I have stayed silent long enough. There is a danger in silence. A danger I am not willing to ignore. A danger I am not willing to allow the future children of British Columbia, my province, my country to endure any longer. Maybe I am misinformed and the plans for public education in British Columbia are bright, fruitful, and beneficial for all. But from the ground, things don’t seem this way. I’ve been teaching in public education in British Columbia for only four years. Yet, every year my job gets a little bit harder and every year I cry a little bit more for my students … because I know what would help them be successful, but I, the school, the district .. we can’t give it for the well is dry. There isn’t enough. I’m not placing blame anywhere. I’m not here to talk about politics. I’m not here to defend either side. I’m here to tell my truth, for I can’t stay silent any longer.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends”
– (Martin Luther King Jr., 1968).
I was born to be a teacher.
I can’t imagine any other profession that would be as fulfilling or as meaningful to me. Prior to being a teacher my friends referred to me as the “professional student” because I had a hard time submitting my first undergraduate graduation request. I couldn’t (can’t) get enough learning. It only made sense for me to pursue teaching, for it is a career that focuses around gathering and understanding new knowledge. I have been ravenous in my pursuit of this career. It’s as if I can’t get enough. I sign up for every after school/weekend/vacation professional development workshop I can and can afford. I find pleasure in decoding how each unique child learns, what makes them tick, what inspires them, and what drives them to be successful. I love collaborating with my team on what makes a child behave a certain way and what we can do as the adults to help this child succeed and lead a successful life inside and outside of school.
I was born to be a teacher.
I have found myself in this current situation deeply rethinking my career decision. Since entering the field I have been shocked by the amount of teacher belittling in Canada. I pour my heart and soul into my job and it’s hurtful to be treated the way we are often treated. I am often shocked by the way the people speak to us and of us, as if I didn’t care deeply about their children. It breaks my heart that they can’t (won’t) see that I care so deeply about their children that I spend my nights sleepless thinking about them and what I need to do next to encourage their success. I often rethink every word and action I said or performed. I worry I didn’t do enough, say enough, BE enough. With time I have learned to let the negative comments slide off my back like hot water. I ponder them tearfully and rethink my words and actions to ensure that they fit with my moral compass.
Any sane person would leave this career, regardless, I choose teaching.
I was BORN to be a teacher.
I won’t let the situation or the way people treat me drive me away from it.
This summer in British Columbia I have rethought my career choice many times. I have decided that I am a teacher through and through. Yet, I don’t have to remain a teacher in British Columbia. I have a choice. In my short four year career here I have been beaten down many times. This summer, after only being a B.C. teacher for four years, I am feeling deflated, demoralized, and worthless. Yet, I am still standing. WE are still standing.
I am currently standing up with many other public teachers in British Columbia for the democratic right of my students. My students, our children deserve better. I certainly intend to take a stand for the rights of children in B.C. while I have the chance.