Dollars & Sense – Am I an Employee or a Volunteer? (soapbox post)

As the Teacher dispute in British Columbia starts to get ugly with plenty of mudslinging from both sides of the political spectrum. It would seem things are starting to come to a head simply by the pinch which only the withdrawal of Volunteer services can bring.

Teachers in school districts throughout the Province are now being told to ONLY do their job as outlined by contract and to work bell to bell. What this means is that any “extra time” a teacher volunteers to their school in the way of coaching, clubs, study sessions… etc, will be withdrawn. The strange thing is, it seems that the public feels that this action is more reprehensible than the legislation which got teachers to this point in the first place.

Like the kids, for many teachers the extra curricular stuff is the best part of their school day. Teachers do not volunteer out of obligation, they volunteer out of a love for the activity they are supporting. Despite the old adage, “those who can do, those who can’t, teach” Schools are packed with incredible people who have achieved great things in their lives. All of them want nothing more than to impart their wisdom, their skills and their experience on their students and extra curricular activities gives them this opportunity. With this said, the withdrawal of volunteer services is not taken lightly and there will be some instances where teachers will continue giving their time, regardless of professional or personal consequence.

So where does this leave us? Well for the short-term, things will be messy and both kids and teachers will be deprived of the opportunity to do what it is they love to do. How long will this last? It could be months, it could be years but one thing is for certain, this has been many years in the making.

Teachers giving their time, is not as simple and straight forward as one might think and before the general public goes straight to taking on a “HOW DARE YOU” position, one needs to understand that there is more to it than a simple temper-tantrum.

Teachers can no longer afford to “donate time”.

As I wrote in a previous post Teachers simply can no longer afford to give away their time. In cities like Vancouver, many teachers (usually the <40 crowd) need to work at least one additional job just to pay the bills. If a teacher is racing off to go to another job after school, they won’t be spending time with your child after school for free.

Should it come to the point where participation in extra curricular activities becomes part of a teachers job description, it would become a significant problem for many, as people’s livelihood would be at stake.

Liability issues are scaring teachers away from giving their time.

We are a litigious bunch nowadays and because of this, many teachers refuse to take on the responsibility of any activity that requires 24/7 supervision. Where common sense and personal responsibility use to be the code by which most extracurricular programs were run, today this expectation is not enough.

We no longer look at our youth as sentient beings, capable of making mistakes of their own doing. Instead if a kid screws up, we immediately start looking for an adult to blame. It is because of this, I will not take any group of kids anywhere that requires me to be “responsible” for them over night.

I have heard stories of coaches taking shifts, standing watch in hotel hallways all night long, to ensure kids are not sneaking out at night. I have been on watch myself until 1 am on occasion because kids could not behave themselves. I have even heard of programs resorting to requiring parents to accompany their child on road trips in an effort to mitigate liability issues for the coaching staff.

Our desire to blame an adult rather than expect our children to behave responsibly, is quickly destroying extracurricular activities all on its own. If a coach cannot have a reasonable expectation that kids are willing and able to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner, then you cannot expect teachers to take on that responsibility.

Pay for participation programs are poaching kids from school activities.

Kids have so many opportunities outside of school, that many simply do not have time for in school activities. We over schedule our children in an effort to enrich their lives but in doing so the “free” programs like those in schools, tend to suffer.

In Canada, many of the best athletes in a school are playing hockey. Depending on the level they are playing, some may try to do both school sports and club hockey but usually school sports are secondary. A kid can only attend one practice or game at a time and it is the free one that will get forsaken.

In the larger centers there are also a myriad of fine arts programs that draw kids away from in school programs and then of course there is the constant drive for academic excellence that send kids to extra studies outside of the school hours.

As a coach this is frequently a HUGE headache as teams may start a season with a full roster but kids will fall away as the season progresses until the team is no longer viable. The result is that, there is not much motivation for a teacher to give up their time for a fruitless cause.

Sometimes thank you just isn’t enough

I have a colleague who takes 6 – 8 kids every year on a hardcore wilderness experience over 10 days, during which he is on 24/7. In addition to this, the responsibility he takes on when he is in the middle of the bush is extraordinary as there is no support. No principal, no parents, no ambulance service, no nothing. He is literally on his own in the wilderness. Of the 240 hours he spends with these kids, only 64 of that might be considered “billable time” but he gets no additional pay, no days in lieu… absolutely nothing other than a thank you

Now that sort of thing would be unheard of in private industry, lets see a lawyer do that for free! I am thinking it would be an absolute “NO!” and the public would accept that but if a teacher says “NO!Ain’t gonna happen”, all hell breaks loose. Teachers are instantly labeled as selfish, greedy, uncaring and money-grubbing. If a teacher even thinks about saying “NO” they are instantly vilified. It just doesn’t add up.

Just like the BC Liberals have said, we need change in our school system and it looks as though the changes the @BClibs want to make will be at expense of the teaching profession and if that is they way they want to go, so be it. If they want to go to a free market system, where teachers are nothing more than a commodity, then teachers will more than likely start treating their time as such. You can’t have it both ways, where teachers are freewheeling with their time all the while the employer is trying their best to short change them at every corner.

Like it or not, the Good old days are gone and we are all going to pay for it in the end.

Side Note

Here is a great Video on what motivates us in the work we do. At about the 4:40 point in the video, pay close attention to what is most important in getting the most out of an employee.


    1. peter

      Great article and video.

      I thought when he said all these people were working for free, he was going to say they’re teachers doing extra- curricular activites!

      But you’re quite right, teachers will start to walk away from extra curricular activities because they’ve ben treated like crap. ( loss of seniority rights, salary, etc)

      1. Post

        Thanks for the comment Peter,

        As the article suggests, teacher volunteering is falling off anyhow but I think we are going to be sent into a tail spin in short order. As the RSA article suggests Money is not everything but you need to pay people enough that money is not an issue. As this

        post suggests in days gone by you got more from teachers because they could afford to give but alas that is no longer the case.

        It is my belief that @bclibs don’t care about the way things were, this is about control of the money, nothing else.

        1. Kristine Olsen

          I agree, Keith. The BClibs know exactly what they’re doing and it isn’t in the best interests of equal access to quality public education for our children.

          Connecting the dots between Bills 27 & 28, 33, 37, 22, and the BC Education Plan clearly leads to a two-tiered society with a trained, uncritical populace who will be easily controlled.

  1. Gary Gnu

    There are consequences to everything in life-happy teachers mean happy schools and happy schools make for happy kids. Happy kids are more likely to do their homework than unhappy kids and get better marks. Happy kids involved in their school getting good marks make for happy parents-thank you to the soon to be passed bill 22 we are going to have unhappy teachers-and unhappy teachers do other things with their time than run plays, teams, choirs, clubs, tutor, etc etc.

    Parents in BC should get used to unhappy schools for a while……

    1. Post

      Thanks for the reply Gary,

      As the RSA video, at the end of the post says. Give people the freedom to create, innovate and collaborate and they will show up for work every day and do some amazing things. Instead of freedom, teachers in BC are being put in chains and led to the stocks.

      Mark my words. @BClibs are intentionally working to DESTROY the public education system in an effort to get out of the education game and hand it over to a for profit system where the rich flourish and the unwashed masses… Well, who cares about them really? They are poor and icky and all. Sub human really.

  2. Jan M.

    Well written and valid comments. Thanks Keith. Too bad the government does not hear what we are saying. I foresee a lot more districts dropping extracurricular activities and working bell-to-bell after Bill 22 is passed.

    1. Post

      Thanks for your reply Jan,

      In short. I think we are in for some very difficult times and when I say “WE” I mean all British Columbian’s who have kids in the school system.

  3. Tanya

    I am as frustrated as every other teacher about what the government is doing, but I don’t think punishing the children is the way to go. What upsets me even more is that the majority of people making the decision to not do extra-curricular activities don’t do extra-curricular activities. They don’t have to answer to the children who ask “Why are teachers doing this if they say they care about children?” The government will not change their position because removing extra-curricular activities doesn’t affect them, but it will change how parents and students view us. I think this is a huge mistake.

    1. Post

      Thanks for your Reply Tanya,

      All valid points but education, along with the role you have as a teacher is about to change so why would your volunteer efforts remain the same? If I am nothing more than a chunk of meat to be bought and sold on the open market, why would I give my employer extra value for nothing in return… Just doesn’t make sense to me?

      In addition, people seem to forget teachers have kids too and so our children will “suffer” too but I would NEVER expect a teacher to give up their valuable time in a system that doesn’t value their profession. I have already made plans to provide athletic opportunities for my children through the local club systems along with a couple community “Artistic” opportunities where the people who provide these services are paid for their efforts.

      Altruism is dead. @bclibs just drove a whopping big stake through it’s heart.


      1. Tanya


        My volunteer efforts will not change because I get a lot in return. What I get isn’t monetary and it doesn’t come from the government or even the parents. It adds a lot to my life and the lives of those I volunteer for. More people in this world should do volunteer work.

        You are correct that this government would like to privatize education and by removing extra curricular activities from our school system we are opening the door to parents sending their kids to private school so they are still eligible for sports scholarships. It is great that you can afford to put your kids into club programs but many of the students who need the outlet that extra curricular activites provide can’t affford programs outside of school.

        When we removed extra curricular activities in 2002, it was a disaster. People who had been friends for years wouldn’t speak to each other and it did nothing to garner public support nor change what the government did. If you fight the same villian with the same ineffective weapons you will not win. Teachers should be smarter and more creative than pulling extra curricular programs. In this chess match we are playing like beginners and the government is playing like Bobby Fischer.

        Altruism will never be dead because there are people in this world who give and find the reward in just doing the work, not in what they can get out of it.


        1. Post

          Thanks again for engaging in this conversation

          I do not disagree that we are playing into the Govt’s hands in their plans to push our public system into some sort of bastardized for profit public/private system but at the same time, I am not anyone’s patsy. My good will is gone and as a parent, I do not blame any teacher for feeling the same.

          As for people continuing to volunteer, I won’t hold it against them. Everyone has their reasons for doing things. If someone is single, doesn’t need to work another job to pay the bills, doesn’t have their own kids to be with, hell why wouldn’t they volunteer?

          I have two great reasons at home not to give my time away to other people’s children for free.

        2. chris stolz

          @Tanya, you have a better idea? The Libs don’t negotiate; they don’t listen, and they don’t care.

          If you are well-rewarded by coaching (or whatever), do it in the community! But parents– and the government– need to know just how much value they get from us. My kids take rock climbing and dance. Comes out to about $15/hour not including equipment, rides etc. If they join after-school dance club at school, I am getting– for free– about $50 worth of quality dance lessons per week. That’s $200 per month or about $1600/year.

          Damn good value if you ask me. Work-to-rule will show parents and the government what a deal they get.


  4. Cindy B

    Tonight on the news George Abbott said that if teachers refuse to do extra-curricular activities that the slack should be taken up by parents and other volunteers from the community. How out of touch with reality is THAT comment??

    1. Post

      Thanks for the reply Cindy!

      I have to say that good old George is a wee bit out of touch. He reminds me of my eldest brother, stuck in the 1950’s where every family is like the Cleavers and Gosh golly! everything will be just spiffy if we all pitch in together and make this new Orwellian school system work!

      Actually, George is probably mystified why were are giving away our time for free in the first place? He is a free enterprise guy, they don’t understand that kinda thing.

      Wish I had better news there Cindy but I think we are screwed.


  5. Chris L.

    I’m a teacher who organized a Saturday tournament. (not a parent) At the end I thanked the volunteers. This is an email I recieved back from a parent:

    ” It was suggested to us that “we appreciative the volunteers as they are giving up there Saturday”. As a volunteer coach and organizer I have never felt as if I was  “giving up” my time. It has always been my privilege to donate my time to activities I enjoy and wish to share with young and old alike. I would suggest that anyone who feels obligated to  “give up” their time should reconsider their commitment.”

    Do today’s parents, like their kids, have a greater sense of ENTITLEMENT?

    Do today’s parents expect teachers to donate our time for the ‘love of volunteerism’.

    Do today’s parents question my commitment based on my volunteerism? Halloween Parties, Christmans Concerts, Valintine’s Parties, SpringFling Fieldtrips.

    I do wonder what will I give up under this new contract. What will ‘Teaching Light’? Look like? The first thing I plan to give up is answering all those emails.

    Thank you for making me think.


    1. Post

      Thanks for your comment Chris,

      Volunteerism is a funny thing. That parent is correct in that someone shouldn’t be volunteering with the expectation of a little appreciation at the end but it IS part of the dance. If Volunteering is expected as part of ones role in society, then it ceases to be volunteering and it becomes a service.

      Like I said in the comment to Tanya. The job has changed and is being changed even further by Bill 22 so how can we be expected to continue to do our job the same, ESPECIALLY when it comes to using our own personal time.

      I will no longer be business as usual because the job is no longer the same.

  6. Ben S.

    Some valid points you raise. I was particularly interested in the point about needing to get a second job. I’ve been thinking I’ll need to do that soon as teaching (even at level 6 pay) is not enough.

    I’m not sure about teachers now being told to only work bell to bell or to withdraw extra curricular services. I’ve yet to hear anything concrete from the union and I doubt I will. If such a directive is given, it could be construed as job action, which will be illegal by tomorrow when Bill 22 passes. I’d be surprised if anything top down and province wide is announced. More likely to be ‘word of mouth’.

    Here’s the dilemma that I have been wrestling with. If the extra curricular stuff like coaching (which I do) is not part of my job, which I think both the union and gov’t would agree on, and is in fact voluntary, what right does the union (or the gov’t) have to tell me (or any other teacher) what to do or not do with my volunteer time. I’m all for the union having a say in my job conditions, workload, pay, etc…, and to organizing ‘job action’ to fight for those things, but I am much less conformable with the idea that they can tell me what I can or can’t do in my free time. It seems that I should have the right to volunteer my time in the ways I choose.

    Any thoughts?

    I understand that there will be many who say “but this is (one of) the only thing(s) left for teachers to do’ to fight Bill 22 and I don’t dispute that. I’m merely pointing out that volunteer time is personal time, not professional time, and that we as individuals must be careful how much we allow our professional worlds to impact our personal lives.

    1. Post

      Thanks for the reply Ben… VERY VERY GOOD POINT

      When you think of it, no one should be telling anyone what to do with their free time and if they do and are successful we are in a very dark place and I would agree with you on this point.

      What I want to get across is a couple things

      Point 1: Once there is an expectation that someone will “volunteer” their time, it isn’t really volunteering. In the case of teaching, it is so ingrained into what it is to be a teacher that you could argue that it has become part of the job. All anyone needs to do is see the reaction of people when teachers threaten to withdraw their own time. The public goes berserk. It is a unpaid part of the job.

      Point 2: My second point is that our employer has changed the job. Once Bill 22 goes through it will no longer be a profession that promotes and values volunteerism. We will become nothing more than a commodity. Our time is valuable, so lets start treating it as such. Ultimately, it is up too the individual. If they can afford to give away this time, then so be it


  7. Doug

    First of all, I want to congratulate Keith for a well thought out article. I fully support the teachers position.

    I’ve also appreciated the discussion that has taken place after the article. I believe that cutting out extracurricular activities is the next logical step in the process (at least it will provide some irate parents that teachers can talk to face to face and explain the rational behind the action).

    I was particularly taken with Ben S’s comment. I think he should forward it to his local executive and also to Susan Lambert. I think he deserves an answer. The quote:

    “Here’s the dilemma that I have been wrestling with. If the extra curricular stuff like coaching (which I do) is not part of my job, which I think both the union and gov’t would agree on, and is in fact voluntary, what right does the union (or the gov’t) have to tell me (or any other teacher) what to do or not do with my volunteer time. I’m all for the union having a say in my job conditions, workload, pay, etc…, and to organizing ‘job action’ to fight for those things, but I am much less conformable with the idea that they can tell me what I can or can’t do in my free time. It seems that I should have the right to volunteer my time in the ways I choose.”

    1. matelo

      Well, I would do what I do. I coach in the community. I tell kids they can play community-based volleyball. You don’t have to deal with school board forms, lawyers, bureaucracy, etc. You decide what time the practice is held and where. Granted the students will have to pay a fee to participate ( to pay for the use of the gym, etc), but take control of your life and your volunteering. In this way it has nothing to do with your job. The same way soccer had nothing to do my volunteer soccer coach’s ( who was a plumber) job. Many music specialists have discovered that by making their choir or ukulele group a community group that they are eligible for grants, don’t have to seek board permission to go on trips. Try it, you’ll like it. It has worked for years for baseball and lacrosse.

    2. Post

      Hey Doug thanks for the comment,

      Yes, that point about what govt or union are telling you to do is sticky.

      As my post suggests volunteering in schools is going to die a natural death no matter what happens at this point.

  8. Don

    Your right Ben that I am not going to tell you what to do in your spare time but you might want to read a few articles about whats happened in the USA over the last five years. Teachers continuing contracts ripped up, test scores used to fire, extending school day and much more. THink it won’t happen here ? Read todays sun

    I have coached sports for 16 years I have been a teacher. I stop now. Gov’t wants to evaluate me and stuff more kids in my class , then that takes more energy and time to get through the day. I have two young kids of my own that will respect me and my time. Good point was made up above about students commitment to school sports.We recently had three students who refused to participate in gym class cause they had an important hockey game that night.

    1. Ben S.

      I too am terrified that we are starting to follow the failing model of the US, with its over emphasis on test scores, constant demand for accountability and extreme scrutiny of teachers. It does not work (as evidenced by students’ achievement). Certainly some accountability is needed, but to a point. And I wish folks like that SFU econ. prof from the Sun article would get it through their heads that you CANNOT effectively measure the impact of a teacher on their students (ie. merit) that is fair and accurate. Teaching and learning is much too complex, and cannot be measured in a simple numeric fashion, one that could be used to evaluate teachers or determine their compensation. Why do people not look to Finland, generally credited as being one of the best systems in the world year after year, for ideas of how to improve the system?

      I actually didn’t finish my thoughts about my dilemma (thought my post was getting too long!) but I think you have responded to it in exactly the way it will have to be done. I don’t think the gov’t or the union can tell any of us teachers what to do with our volunteer time, but I do think that we each need to decide on our own whether or not to continue giving of ourselves as we have. This decision will be very difficult for some, but I think we each need to make it while keeping the following in mind: 1) Is your volunteering at school still worth your time, given everything that has happened since last summer?, 2) What good, if any, will come from continuing or withdrawing volunteering that occurs in schools?, 3) What effect will my decision have on my colleagues and the state of public education as a whole?, and finally 4) What effect will my decision have on perpetuating the public perception that this volunteering is part of our job? As Keith (krispin) correctly said, there is a public perception that coaching and so on is part of the job.

      I don’t have the answers to all these questions, and I don’t think anyone does or even can. The only one that can be answered definitively is the first one and that answer is different for everyone. Don, even if the union came out tomorrow and said “Coaching etc.. should continue as usual”, would you still coach? Maybe, but I doubt it, because it is your personal choice and you’ve decided, given all available information, that you aren’t going to do it anymore. (Props, by the way, for coaching that long with a family. I do it with no dependants and I barely make it through the day!)

      I think a real important thing is that when we each decide what we are going to do, that we are honest with anyone who asks (colleagues or the public) about why we’ve made our decision. I think you should say exactly what you said here about having more kids in your classes to worry about and about not feeling valued anymore. I think we should also respect that others will not feel the same way, as Keith said, and accept each individual’s choice. In truth, this last thought is my greatest worry and I believe is why the withdrawal of extra curriculars (apart from the dilemma I pointed out earlier) was not done earlier in this dispute. It’s the divisiveness that is going to be the most difficult part of all this (if it plays out the way I think it will). As a teacher that cares a lot about schools, I hope things change.

      1. Post

        Wow Ben you are tearing it up here! Thanks…

        I will just comment on your Finland statement as it is part of a reoccurring theme in the current situation.

        If you follow any of the discussion about what works in other places or what research shows works in a public education system, it is summarily dismissed by the powers that be. They will not even acknowledge there there is any merit in pursuing these ideas or methods. The usual refrain coming from the @bclib camps is that… “Well we are not Finland” or “we want to do it better that what that study has shown”. Even if the evidence stacks up squarely in opposition to what they want to do is is simply ignored and at this moment buried under a barrage of “they want 15%” sound bites.

        We are not fighting against reasonable people here. We are fighting against a group of people who have a calculated plan that is hell bent on destroying public education. Unfortunately, I am afraid we have gotten to the point where the only way to show the public how bad this plan is, will be to let it happen.

  9. Jaelle

    I am a teacher. To be honest, I am confused by this “bell to bell” approach suggested by my union. Whenever the public complains that “Teachers sure get paid a lot for 5 hours of work”, all the teachers write in and say “We are professionals who work a lot more than 5 hours a day”. That is true. Teachers work long hours on things that are not extra-curricular. If teachers don’t want to do extra-curricular, that’s fine, but my union telling me that I must only work “bell to bell” as a form of protest is ridiculous. I am a professional, and I intend to work at my job until it is done. It’s not an hourly thing. Sure, I might not feel like coaching something, but I will not take it lightly if my union tries to force me to leave at 2:45 because that is all we are “contractually required”. Actually, I am contractually required to do my job. All of it! That means marking, planning, communicating with parents, and communicating with staff. The personal autonomy afforded teachers is part of what I like about this job. Usually, if I leave at 2:45 any day of the week as part of that autonomy, then it is expected that the job will get done somewhere else, whether that’s marking at home, coming in earlier, or staying later another day. I prefer to do all of my work at school, stay until about 5-5:30 most nights, and then do a bit of extra work on weekends. Sure, I’ll try to tighten that up to about 40 hours a week, but I just don’t see how “bell to bell” is doing anyone any favours. Do you really think George Abbott is going to see that I went home to do my marking instead of staying at school? Everyone will be forced to take all of their work home every day, and the public will see empty parking lots and conclude that yes, we are, in fact, grossly over-paid for what we do. Besides, some lessons take longer than 15 minutes to set up. I’m not going to stop teaching engaging lessons because I’m not allowed to come in more than 15 minutes before the bell. I don’t even have a table at home big enough to lay out chart paper. I feel totally trapped between a tyrannical government and a useless union. God help us.

    1. Post

      Hey Jaelle, thanks for your comment.

      I would suggest to you that “bell to bell” is more of a tag line then a directive. We all know that our job requires FAR more then 8:30 – 3:00. To expect that a teacher could do this is WAAAAAY out of whack with reality.

      In essence, “bell to bell” is ONLY doing what is required to do the work you do in front of the kids, anything beyond that is “volunteer”

      I would suggest continue doing what it is you need to do to be the teacher you want and need to be in front of the kids. Beyond that, choose what you do for the school carefully. Don’t just give away your time for free.

      Remember “Thank you” does not put food on the table.

      1. Jaelle

        I agree, Keith, except we have had several of these literal “bell to bell” days where we have been directed to leave the school at 2:45pm as a form of protest. It’s unsustainable and will only hurt ourselves. I hope it doesn’t become a long-term strategy. Part of what the BCTF rejects in Bill 22 is diminished teacher autonomy. It’s a little hypocritical of the union to then turn around and dictate when teachers should be at school.

        1. Post

          Yes well Ben S made an outstanding point in a previous comment. We are getting told by too many people what to do but in many ways this is what the @BClibs want. Divide and conquer as it were. Some school districts are going hard line where as ours seems to be taking a little more moderate stance about where and when you have to be in and out of the school.

          As I said in my first response to you. It is your job, so do what you need to do to ensure your time in front of the kids is the best it can be.

        2. Helen

          Hi Jaelle and Keith

          First, our District rep. told us to stay as long as we like to plan, prep and mark for our daily work in the classroom. So I stayed until 7:30pm on Friday and so did many others in my school. No one complained or said anything. I will continue to do this after Bill 22. For students who I help after school, I will be writing to their parents to explain why I will cease after school study sessions. Hopefully, they will understand.

          Secondly, thank you Keith for bringing on a great discussion with so many excellent points. I agree that our Liberal govt. would like to see BC becoming a two tier system (in both education and healthcare), it is better bang for their buck after all! Currently, independent schools and private schools do provide a lot of extra-curricular opportunities (not for free as we know, but the general public do not see it that way). I am weary to think the general public may feel Public School Teachers are not doing enough and don’t care enough. They will not see the big picture; therefore, those who can afford to may jump ship and enrol their children into Private/Independent schools. In 2005, our District did lose many students to the Private system as a result of the illegal strike. In this job action, will we be helping the Liberals by making their “dreams come true?”

          1. Post

            Thanks for your comment Helen,

            The jump to private will certainly increase after this year and as you said, this is what the Liberals want but at the same time, when does our free labour stop. I am no Mother Teresa. I like my job and I enjoy what I do but my time with my own kids is more important then that which I spend with other people’s children.

            I enraged a Trustee a number of years ago with that “my kids are more important than yours” statement and it was at that very moment, I realized that teachers rate only slightly above indentured servant in the eyes of many.

            Yes I like my job and sometimes I even love my job but it is just that, a job and I will treat it as such.

  10. Allan

    I have been a teacher for nearly thirty years. I use extra-curricular activities to reward my students. If they have kept up with their work, and displayed appropriate behaviour over a specific period of time, students are welcome to join me for floor hockey, chess, cards, or other enjoyable activities. I have been able to build up an excellent rapport with countless students over the years. Taking away these special group experiences will result in most students not enjoying school as much. Some students will not work as hard in class, or put much effort into completing their homework. Attitude and behaviour issues will become more common. If I do not provide the extra-curricular “rewards” my students and I will suffer.
    It is easy for staff members who never do extra-curricular activities to continue not doing extra-curricular activities. It is more difficult for others, like me, to stop.

    1. Post

      No argument from me Allan and there are a lot of people there with you on that but I think you can differentiate between those little everyday things you do to make your job easier an those things that are outside of the regular school day. This is not to say what you are doing isn’t as important, it is crucial but it is within the scope of your job.

      I think the volunteering your time issue is more around those late days that run into the evening where people are giving up their valuable time for the benefit of others all the while sacrificing their own family time or financial opportunities.

  11. James

    I think it’s important to recognize the amount of pressure we can apply by withdrawing this volunteer service. BC School Sports is an industry built on the backs of teachers’ free labour. If BC School Sports is ground to a halt, the government will hear about it! The impact of it would be far-reaching. I’d suggest that those coaches like myself that will miss coaching at school explore the community sports opportunities, the Rec Centre, or volunteer at their kids’ schools as a “parent volunteer”.

    I have coached at the middle and high school levels for 13 of my 15 teaching years, taking time off only to work on my Masters and while my kids were new-born. I really enjoy it and will miss it, but look forward to new opportunities working with the community sports organizations. I mailed my whistle to my local MLA along with a note explaining that due to his party’s actions I would no longer be needing it… That the “good will” the my employer relied upon for many services within schools to get done was all gone… That people will treat you the way you allow them to treat you, and that I was not going to take this kind of treatment any more!!

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      Thanks for the comment James,

      This issue is obviously one that is brewing and will continue to grow for a while. I think we will still see individuals still coaching in schools but the “good will” of the majority is quickly waning.

      I too quit coaching when my kids came, one because I Wanted to be around and two I wanted to be involved as much as I could in the early years. As my kids reach teen hood I have been dabbling in volunteering again but I always keep the advice one of my Prof’s game all those years back.

      “NEVER put your school and other people’s children before your own. There is a reason why divorce rates in the teaching profession are so high, so don’t be a statistic. Put your family first”

      and that is what I have done.

  12. Jaelle

    I don’t think coaching in the community can be considered an equal to coaching within the already established community where you teach. The more time you spend with the kids at your school, the better the relationships that develop. The reason I volunteer my time at school is because it has a direct impact on my teaching in the classroom. Those kids who might not normally respect my class work a lot harder when they they remember I was their track and field coach last year and will be so again this year. There is a reason that private schools require teachers to do two of three terms of extracurricular. They know it builds into the school community. To be honest, I feel like that should be our model. Everyone does one term of extracurricular, but it is paid. It is these extra ways for parents and students to connect to the school community that makes it a great place to come to. Fun night, Christmas concerts, and basketball games are all places for the community to gather and celebrate and it highlights our multiple intelligences. It also builds a neighbourhood and gathers up some of those families who might otherwise fall through the cracks. Removing all of that is not what I want for Canada, honestly. Public schools get people out of their own private circles of friends and forces people to rub shoulders with other people they might not otherwise associate with. That is part of what helps us care about each other as fellow citizens. We are already too divided. If anything, I think schools are under-utilized by the community. There should be activity going on at public schools every day of the week (and it doesn’t have to be run by teachers). That would do more to prevent crime, etc than 1000 more “tough laws”.

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  13. John Ryan

    I think that we need to remember that even if we are no longer volunteering at school, that doesn’t mean that we stop volunteering. Last year, I was a volunteer assistant coach for my son’s Tball team and I am going to be continuing that again this year. In Se[ptember I became a Beaver Scout leader for my son’s colony.

    I have decided that with the adoption of Bill 22 that I can no longer give my time to an employer who has shown contempt for my chosen career and I have suspended my Reach for the Top team. We have been left with very few ways to fight for a fair, living wage in one of the most expensive places to live in Canada. The government holds the legislative hammer and now they have decided to also use a “mediator” that just happens to share all of their views. Funny that must just be a coincidence.

    I can no longer go against my economic interests and continue to try and prop up a system that is being attacked by a right wing party.

    Each teacher must make their own choice. My problem is when I hear “teachers” say that they only got into teaching to coach. You don’t have to be a teacher to coach in the public education system. I got into teaching because I enjoy the topic I teach, chemistry, and I enjoy the look on a student’s face when they “get it”. The coaching and sponsoring of activities is the bonus on my job, not my focus.

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