in the U.S. that each sick day taken subtracts from your annual vacation days?

It’s legal, and it is done.
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“Teacher’s [sic] have to be in before 8:00, and if you think teachers are free after 5:00 when they homework to mark, lesson plans to write weekly, and new curriculum to learn and review, then you are silly. “

Please, maybe your mother believes that, but no one else does.

The parking lots at schools empty quickly.

And many teachers do almost no marking today, planning their assignments with just that in mind. Many use “group work” to cut the assignments down by a factor of five, too.

As for lesson plans, I’ve substituted, I’ve seen their books, and many are just bad jokes.

Finally, and most important for the quality of education, there is no one, absolutely no one, assessing our teachers’ work or knowledge or personality suitability.

Hired once, in for life.

It is impossible to have a high-quality system built on that weak foundation.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: SOME POINTS OF INSANITY WITH OUR PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS – AN EDITORIAL ON ONTARIO TEACHERS’ POSITION WITH BOTH FALL SCHOOL APPROACHING AND BY-ELECTIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT PUSHING THEM FOR CONCESSIONS   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“Most teachers have never lived in the real world spending their entire lives from age 5 to retirement in a classroom. They are the most pampered whining class of people in our society.”

Well said, indeed.

A pointed truth.

It is time for an Ontario Premier to show enough courage to take the teachers’ union on.

The courage to take a strike would re-establish the proper relationship of government and government employees.

A strike would not only be extremely helpful in this way, it would not last very long.

When the teachers realized that their next vacation in the South of France or Cancun, Mexico, was imperiled, or payments on the two fully-equipped SUVs wouldn’t be met, the strike would end.

We have no better example of a huge ship without anyone at the helm than Ontario’s public schools.

McGuinty has done nothing but throw money at teachers to buy votes, giving them, last time round, a generous multi-year increase when most of society, the people who pay the wages, was being sent into an economic tailspin.

The arrogance of teacher-spokespeople is simply breathtaking. Here is a job in which the bulk of practitioners have a general BA – often with not-stellar academic performance – plus a pretty meaningless certificate from an anti-intellectual teachers’ college.

The truth is that – except for specialists in science, math, and languages – most teachers could be replaced almost instantly by people without the certificates, and if we included retired experts and highly-motivated people only, we would see a startling improvement in our kids’ schools.

In economics we would say that the next best opportunity for the bulk of them is as clerks and salespeople at wages a fraction of what they receive and with no gold-plated pension and no working effectively 8 months a year.

We need a sense of reality here, as society is facing great waves of turmoil and insecurity from the world economic situation.

And the harsh truth is Ontario schools on average are not terribly competitive in the world.

McGuinty’s past giveaways have achieved not much beyond enriching and indulging the teachers.

All the tests by which we supposedly measure improvements are poorly conceived and in the control of teachers to tweak and adjust and mark.

They are not objective, and they are completely unsatisfactory measures of performance.

The very measure of the teachers’ poor attitudes is precisely this almost insignificant sacrifice McGuinty is asking. It does barely begins to change the many things needing change, yet they whine and reject like the worst students in their classes.
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“Wow, continue to be astounded by the depth of teacher hatred in the general population.

“To be fair, teachers are very well compensated for their work, not sure they are over compensated, though.

“Summers off? Well, maybe they should be in PD training or refresher courses for 4 or 5 weeks in July or August.

“Pensions? Yes, but they do contribute about 10% of their pay to their pension, or, looking at it another way, they pay half their pension contributions. Their pensions are not paid by the government, but through the pension board, which invests their money. Done a pretty good job of investing so far, it looks like.

“Teachers’ unions? The Charter guarantees freedom of association. it is right under the Charter to form a federation and have that body negotiate on their behalf. It’s all legal.

“So, it’s a good job, if you like doing it.

“Don’t know anybody in it for the money, though.”

Hatred of teachers?

That is simply wrong.

Rather, it is hatred of abuse and arrogance and hypocrisy and the fact that teachers do not clearly perceive those demonstrated qualities are major parts of the problem.

To assume that it is hatred of teachers reveals the same warped perspective that generates this entire issue.

Refresher courses in what?

The courses now offered by their administration for advancing them on the pay-scale are appalling in their content. They run from childish to anti-intellectual with surprisingly little hard new information and demand for learning, and the reason for that is simple: they would be flunking hundreds of teachers regularly otherwise and still sending them back to their jobs – an impossible bind.

They pay half their pensions? That’s not an accurate way to measure it, but even if it were, what a deal, double your money, guaranteed. Try getting that deal anywhere.

Teachers’ unions are indeed the exercise of a right, but all rights can be abused and have limits, even freedom of speech.

The key point you ignore is that the teachers’ union, rather than genuinely trying to improve education and conditions, consistently works to extract more money by the threat over all parents’ heads of striking. And while they work to fleece the public, they use weasel words which fool absolutely no one but themselves. They also consistently defend the indefensible, poor and even ignorant teachers.

That last line of yours is very telling.

You either do not know anything about the people with whom you work or your head is in cloudcuckooland.

It is easy to spot teachers whose only drive is their own career and pay advancement. Loads of them.

And when your next best employment is a store clerk – true, I’m sorry, for many of them – the money counts hugely.

They, and you, only pretend it doesn’t.
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“Think about teachers the next time your child is in a play at school, taking part in a Christmas concert, going on a special field trip, being part of a sports team, being a member of a school band or participating in a talent night. I am not looking for accolades but the harsh words and misleading comments are hurtful. I think you should all homeschool your children since we as teachers are all so stupid and wouldn’t be able to get a job in the real world.”

Sorry, but that is a perfect example of the special pleading that make so many despair at teachers’ lack of understanding on these issues.

If you do those things, it is only what parents expect in return for your handsome remuneration.

You don’t seem aware at all that anyone who takes pride in their work anywhere does equivalent things.

It actually is a bit stunning that you don’t realize that your preconceptions and special pleadings are strong evidence of the cloudcuckooland that so many teachers reside in.

The hard truth is many, many teachers never do more than they absolutely have to. I’ve seen them, and I’ve heard their smirky remarks.

They are ready to go home at 3 PM, and they do. You can see them by the score doing so.

You say you are not looking for accolades, but the drift of your comment is precisely to seek accolades, not just for yourself but all teachers.

But all teachers do not deserve accolades any more than all auto mechanics or all cooks. Many just barely function in their jobs, others are getting away with murder, and the public is well aware of those things, yet we have to read the special pleadings and the whining about the least change in work conditions.

If you had any exposure to the lower middle-management world of private industry, you’d know that overtime and evening or weekend work are completely the norm.

Expected by management, but earning no special remuneration or, often, no special praise.

And the salary and benefits of an Ontario elementary teacher, one up in the pay scale, are quite comparable to that hardworking class in private industry (In excess of $80,000 per year plus immensely rich benefits).

And people in private industry start with two weeks of vacation, maybe building up to 3 or 4 after some years.

And if they regularly took another 20 or so days off as sick days (sick days whose cost is literally double given the need for substitutes) – as many Ontario teachers do – their careers would likely come to an end.

They won’t get your pension either.

Your last thought is both ridiculous and offensive.

People should teach their own kids just because they have criticisms of how things are in the schools and how teachers present themselves in public?

It’s a childish and petulant statement.

And, sorry, but just plain ignorant.