I couldn't help it. . .

In the 1980's teachers, nurses, and MLA's all were basically paid the same. Teachers are now severely behind what nurses and MLA's make in SK. We took a number of contracts for 0-0-1, because the government told us times were hard and that they would make up for it in the next contract. That never happened.

 Everyone keeps comparing teaching to other professions and I don’t think you can't begin to compare the details of one profession to another in terms of duties. I think the reason why many teachers are comparing themselves to nurses is because we have a comparable education with them.  Nurses and teachers both work for the government and therefore comparisons are made between government employee’s salaries. I don't think you can compare wages of government employees to those in the private sector.

There are thousands of amazing teachers out there.  Yet, somehow, people think that teachers, as a whole, shouldn't get a raise because they say there are a few crappy ones.  I value what nurses do.  I could not do what they do.  This became clear to me when we had Tripp in the hospital.  When we were saying our final good-bye to Tripp there was a nurse assigned to him.  Just thinking about her is bringing me to tears.  I cannot put into words what she did for Tripp and what she did for us.  As special as this nurse was, I know that there are many more like her.  The thing is, there are some not so good nurses, as well.  We also experienced that when we had Tripp in NICU.  When the nurses negotiated for their contract, you wouldn't hear me say, "some deserve a raise and some don't”.  Nurses are part of a union and that is how unions work.  All for one.  I think Tripp’s night nurse deserves more that what she is currently being paid.  If she asked for more, I would agree in spite of the not so great nurse we had (Newman!). 

 There are also people out there saying that only the teachers who make the extra effort should get the 12%.  Putting in 100’s of hours of extra-curr doesn't make you a good teacher.  A good coach and a good teacher are different (but often times the same person).  I am a teacher first. I want to be valued for teaching.  How can you begin to decide whom the good teachers are to give the raise to?

 The more I think about it the more I realize how the public wants to view the 12% we are asking in terms of extra-curr. What about 12% for the things I do in my classroom. Over the last 10 years, the government has asked us to do more in our classroom than ever before, yet they aren’t compensating us for the extra things they have asked us to do.  The job description has changed, yet the pay hasn’t.  I want to be recognized for the effort I make to teach to a diverse group of learners in multiple ways, the effort I make to customize programs for students who need particular attention, the effort I make to learn about innovative ways to teach the ever-changing curriculum, the effort it takes to manage 35 students in one room and the effort it takes to incorporating technology into my class. I also want to be compensated for the time I put in outside my class to make the learning environment the best I can for my students and the time I put in contacting parents because I have concerns or reasons to applaud their child. 
My job is hard and in ways that I don't think most people see.

I currently work with one of my former high school teachers. I thought she was okay when she taught me. She didn't teach a subject I liked, so probably the fact that I thought she was okay was actually quite an accomplishment for her! (Especially considering what she had to work with!) When I started working with her, I couldn't believe the effort I saw her put in outside of her classroom planning and preparing for her students. She is continually trying new things to better serve her students. I was honestly shocked. I had been in her class. I knew what she was like as a teacher. I could not believe the amount of work it took her to do it. I started teaching with her in my 5th year of teaching and it was a complete eye opener for me. She is retiring this year and spent a good part of last summer and Christmas making new units that she thought would help to further engage her students. She is an amazing teacher, but I didn't know how amazing until I started seeing what she did behind closed doors. Many people think they know what teachers do because they went to school.  I didn’t.
I keep hearing people say, “you don’t see me getting a raise”, and “why should teachers get 12% when I’m not.”  To those people, I say fight for what you believe is right.  I believe I deserve more and I am going to fight for it.  I wish the government had come to the table with more and that I didn’t feel forced to vote for sanctions in order to be heard, but that's just how it is.  If you think you are worth more and don’t feel valued, stand up for what you believe.  I am.

Here are some of the blogs I have been reading, Star Phoenix, Shauna Foster C95, Because No One Asked.

Here is an article in support of teachers from the NY Times.


  1. I'm very glad you wrote this.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Well written, Jordan! I totally agree that our students and their parents have little understanding of the extra hours that most teachers put into their jobs. I too, want to feel valued for the job I do.

  4. really good commentary jordan!

  5. Loved this post... you said what I wanted to... just much more eloquently. Well done!


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