I agree with Catherine Robillard of Victoria as she writes about the gargantuan amount of work teachers do that many, including the writer of the offensive editorial to which she was replying, simply do not see or understand.
I am a typical humanities teacher who spends every evening and at least one day each weekend marking and preparing classes, after full days of working with students, contacting parents, coaching responsibilities, leading a school club and fundraising for the next student trip.
There’s no down time. That’s what I use summer holidays for: a chance to recoup, revive and continue personal educational opportunities to enrich my class the following year. Without that, I don’t think I could keep it up (for those who enviously look upon teachers’ summer holidays).
Class size and composition is crucial to my ability to give my best to all students. Sometimes, teachers end up with extremely challenging classes.
I recall earlier in my career when in two of my Socials 8 classes I had 21 of 51 students with IEP’s (Individualized Education Plans). The following year, seven additional students received designations. I did not have a single educational assistant to help me.
Those students who could have most benefited from field trips and other organized activities requiring intensive preparation were unable to experience this as I could not rely on good behaviour from the students in question, nor did I have the energy after all the creative classroom management I’d had to employ.
In Grade 12 these students agreed with my decision not to offer them field trips in the junior grades and apologized to me for their own behaviour and the behaviour of their classmates. Maturity worked wonders.
However, assistance in the class room, and class composition requirements would have ensured thriving through the middle and high school years, rather than merely surviving.
Sara Plumpton, Victoria