Union to Teachers: Follow rules or else

[The leaders of teacher union have the right to tell teachers what they can and cannot do after a collective agreement expires.  A teacher who disobeys the instructions given by union leaders can be disciplined, including being fined $500/day. All school-related contracts expired on Aug 31, 2014.]

Union leaders have said that they will tell teachers to withhold supports for students as part of their campaign to get the collective agreements that they want.  Some unions started this withdrawal of supports last spring; all of them plan to withdraw student supports as schools start in the next few weeks.

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association recently sent a letter with 10 commandments that all teachers in Catholic schools must follow our face punishment.  (Context and commentary have been added following each “commandment”)

  • Members enter their workplace, as a group, 15 minutes prior to the start of the school day.  [A great many teachers start their days much earlier than this to support students with extra help, supervise a club or to allow students to practice music or sport, or just to be there for a child to talk about an issue that is troubling her or him. This 15 minute rule follows the letter of the law, but hurts students.]
  • Within the 300-minute instructional day, members shall do only their scheduled assignments and not agree to any additions to their schedule [This makes it impossible for the school Principal to respond to student needs that come up unexpectedly, such as a student suffering from a sudden emotional crisis.]
  • Members shall NOT plan or participate in any extracurricular activities that occur outside the regular classroom time. [No sports teams or practices, no music or drama performances or practices, no chess, Gay/Straight Alliance, debating or other clubs.  No Student Council meetings or dances.  Cross-country races, an important beginning of year tradition, will be one of the first casualties of this commandment.]
  • Members shall NOT participate in the preparation of report card comments or input marks into a computer site. [No immediate effect, but it is unlikely that parents will get the Fall Progress Report that will flag any problems their child is encountering.]
  • Members shall NOT take work materials home. All marking and planning shall be done within 300-minute instructional day. [Teachers won’t talk to each other about students or lesson plans.  Assignments and test will not be marked quickly enough to give students the feedback that they need to learn effectively.]
  • Members shall NOT attend staff, department, divisional meetings, meet-the-teacher night or parent-teacher interviews. [Teachers won’t attend meetings that are used to coordinate lessons and work out any problems in how the school runs (eg. how to get students out of and back into the school at recess.]
  • Members shall NOT organize or go on school trips during or outside the school day.
    [No enriching experiences in the community, at performances, and in the community.]
  • Members shall NOT accept student teachers in their classrooms.
    [Students in Faculties of Education need classroom “practicum” to graduate.  This puts the career prospects of hundreds of young adults at risk.]
  • Members shall NOT mentor or provide extra help during lunch or prep time, or outside of the regular class schedule. [Tough luck for struggling students, students who need a kind word, and students who are being excluded or taunted by their classmates.  Not only will they suffer, but the all-important trusting relationship with their teachers will be severely damaged.]
  • Members shall NOT organize or participate in “before school breakfast” programs.
    [Is there anything more troubling than the union leaders commanding teachers to refuse to help feed hungry, often disadvantaged, students?]

Source: “Ontario teachers unions gearing up for Protest 101”, Sue-Ann Levy, Toronto Sun, Aug 9, 2015