Back to School is Not the Same This Year

This year, the phrase ‘Back to School’ is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

This year, there will be no explicit joy in purchasing crisp, clean notebooks, unsharpened pencils, and fresh-smelling lunch boxes.

No, this year I get to tell my daughter, with a certain uncertainty, that we have no idea when she’ll be going back to school. And no amount of whining or protests of missing her teachers and classmates will change that.

My daughter's first day of school, 2013
My daughter’s first day of school, 2013

With the BC Government still in negotiations with the teachers, the first day of school is being prolonged – but to when?

Every trip to our local playground lately is filled with parents sharing rumours of when the first day of school will be – some claim October, some quietly declare it will likely be December before we get to go back to school.

And the Government’s bribe of $40 per day subsidy for childcare has further soured our perception of how these discussions will go.

If the BC Government can afford to give $40 per day to each child while school is not in session, why not do the same but give it to the teachers and schools instead?

There are approximately 22 children in my daughter’s third grade class, if each child would receive $40 per day for the allotted child care, that’s $880 per day for just that one class. That’s $4,400 for one week for only one classroom.

If the BC Government can afford that, they can certainly afford to raise teachers’ wages to an acceptable number, one that’s not laughed at by teachers’ from other provinces.

To put it in simple perspective, our province has the highest cost of living, yet teachers have the lowest salaries in the country.

I know the discussions are not just about money, it’s also about the quality of our schools and our classrooms, as well as resources for teachers.

But in the midst of all these arguments, it seems the children have become an afterthought.

As parents wait in trepidation, anxiously trying to secure childcare and day camps for their children during the BC Teachers’ Strike, the kids are lost in the fray.

The excitement of starting a new school year has been stolen from our kids. The dream of hearing the bell ring for the first time in ages, new sneakers running into the line-ups with friends, old and new, and sitting down at their desks pulling out labelled pencil cases and rulers – it’s all lost.

Disappointment, anxiety and sad faces – that’s what Back to School has become for the parents in BC.

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10 thoughts on “Back to School is Not the Same This Year

  1. Ugh. So the WORST. My husband is a teacher, and the uncertainty is so frustrating. And so is the kids being used as pawns by both sides. I hope it resolves soon, with a more permanent solution!

  2. The way the kids are being used in this conflict is horrifying to me. I don’t understand why teachers aren’t made an essential service and thus not allowed to strike? There are better, more effective and less damaging ways to deal with conflict, and both sides would benefit from learning that. These same old tired and ineffective tactics are only hurting the kids that they claim to be fighting for. My dude is horribly upset about this and he just cannot figure out why they can’t get their acts together and figure this out.

    1. It definitely makes sense to not allow them to strike, however there’s so much more to this strike. I think the government needs to listen to both teachers and parents to get this done 🙂