Monday, June 23, 2014

I'd Rather be Teaching - Guest Post

Guest post by Judy Addie, a long-serving teacher who "most recently" has been at D.P. Todd Secondary for almost 37 years. She teaches Alternate Education and has been instrumental in the success of "school-based teams" (collaborative problem-solving for at-risk students) in School District 57 Prince George. More importantly, she has been a caring adult for hundreds of lost souls and troubled youth, guiding them to firmer ground (academically and emotionally) by providing attachment and safety when these students had few other options. 

This letter was written in during the longest teacher strike in Canadian history, a situation brought on, in part, by the violation of Charter Rights by the Government of BC.  

Thanks, Judy, for sharing your open letter to trustees with others in British Columbia. Also, good luck on your retirement from all the staff at D.P. Todd. Your wise counsel & sense of humour will be missed!
Dear Trustees, 

I am a teacher in School District No. 57 ( Prince George) and I'd rather be teaching today and everyday until the end of this school year. I hope that you can use your influence to bring a negotiated settlement and a fair deal for students and for teachers.

After 45 years of teaching, I will retire on June 30, 2014. I have seen many changes over the years, but the last few have resulted in drastic effects for my students. I teach students who are at risk not only academically, but because of other factors in their lives. Some are affected by mental health issues, some are affected by drug and alcohol issues, and many are affected by poverty. I have one student, a teenaged boy, who boils water so that he can bathe because the gas has been cut off in his home. I have another student who comes to school just to eat the breakfast and lunch that we provide because those are the only meals he gets. I have students whose mental health issues are so severe that they only attend one class per day.They arrive and leave when the halls are clear due to anxiety issues. I have students with behavioural issues who need time away from class to cool down. I have students who have severe learning disabilities who do not receive extra help except for the bit of one on one help that I can provide as I am moving about the class. These students need counsellors, learning assistance teachers, youth care workers and educational assistants to help them get through their day.

Some might think that the end of the year is not a busy time for high school teachers. There is so much I still have left to do before my retirement. In addition to the usual year end activities, I need time to write notes to the students' teachers next year. I need to meet with the new teachers who will be replacing me. I need to tell them about the program and the 19 different courses that are available in Alternate Ed. I need to tell them about each individual student and their strengths and their challenges.

There are only 5 more days in my career, and………. I'd rather be teaching.


Thielmann said...

Hey Judy... just heard your interview on CBC RadioWest on the same topic as your letter. Well done! You made it so clear about both the need in our schools and the heart that teachers have for their students.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Judy, Great letter....perhaps they will understand!