About children taken by teachers

With the education strike looming, we are hearing more and more comments that teachers are holding children hostage. As someone who has been working in education for over thirty years, I can no longer stand this accusation! If there are people who have often defended children in our society, they are the teachers!

How many teachers, throughout their careers, have fed hungry students or provided free school supplies? How many teachers pay for the equipment or furniture used by the students themselves? How many teachers participate in Christmas basket activities in their school community? How many teachers do not count their hours helping, listening or comforting the young people entrusted to them? How many teachers also experience violence from parents and students to the point of leaving the profession or feeling anxiety on Sunday evening when they think about returning to class on Monday morning? And these are the same teachers who would take young people hostage today? You have to be cheeky or ignorant of school reality to affirm this enormity.

I spent most of my career calling for a dysfunctional school system to ensure a better quality of education for our young people and I understood that the ones who hurt them the most are not the teachers when they call for better working conditions but all these technocrats, these paper pushers. , these unworthy parents and these politicians eager to be re-elected who have brought our school system to the brink.

Recent examples

When, across Quebec, in 2019, teachers said we would suffer from a teacher shortage that would harm young people’s learning, how did the CAQ respond? That we were facing a phenomenon of regional scarcity and that she was actively working to solve this problem. Today, three months after the start of the school year, in our schools, it is not surprising that young people still do not have a French or mathematics teacher…

When Quebec students were finally able to return to school in September 2022 after months of compromised learning due to limitations linked to the covid 19 pandemic, what additional measures did Minister Roberge put in place to move forward to help our young people? none We can easily think that the latter had already practically abandoned his position as a minister and was working more to ensure his re-election than the success of our young people. In September 2023, what has Minister Drainville planned for our young people affected by the pandemic? Nothing. Again. Who has worked since then to try to get young people up to speed academically? These famous hostage takers…

When nearly 7,000 teachers, from a spontaneous and non-union initiative, asked the Minister of Education to have two marks instead of three a year to focus more on teaching than on assessment, what did the latter respond to these education professionals? Nothing. We are close to contempt.

meinconsistencies or lies?

Today, while they are paid less than the Canadian average of their peers, we tell Quebec teachers that they need to understand that La Belle Province’s finances are tight. However, that didn’t stop the Legault government from making elected representatives in the National Assembly Canada’s highest paid provincial MPs with a 30% pay raise while making offers to education staff that didn’t even respect the cost of living . This same government has also generously handed out tax and school fee cuts – cuts that benefit the wealthiest – in a political desire to please Quebec voters and get re-elected.

If we were cynical, we might think that Mr. Legault’s system consists of buying votes using the salaries of his own employees. The time has come for the population, especially those who cannot afford private clinics or schools, to realize that this is a bargain. It is she who sees the services she uses increasingly threatened and ineffective. What good are tax cuts if there is no one to teach our young people to take care of us?

Currently, teachers – at least those who have not resigned or early retired – are on strike because they can no longer support a system that does not recognize their true value. They strike and shout their anger, not for the pleasure of holding young people hostage, but because someone has to stand up for government services that are collapsing everywhere. And, as we have seen, it is certainly not some of our politicians who are concerned about this reality.

Luc Papineau, teacher

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