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Will Saskatchewan teachers strike?

April 23, 2011

Update:  We seem to have one person making a lot of comments under a variety of names and personas which is dishonest and annoying.  I’m going to leave the comments in place but label those that come from the same ip address.

Does anyone know if Saskatchewan teachers are planning to strike?  I thought for sure that someone would have leaked some tiny bit of news onto a blog but, if they have, I can’t find it.

We received a letter on Thursday from George Rathwell, Saskatoon Public School District Director of Education.  The main purpose seemed to be to inform parents that there might be a strike.  I guess that this is for all of those people who don’t read, watch, or listen to the news.  He listed five principles that the SPSD will be “guided by”.  I had to laugh at #5 — “The security of the school building is required.”  I’m certain that can be translated as “if there is a strike, we’re locking all of the doors.”  Yep.  If the teachers aren’t working, they aren’t getting in the building.

I really hope that there isn’t a strike.  If there is one, I may have a hard time convincing at least one of my kids to go back to school.  She wants to stay home and spend the days reading in between science experiments.

The letter concludes by thanking us for our cooperation.  What does that mean?  Do we have a choice?  I guess that I could confront the teachers directly but I suspect that I wouldn’t get a good response.  Can you imagine me telling the teachers “If you want a 12% raise this year, you should give up your defined benefit pension plan and switch to a defined contribution plan with full vesting at age 60.”?  Not going to happen.

One final question:  Will we get any warning or will we show up at school one morning and find locked doors?

421 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2011 11:51 pm

    Will there be a strike? Yes, because one of the unions has to set the stage for a general strike.

    It needs to happen before the end of the school year though, otherwise there are other things that teachers would like to be doing rather than picketing.

    Will you get notice? Likely on the radio the morning it happens.

  2. Michele permalink*
    April 25, 2011 7:45 am

    It’s a good thing that I listen to CKOM every morning.

    Hmmm … maybe I should set up an old-fashioned phone tree to spread the word to parents.

  3. April 25, 2011 4:41 pm

    I don’t know about a tree phone, but a facebook page or twitter account would do.

    🙂

  4. Michele permalink*
    April 25, 2011 7:51 pm

    I can probably get phone numbers easier than e-mail addresses. Hard to believe in 2011 but it’s true.

  5. Megan permalink
    April 25, 2011 8:54 pm

    Well, they say they will give 48 hours notice before any action…

  6. Michele permalink*
    April 25, 2011 10:23 pm

    If they picket the schools, can I picket them?

  7. saskteacher permalink
    April 26, 2011 12:26 pm

    Michele,

    Feel free to picket us. As s parent of a child who loves Science and reading I would think you would value the work teachers have done with your child, seeing as she has an interest in these areas. I encourage you to research into the reasons why teachers have been forced to consider a strike before you make your postings. If you ask any teacher, they will tell you they do not want to strike. We love our job, we have a vested interest in our students and we know striking will effect our students and the relationships we have with the parents of our students and our community.

    I am at school int he mornings an hour before class begins to prepare for the day so my students can learn from interactive materials, technology, and interesting activities that inspire kids to learn. I am also at the school until at least 4:30 every day. I give up my lunch hours to work with struggling students, to meet with parents, or to meet with colleagues regarding planning for student learning. I coach track and volleyball and run family fun nights. The government has asked me to include students with learning disabilities and down syndrome and extreme behaviour disorders or mental illnesses in my classroom and has asked me to seek training outside of school hours in order to learn how to do so (which I am happy to do as I feel including all students in education is extremely important). The government is asking us to increase our responsibilities and roles however they are not paying us any more to do it, and it means working extra hours in the day to ensure I am doing it correctly and efficiently. We are not asking for a lot, just to be compensated to the degree that our neighboring provinces are compensated for the same job. I have a masters degree and am considered to be specialized in my field and am currently making less than $55K a year. I cannot even be approved for a mortgage to own my own home. We are the fastest growing province in the nation and are not being compensated accordingly.

    I would ask you as well to consider researching our pension plans. If you had you would notice that our pension is depleting and teachers have recently received a letter in the mail explaining changes to the plan which will definitely not be in our favor.

    I respect your opinions, but ask that you please post with respect to our position as well and make sure you know your facts before making statements as you have just made. We do not want to strike, we have been put in this position because of a government who has failed to listen to our needs year after year.

    For the sake of your children, I hope we do compensate teachers for what they are worth or we will see a steady decline of QUALIFIED, educated teachers willing to join the profession. Pretty soon individuals with the intelligence and desire to stick through a university program will chose to educate themselves in an alternate field because they just can’t afford to be teachers.

  8. Michele permalink*
    April 26, 2011 2:46 pm

    My daughter’s interests are because of my influence.

    I do value teachers. I’ve had many great teachers as have my children. However, I disagree that teachers need a 12% raise and I don’t think that a strike will do any good for anyone.

    I’m curious. Do you really think that it is extraordinary to work from 8:00 to 4:30? That’s a normal 40-hour work week. And do you really think that $55,000 per year is a low salary?

  9. Michele permalink*
    April 26, 2011 2:47 pm

    Obviously, I don’t know the details but I would hazard a guess that the pension fund might be depleting BECAUSE it is a defined benefit plan. That is happening to almost all pension plans because they are structured like pyramid schemes.

    • janice permalink
      May 26, 2011 4:30 pm

      you are so right Michele, glad someone else is speeking out also

  10. julie permalink
    April 26, 2011 4:22 pm

    If you people would listen to the news and read the papers you would know that we are giving 48 hours notice it we do strike. We are the lowest paid teachers in Canada and need justice!

    • Michele permalink*
      April 26, 2011 10:49 pm

      People like me do listen to the news. However, people unlike me* do not so there will be a lot of surprised parents if the teachers do strike.

      * According to Darren Hill, there are people who don’t even know that a federal election is currently underway.

    • janice permalink
      May 26, 2011 4:32 pm

      saskatchewan has the lowest coast of living. maybe we should all strike, just a thought but what if all doctors went on strike would you be upset

  11. saskteacher permalink
    April 26, 2011 4:26 pm

    for someone with a masters degree, yes $55K is very low.
    in previous years we have received 0% raises, or two percent which is MUCH lower than any occupation nationwide (professional occupation, I’m not talking about sales clerks or waitresses). The government would love to make us look like the bad guys for asking for 12% all at once, however had they kept up with inflation and cost of living in the previous years we might only be asking for 2%.
    an no, I do not think it is unusual to work from 8-4:30, however I do think it is unusual to only be paid for 6 hours of that per day.

  12. Michele permalink*
    April 26, 2011 8:52 pm

    Lowest paid teachers? Seriously? You expect us to believe that?

    http://www.nucleuslearning.com/content/teacher-pay-scale-across-canada
    http://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=High_School_Teacher/Salary/by_State

    I don’t think so.

  13. Michele permalink*
    April 26, 2011 8:54 pm

    You’re not paid for only 6 hours. Your pay reflects the fact that you do work outside of the 9-12/1-3:30 school day.

    A PhD working at a university can earn $65,000. So?

    What degree you have doesn’t necessarily determine how much you make. I know.

  14. April 27, 2011 9:44 am

    It’s people like you who make good teachers want to leave.

    • Michele permalink*
      April 27, 2011 12:34 pm

      That’s all it takes?

      Sad.

    • janice permalink
      May 26, 2011 4:33 pm

      well ya, leave if you are not happy, we have many teachers who would gladly take your job

  15. saskteacher permalink
    April 27, 2011 4:10 pm

    we’re not your babysitters, it is not our job to find child care for your children.
    to clarify we are the lowest paid teachers int he prairie provinces, not nation wide. and when you take in to consideration cost of living in Saskatchewan and inflation, yes we are much below the Canadian average.

    And no, our pay does not reflect working outside of school hours, we are specifically contracted and paid to work 15 minutes before class begins and 15 minutes after class ends.

    if you dont support us that is fine, but it is because of lack of support from people like you that we feel undervalued. You will soon realize how much teachers do for your child when you are left without those services.

    • janice permalink
      May 26, 2011 4:42 pm

      you must not have children, but anyway
      well only working from 8:45 – 12:00 12:45-3:45 =6 1/4 hours a day
      210 school days a year1312.5 hours a year lets say you make $48000 a year you are making $228.57 a day $36.57 an hour is not a bad wage.

  16. saskteacher permalink
    April 27, 2011 4:13 pm

    the salaries you have posted for canadian teachers do not reflect the increases each province has received this year for new contracts. We are currently without a contract and have not received any increases this year.I suggest pulling your information from specific government websites with accurate, up to date information

    • Michele permalink*
      May 26, 2011 5:21 pm

      Why should anyone expect an increase every year for doing the same job?

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 26, 2011 5:56 pm

      the point is its not the same job. The government has recently brought initiatives to the school boards that require teachers to work harder. One example of this is implementing personal program plans for students with exceptional needs. These are 10-20 page documents written by teachers after intensive meetings with parents (outside of school hours) throughout the year. We have to update these reports in september, march and june and we are accountable to the government for these reports in september and june. Also, the government has introduced “resource based learning’ meaning we are not given textbooks and work books anymore, but rather teachers are expected to find resources on the internet, share with other teachers, borrow from school board libraries, or make their own resources (worksheets, exams etc) based on curriculum requirements. In the past, teachers would not have to do this planning, but rather there were spelling workbooks, phonics workbooks, math workbooks, language arts readers etc. All of these workbooks had answers as well, which made grading easy. I’m not complaining, I think its great we have moved in this new direction, I think we are providing a more quality education this way that is tailored to the needs of our students…but unless you are a teacher you have no idea how much extra work this has caused…I believe it is fair to pay us accordingly for it.

      Also, most private sector employees receive raises each year for doing the same job to keep up with cost of living and inflation, this is usually in the neighborhood of 2-5% each year. If we had been receiving these smaller raises consistently, there would be no need to ask for the 12% in one year or 16% over 3 years.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 26, 2011 8:40 pm

      I don’t receive a raise every year.

      If the issue is the expectations placed on teachers (personalized planned, rapid implementation of new curriculum, etc.), then shouldn’t the job requirements be negotiated rather than the pay? Giving you more money isn’t going to make your job any easier.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 26, 2011 5:58 pm

      sorry I meant to say private sector employees typically receive raises of 2-3% each year, not 2-5%

  17. saskteacher permalink
    April 27, 2011 4:15 pm

    Also, you cannot look at salary information without taking into account aspects like cost of living.

  18. Michele permalink*
    April 27, 2011 6:43 pm

    “Thinking out loud”

    197* days at work + 20 days holidays (stat/Christmas/Spring/Easter) = 217 days

    217 days x 6 hours per day = 1302 hours

    $55,000 per year/1302 hours = $42.24 per hour (If 8 hours/day, $31.68/hour)

    The usual test for whether a job is worth more is to ask if the job would remain unfilled at a given pay level. Is there a shortage of teachers? Also, teacher pay is a perfect example of why I don’t like unions. A bad teacher makes exactly the same as a fantastic teacher with the same education and seniority.

    *Elementary students attend 185 days.

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 12:19 pm

      Teachers don’t belong to a union. I would be interested to go to your workplace and make judgements on the quality of work done there and determine how much you should get paid. Are you a teacher? Have you ever been responsible for the education and well being of 30 students with a wide range of abilities? Do you get criticized by people such as yourself? Are you expected to give up your own family time for other people’s children?
      Hmmm, it is really easy to judge if you haven’t done the job.
      Regardless if there is a shortage of teachers, you pay for what you get. These people are with your kids more than you are in a day. I personally don’t mind if our government gives them what they want. In fact, they should get more!!! I want my kids to have a great education and have teachers who feel respected and valued.

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 4:23 pm

      just to be clear: teacher’s belong to a federation. Look it up and do some research on what that means.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 26, 2011 5:22 pm

      If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, …

  19. April 27, 2011 9:08 pm

    The amount time and effort exerted each day to educate students = exhaustion + lack of respect for the profession (from parents/governments/students) = the reason nearly half of teachers leave the profession in the first five years.

    http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20090222/articles/902220325?Title=Teacher-dropout-rate-higher-than-students-

  20. Lisa permalink
    April 27, 2011 11:14 pm

    If the job is so sweet and we do so little for what we get paid. Then why are many of you not teachers. I would suspect no paycheque over the summer months and all the extra curricular work you are expected to do for free is a bit of a deterrent. Let alone managing a class of 29 Grade 6 students with reading levels of Kindergarten through grade 8 and disabilities from FAS to autism as well as the behaviour issues of today’s youth and no TAs to assist you at all. Hmmm perhaps volunteer in a classroom for the day so you can see all these teachers sitting on their butt with their feet on their desk. I would love to know what school they work at! Or consider the fact that I can’t bank hours because all my extra hours I put in are for free remember! I don’t have the option to work over lunch to attend my own child’s school functions and it is really fun putting everyone else’s children before your own. My son wishes I was not a teacher because he feels I do not have time for him. I can’t leave early to go to a hockey tournament I have to send my kid without me. I have never been on a field trip and when I go to watch his game I watch out of the corner of my eye while I mark math tests or do report cards. Seriously if all we do is sit around I suggest you get yourself a teaching degree. Something tells me you will spend the summer months working for minimum wage to make ends meet like I do. Oh and have I mentioned teachers are responsible for paying for all those fancy class decorations to enrich your child’s learning as well as paying for our own resources to teach because your students can’t read the text that is assigned for that grade level, and half the time there are no texts available.

    • Jack permalink
      May 27, 2011 1:40 pm

      No paycheck over the summer? You have the option of taking your pay over 12 months instead of 10….

      Miss your kids events / life due too work? So does most everybody else…..

  21. Michele permalink*
    April 27, 2011 11:57 pm

    If you hate it so much, why are you a teacher?

    You must have been reading other sites because you’re responding to comments that weren’t even made here.

    I do value teachers and they do important work. I’ve only personally experienced good to excellent teachers in Saskatoon. Saying that 12% is excessive isn’t an indictment of all teachers.

    I hope that there isn’t a strike for the students’ sake. However, if teachers feel that it is necessary, go for it. You might lose more than you gain.

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 12:20 pm

      Your arguments are null. You keep changing your mind.

  22. Michele permalink*
    April 28, 2011 7:59 am

    Saskteacher: Your contract may state that you must be at school from 15 minutes before until 15 minutes after the school day but I would hazard a guess that the salary reflects the fact that you do actually work “full-time” hours.

  23. Leta permalink
    April 28, 2011 10:17 am

    There have been times when i went to my kids school during recess and i saw all 3 teachers who were “supervising” talking to eachother and ignoring the fact that my child had her inside shoes on outside when the snow had melted and they had asked for help but were ignored. I had to drag my daughter inside to change her shoes and was not impressed. I understand the need for raises and all but when i see teachers not paying attention to the kids outside i wonder if they are just there putting in the hours and not being there for the kids. I know that not all teachers are like this but i hear it from other parents too so there are lots who are.I think all wages should be raised including the ones with min wage not just teachers etc… we all are suffering so i don’t feel sorry for the teachers.

    • July 8, 2011 6:36 am

      This statement is simply You taking your anger at 3 teachers out on all teachers, and is in really poor taste, along with many other comments posted here…

      For clarification, I am not a teacher, but here’s some things to ponder….I have been to the ER about 10 times with different injuries of varying degrees from a torn ACL in my knee to several severe kidney infections…. some of these visits involved being left alone or in the hall for hours without painkillers or anything for comfort, witnessing extreme rudeness, and what appeared to be slack …now, I understand that not all the doctors, nurses and paramedics are responsible for the actions of a few and that there are other factors that could have caused such things, so I do not have any hard feelings or blame anyone, and am just happy that I was able to get treatment when I needed it!

      Now, the medical field is something that people tend to hold in high regard as a necessary profession, which it rightly is!! But SO IS education!! It is the basis to every individual, career, community and Country, as well as all improvements and advancements within them! How do you think they became doctors, nurses and paramedics? One of the most important lessons to learn, is “how to learn”!! …Now, there will be a few times in one’s life where you need a doctor or such, but you WILL need teachers for a LARGE portion of your life as well as your childrens’. Teachers now nearing retirement started out making more than nurses… Today a new STARTING nurse’s salary surpasses what these teachers make NOW, even with all that experience and expertise! I am not at all saying that nurses shouldn’t get paid what they are or anything against the medical professions, but simply using a comparison. Teacher’s deserve to be compensated for what they do, just like every other profession out there! And it’s embarrassing to see our government go years without giving them raises and then expecting them to do MORE for LESS…would you do that? At any job? NO, you would not! You would NOT give up your lunch hours, or your time to watch your own children play sports to volunteer with other people’s kids, or expect to NOT get paid for extra hours put in everyday…

      This may be hard for some of you to wrap your head around, as you may be lacking in the areas of care and concern….But, People get into teaching for a reason…and it’s obviously not the money, or the support, or benefits or opportunity for advancement…so why? For the KIDS!! That is why. For Your kids, and her’s and his……

      Just because you went to school and now you have children in school, does NOT make you a teaching expert! So, people please show a little respect for the teachers who have helped shape you into the person you are today! …whether you like it or not.

  24. Bill C permalink
    April 28, 2011 11:06 am

    Michele you really have a skewed view of life if you think your child’s interests are because of your influence. We live in a time of massive influence from many directions, this blog is an example of that. The fact that you want to set up a “phone tree” shows how out of touch you are with modern technology and kids abilities with said technology.

    I do agree with Michele that teachers don’t need a 12% raise. Pay them as Babysitters. $5 per hour. Also only pay them for time in school, 6 hours. Let’s also only pay them when kids are ther like any babysitter 185 days not the 200 days, the actual time teachers are to work a year. Now let us see, SASKTEACHER said they had 29 students….. so $5 x 29 students x 6 hours x 185 days = $160,950.

    So you are correct Michele teachers don’t need a 12% raise, they need babysitting rates. Posted from your friendly neighborhood Commerce Degree grad. By the ways my kid’s teachers are great and deserve what they can get. Also working in the business world let me add that unions are the reason many non union staff have the benefits they currently have now and the governments would love to change that, so beware.

    • sick of it all permalink
      May 20, 2011 8:19 pm

      Sick to death of this calculation! We pay them to educate not babysit! Open a daycare if you want to be paid per child!

  25. April 28, 2011 1:46 pm

    Michele, it looks like you ended up stepping into it on this post. Nice work.

    🙂

    I have no doubt that many teachers work 9 hour days during the school year, which brings their actual work hours closer to a normal work year.

    I find it interesting that the majority of teachers across the country are within 10% of the average salary, and I feel for some teachers who are below the average. I would point out to all teachers though, that their union leadership did themselves a disservice by not challenging union friendly governments (even in bad times) to at least be granted wage increases to keep up with inflation. I also find it interesting that the benefits part of the salary is not being included to show the true cost of each teacher.

    Unions have always worked in concert like the STF is doing now, and that’s one of the reasons why I fundamentally disagree with unions. Unions have, for the last 2 decades, always used other, higher jurisdictions, as a benchmark to determine what their demands will be, and the effect of this has been to accelerate wage increases for all unions across the country. This does a disservice to the tax payers who are footing the bill in those jurisdictions that can’t keep up economically.

    I also find it interesting, that teachers earn (absent of benefits) the same amount as the average family in Canada in a year and yet still have the gall to feel that they are underpaid.

    • Michele permalink*
      April 28, 2011 3:06 pm

      What’s interesting to me is that people aren’t talking about it. I’ve only had one other parent say anything at all about a possible strike. That could change when we go back to school on Monday.

  26. Scott Down permalink
    April 28, 2011 2:15 pm

    People “deserve” what they can manage to get paid. If the teachers convince the politicians to pay them more, more power to ’em. If they don’t, well, life goes on.

    This is a radical problem (that is: it goes to the root), so until we actually break the defunct educational system apart and sort out a working fix, these problems will continue forever. In some ways, a heavy increase to teachers salaries will just break the education system quicker, and force us to build afresh (hopefully having learnt from our mistakes).

    In the meantime, I say that we give teachers the pay raise they’re asking for, but make teaching in rural areas, small towns, and other less desirable schools mandatory every so often (sort it out based on the number of teachers, the number of teachers needed, etc). If you’re going to depend on the government, then you have to take the good with the bad. Saskatoon has many teachers unemployed but trained (with gov’t money) waiting for a job with the City’s school board. Well, good, get them to the rural areas without allowing the SSB taking that as a bad thing.

  27. justjamie permalink
    April 28, 2011 7:53 pm

    I think many parents are upset because a full strike means having to arrange for daycare or pay a sitter. I am a mother of 3 but I think the teachers deserve more. Too many parents look at them as free daycare. I am thankful for my childrens teachers even the ones i didnt care for as they have taught my children many things. I could not have the patients they have when teaching. Instead of thinking about having to pay for someone to watch your children you should be crediting the teachers and supporting them.

    I say they should go for a full strike. go big or go home.

  28. Bill C permalink
    April 28, 2011 8:18 pm

    Oxygentax, I too disagreed with unions until I became a regional director at a major company.
    In this company we had a mix of unionized and non unionized employees. The non unionized employees had the same benefit package and retirement package was a choice. The non unionized employees had zero job security and were required to work loads of overtime at no pay, sounds familiar. These employees were “used” badly by the company, I quit over it, the meager benefits they had came because of the union employees. Make no mistake at all, Companies and conservative governments want unions gone, and it will not get better for employees in this situation. Not in a long shot.

  29. Michele permalink*
    April 28, 2011 10:09 pm

    I’m not worried about what to do with my children if there is a strike. I’m worried about the children missing school. Will those days be made up at the end of the year? Will the teachers be paid for days that they are on strike? High school students will be affected most. Will seniors graduate on time?

  30. April 29, 2011 11:07 am

    Teachers’ Contribution to Society is Devalued

    http://www.thestarphoenix.com/health/Teachers+contribution+society+devalued/4688227/story.html

  31. P.B. Walker permalink
    April 30, 2011 2:06 pm

    Interesting comments. I was a teacher for many years. I never had a contract that defined the hours of work (someone mentioned 15 minutes before class, and 15 minutes after the end of the day is in their contract), I am surprised that any teaching contract actually says that, as I don’t believe any teacher can do their job if they only work from 8:45 to 3:45, and I doubt very many even try that, as virtually every teacher I have ever know is more dedicated to their students and their profession than that. I taught in a school where we were lucky to get one period out of thirty in a 6 day schedule as prep time. In some divisions now they get one period a day. I kept track one year of all the hours I put in between the beginning of the school year and June 30. I included class time, marking, prepping, coaching, meetings – everything that was related to my job. It worked out to the equivalent of 53 forty hour weeks, or almost 2200 hours, over the course of 10 months. I can relate to the teacher that talks about how much time they spend away from their family. It would be quite unusual for a teacher not to put in the equivalent of two or three weeks over the summer as well, getting ready for their courses, getting familiar with new curiculum or new resources, etc. But teachers are not paid by the hour, their contract is negotiated as an annual salary (not a wage), and they are expected to do the job for the amount of money they get paid. Teaching is hard work, it is a lot of work, and teachers should be well compensated, but I am not sure what that means. I disagree with the comments like “if they have it so easy why isn’t everyone doing it” – few people think teaching is an easy job. Nobody gets rich teaching. Not sure they should get rich, but make to should make enough to make the profession attractive to talented people, but not so much that people get into it just for the money or the holidays.
    It is a bit of an odd profession, in which a beginning teacher is given exactly the same responsibilities, and has the same expectations as one who has 30 years experience. The beginning teacher get exactly the same number of vacation days as an experienced teacher. Not many jobs start out with 210 work days (197 plus some prep days in the summer), but that would be fairly common for professional people with 25 years experience (30 days VL, 12-17 EDOs, 9 stats, 104 Saturdays/Sundays —- leaves about 210 working days). I realize that many people including self employed and some employees do not get all those days off, but lots of people do. My point is that the starting salary, benefits, holidays and altruistic motivation make teaching pretty attractive to a 20 year old, but the 25 year veteran hasn’t seen any increase in any of those, other than salary, since they began.Not really sure if I have a point about the potential job action, but wanted to share some perspectives about the profession that I think lots of the commenters are missing.

  32. Michele permalink*
    April 30, 2011 7:16 pm

    Thank you for another perspective.

    Your description of hours worked is how I understood the teachers’ situation: they are expected to be in the building from 15 minutes before until 15 minutes after the school day but they are paid a salary for all expected work regardless of how many hours it actually takes.

  33. r.e. permalink
    May 1, 2011 12:33 am

    As someone who was formally a teacher I do understand the work load, but even if you take the teacher who truly does care and works 1o hours a day on school work for all 187 days it still works out to be a pretty nice hourly wage.(approx 21/hour if you assume a base salary of 40.000).

    Now we won’t even talk about how many of those 187 days are not actually student contact days or how many of those days the teachers are replaced with substitutes while the teacher is off on a professional development or committee meeting of some kind
    .

    Nor will we talk about the 8 weeks of vacation every near, lets just pretend that the two weeks at Christmas and the week at Easter don’t happen either.

    And just to muddy the waters a bit more, lets forget about the definition of voluntary coaching or running of clubs. I didn’t think that voluntary came with an expectation of compensation.

    Once you factor all those in, I think that maybe 12% might just be a bit hard to swallow.

  34. Shaniya permalink
    May 1, 2011 6:21 pm

    Speaking as a student I am worried as for how long the teachers would go on strke if they did. The possibility of summer school keeps coming up for the time to learn what we missed while the teachers were arguing for a rather high raise. Yes I think that teachers deserve a raise because they are teaching and guiding the people of the future, but 12% semms a little much. Then there are the “teachers” who show up just to get paid, I unfortunatly have encountered one, and my brother many. Having a brother who needs a lot of help and attention in the classroom has been difficult, especially when the teacher does not cooperate. So eventhough there are teachers out there who actually teach and help the student, 12% is quite a bit.
    Just sayin’ :S

  35. Leanne permalink
    May 2, 2011 12:13 am

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    I read all the comments on this forum and find it very interesting how uneducated people feel by simply having a child or children in school they are instantly a expert on what teachers should be paid and why. Someone who obviously hasn’t taken the time to really explore the issue and listen to the news, as in real news not CKOM.
    No one becomes a teacher to be rich, all the excellent teacher I know went into the career because they have a passion for teaching and working with children. However does this mean we as in society should just take advantage of teachers good intentions and pay them as little as possible as there are many to do the job???
    Bill C is correct paying for childcare is more costly then the government paying teachers to watch 25 plus children. There is a shortage of government licensed childcare spaces and as a result we see more pre-kindergartens and full day kindergarten programs. I have heard many parents state full day kindergarten means no daycare to pay and so they are eager to sign up.Parents who complain when their is a school closure day etc as who will they GET to watch their kids??? So simply said Bill your right if it was just about money teachers are saving government and parents thousands.as compared to daycare its way cheaper to pay a teacher to “watch” the kids.
    I hope teachers go for a full strike so that parents who feel they are already overpaid and valued can see how much our teachers are needed.
    Teachers are required to have a four year degree to teach and yet they continue to make less then plumbers,nurses, electricians etc all who have little training as many nurses are not degree nurses they only have 2 years of training. Pay isn’t dependent on years at university I agree but teachers have to have a degree to teach. Is the work they do, educating our children, not just as valuable as fixing a toilet, installing lights or bandaging an injury?
    Actually I agree 55000 a year isn’t that much in regards to after tax income and cost of living. I make much more then that running my home business and do not feel what I do even compares to the importance and value of thw work teachers do. So if the teachers strike I will 110 percent support them……..as will many other parents who REALLY appreciate them…not just make judgements from the playground or hallway.
    Is the work teachers do valuable enough to warrant more pay? Absoulutely..go for it teachers….educated, parents who valuw what you do, day in and day out will stand by you!

  36. May 2, 2011 12:25 am

    *** duplicate ip address *** Are you talking to yourself?

    I agree Leanne, daycare would be way cheaper and frany let’s just leave the wage negotiations to the union and the government and do what we can as a community of caring parents to support our teachers.

  37. Ginger permalink
    May 2, 2011 5:20 pm

    I don’t really ever think of teachers as having 2 months holidays in the summer. They are unpaid for that time and are essentially laid off. It can’t be easy maintaining a home and family on 10 months salary.

    I see cars in the parking lot at the school near here almost all summer long so am pretty confident those teachers are working for a lot of their so-called vacation.

  38. brit permalink
    May 2, 2011 5:59 pm

    There will be a notice if a strike does occur, legally they must give at least 48 hours warning.

  39. Michele permalink*
    May 2, 2011 6:03 pm

    Teachers receive an annual salary so it is not as if they are laid off for the summer.

  40. Alawishes Zirkowski permalink
    May 2, 2011 6:16 pm

    People need to stop thinking of teaching as a job in hours but in terms of minutes. Teachers work more minutes in an hour, because they’re always “on” in front of an audience. There isn’t the time to just slip out for a smoke or coffee or a bathroom break at their leisure, especially if there is a student with behaviour issues. Teachers can’t bank hours or take a late or early lunch if they feel like it. I think 10-12% isn’t asking too much especially if you look at the track record of how many 0 and 1 % raises they took IN GOOD FAITH when the province was broke. Anyone who thinks public school teachers aren’t worth anything need to start thinking of private school or homeschooling for their children.

  41. Ginger permalink
    May 2, 2011 8:36 pm

    Okay, well then a 10 month salary. I just take issue with the assumption that teachers get this great 2 month paid vacation.

    My parents were both teachers and I got about 2 weeks with them in the summer. They were always going to the school, or going to University, or working parttime jobs, or taking some sort of training course AND we never had money until the end of Sept.

  42. belle permalink
    May 2, 2011 8:47 pm

    @ Michelle

    Just to clarify. Teaching contracts are for 10 months. There is no pay specifically for July and August. If a teacher is full time they may ask their division office to prorate their salary. The office then holds a portion of each of the 10 month cheques, so that there is ‘income’ over the summer.

  43. Michele permalink*
    May 2, 2011 9:12 pm

    Well, if that’s how you look at it, the salaries as listed should be adjusted when comparing to the annual salaries of other occupations.

    For example, a teachers $55,000 ten-month salary is the same as a $66,000 annual salary.

  44. Michele permalink*
    May 2, 2011 9:14 pm

    Does anyone have a link to a table with Saskatchewan teachers salaries for the last few contracts? I’d also like to see one with current salaries across all Canadian provinces.

  45. Lee permalink
    May 2, 2011 10:21 pm

    The thing that pisses me off with teachers now days is that they diagnose so many kids with autism, add, adhd and so on…..they want all the kids to be on medication and zombies so they don’t have to do their job. I have heard so many parents stories of how the teachers want their children on medication saying that they are misbehaving…..they want them to sit still and not talk, laugh, play or anything anymore. I am so sick of you teachers….you are suppose to be a teacher not a DOCTOR so stop acting like one. Do your job or go home and give it to someone who will appreciat it!

  46. Carrots permalink
    May 2, 2011 10:34 pm

    A lot has been said about the bargaining committee requesting a 12% raise. I find it interesting that there has been no comment about the government’s offer of 5% over 3 years, an offer that is less than a cost of living increase. Negotiations are just that, negotiations. A time for both sides to come to an agreement. The government, not just the teachers, walked away from the table because they were not willing to bring anything else to the table. 5% over 3 years would put Sask. teachers further behind our other prairie neighbours, rather than start to close the gap. School boards are starting to see the ramifications of lower salaries, it is more difficult every year to find quality candidates for job openings as our baby boomers retire.

  47. Mark permalink
    May 2, 2011 10:47 pm

    Just to clear up the original pension comment. There are currently two pension plan’s at work for teachers. The old plan is truely a defined benefits plan but the new plan although labeled as a defined benefits plan is not guaranteed by the government. We are making the contributions that directly relate to the payout so it resembles more of a defined contribution plan but lacks the ability for us to control it. This as someone has already mentioned results in us getting letters telling us that because of miss management we will now be getting less.

    We have to remember that this 12% simply raises us up to the rate of the consumer price index of the last 20 years. This 12% will allow us to live the same lifestyle as teachers in Saskatchewan did 20 years ago.

  48. Mark permalink
    May 2, 2011 10:47 pm

    Just to clear up the original pension comment. There are currently two pension plan’s at work for teachers. The old plan is truly a defined benefits plan but the new plan although labeled as a defined benefits plan is not guaranteed by the government. We are making the contributions that directly relate to the payout so it resembles more of a defined contribution plan but lacks the ability for us to control it. This as someone has already mentioned results in us getting letters telling us that because of miss management we will now be getting less.

    We have to remember that this 12% simply raises us up to the rate of the consumer price index of the last 20 years. This 12% will allow us to live the same lifestyle as teachers in Saskatchewan did 20 years ago.

  49. Mark permalink
    May 2, 2011 10:49 pm

    Sorry don’t know why that posted twice but I did fix my typo.

  50. Lenora permalink
    May 2, 2011 11:08 pm

    Are you all on crack!!!!! I have a home daycare and I make a considerably amount less than any teacher. Do I think parents send their kids to school just to be used as a babysitter…heck NO! Most parents that I talk to send their kids to school for an education. Have the teachers completey lost track of this.
    Now lets talk about wage. I got paid last year $13,000. I look after 7 children ranging from 2-9. My work day starts at 6:30 and my last daycare kid leaves at 6:00pm. From my fees that I charge I have to account for food (two snacks and a lunch), any outings that I do, craft supplies, toiletry supplies, gas for my van to drive kids to school with and outings, power, phone, energy, repairs to the house and I could keep going on. Yes I do get to claim these things on income tax but did you look at my wage. I am living beneath the poverty level.
    Prep time. I hear this constantly from my sister in law who is a teacher and how little time they have for this. Also that they have to use their family time to get lesssons ready and so on. Well the same goes for me. I use my family time to get crafts ready for the next day, plan lessons, and clean up for the next work day. Do I get compensated. NO!!
    I also work 12 months out of the year. Any school holidays or PDD days or staff retreat days, I have any extra 7 kids with me. 3 of which are my own. My food bill goes up considerably more on those days and in the summer. I take 3 weeks off in the summer and that is it. I do not take professional development days and if I take a sick day, I get no pay.
    I used to work in a daycare and I did get paid more but I can assure you that there is no money in daycare. If fact most daycares run a deficit and in some cases end up going out of business because parents feel that daycare should be free or 1/4 of what they make.
    I do this because I love kids, and it gave me the opportunity to stay home while my children were growing up. Also I could not in my right mind pay someone to look after my children while I looked after someone elses.
    So I say this to you teachers that commented to come into your classroom and see what a teacher has to put up with….Come into my world and you will see how much better you have got it.
    I also want to point out to the teachers that are screaming their 4 year degree should pay more and you are comparing yourself to health care professionals, and anyone else with an equivalent degree. You are not working as many days as them. If you think that the rest of the poplulation is stupid and think that we don’t know this then you are sadly mistaken. I am not the only one with this view, I can assure you. I say bring on a strike and don’t give in to the 12%. It is way to high and a much smaller increase if any is what us tax payers should be paying. Stop taking out of my kids educational time to show your distrust in the system cause as I see it you are doing a whole lot better then some of the population.

    • Bob permalink
      May 25, 2011 4:28 pm

      Lenora you sound like a great childcare provider!

      We paid, on average $50/day for our two and they had a lot of KD and hotdogs and never a single outing…

  51. May 3, 2011 12:41 am

    Unbelievable. People who have no experience teaching a class of 25 students by yourself can actually comment on what is or isnt with regards to teachers and their jobs. Tell you what, go spent 30 grand and 4 years of your life in university to become a teacher and then work hard to find a job placement in a small town in the middle of nowhere for years untill you hopefully manage to work your way into a city closer to home. All the while putting up with challenged students and angry parents who blame teachers for their kids behaviour and not their own failure as a parent. Must be real degrading for teachers to have their jobs and wages slung through the mud in plain view of everyone. I am not a teacher but realize their importance in society and yes they are undervalued and underespected and underpaid. Don’t compare yourself or your job to theirs unless you have actually walked in their shoes. Doctors, nurses, crown corp. and city employees all strike and nothing is ever said. But for some reason when the people who devote their working lives to raise and educate our kids to hopefully become something great are forced to strike we all think they dont deserve it and start comparing them to other people and careers. Must be real nice to know that the parents of the kid you struggle each day to try and help become a smarter, more respectfull and helpfull person in society dont have anything good to say about you and dont support you or your place in society.
    SAD

  52. Mark permalink
    May 3, 2011 7:41 am

    I also don’t understand why the people with no teaching experience think that a professional development day shouldn’t count as a day of work. It is a day of meetings, desk work and speakers. This too me sounds very similar to what office workers do every day, and yet no one is upset when a person with a four year degree can get an entry level job at Sasktel starting at 70,000 a year. (I am using a personal friend for this example.) I will never understand why we have to fight with the public and the government every time we want a contract that maintains our standard of living.

    Just to make the point again. 12% will bring us back to the standard of living that teachers had 20 years ago. Please go to stats Canada and calculate the Consumer Price Index of the last 20 years and the increases for teachers for the same time period.

    I think that it is ridiculous that as a seven year vet, when I went to look at buying a house I was told that I would have to get my parents as a cosigner to afford an old 1000 sq ft house. I have no other debts as was able to cover way over the 10% down that was required.

  53. john propachuk permalink
    May 3, 2011 8:00 am

    Yes, we will strike on «thursday May 5, province wide.

  54. saskteacher permalink
    May 3, 2011 8:20 am

    Lee,
    you really need to get your facts straight. Teachers are not doctors therefore they cannot diagnose. Teachers refer students whom they have concerns about to specialists who can diagnose disorders such as autism, ADHD, etc. In order for this referral to go through and the child to even be seen by a specialist, we require parental permission. So no, teachers do not diagnose. never have, never will. this is a ridiculous, uneducated assumption. this is the problem with these posts, if you are not qualified and informed enough to be making the statements you are making, don’t make them. this is how rumors get started and misinformation gets presented.

  55. saskteacher permalink
    May 3, 2011 8:24 am

    Lenora,
    do you have a 4 year degree in teaching? This might be the difference why you are making considerably less. Also, a smarter business model might earn you more money.

  56. armadillo permalink
    May 3, 2011 10:24 am

    Go Teachers!

    I would love for some of the people commenting on here to try teaching for just one week. I think they would change their tune, and fast.

  57. Bill permalink
    May 3, 2011 11:27 am

    I really don’t think that the general public realizes that teachers do not simply teach. We are educators with the added responsibilities of parents, police officers, social workers, counselors, family counselors, event planners, leisure activity coordinators, nurses, and resarchers who work between 10 and 12 hours each day, as well as weekends and holidays. We plan each learning activity around 4 to 5 grade levels in each classroom and tailor our instruction and assessments to meet the individual learning styles of our students. If we simply spent our days teaching our society would fall apart because society has come to depend upon us as those who are to instill values into the minds and hearts of our youth even when the parents’ lifestyles fly in the face of those values to which they want their children to aspire.
    It is time to either pay teachers for their role and the impact they have on society or take all other responsibilities besides teaching away from them and continue paying them at the rate they receive.

  58. Mark permalink
    May 3, 2011 12:04 pm

    I believe that everyone on this site works very hard, and we all try our best to make an honest living for our selves and provide for our families. Everyone wishes they had more money and we are lucky enough to be part of an organization and a country that makes it fairly easy to maintain a decent standard of living. I also believe that anyone given the opportunity to make more money doing the things that they love would not turn down the chance. All the naysayers commenting on these blogs across the province would do the exact same thing as us given the chance. I am united with all the people in this province looking for new contracts this year as well as all people fighting for a better standard of life.

    Please do not negatively interfere with our contract negotiations, instead use average Saskatchewan salaries as leverage to help boost your own yearly income.

  59. Lenora permalink
    May 3, 2011 12:45 pm

    No I do not have a 4 year teaching degree but I do have a 2 year early childhood education degree. I am tired of teaches referring to themselves at babysitters or childcare workers. And then say if that is the case that you should be making $100,000 a year because at $5.00 / hour at 26 students over a 12 month period this is what it works out to be. Well I say to you this. Do you know how much a child care educator really gets. We are making less then a new teacher. Most start out at minimum wage. What you get paid in an hour is what I get paid in a day. We are in the top five occupations for the highest rate of burn out and in the top five for job drop out. Please do not compare yourselves to us. You have no idea what our day consists of and the ones that do never complain about being a teacher. anymore. I find it offensive and degrading that you keep comparing yourselves to us. If you don’t believe me then what are you paying for your childcare compared to what you are making a hour. Just think about that!!!! Educate yourselves.

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 4:38 pm

      Lenora, I don’t think anyone is saying that your job is easy. Also, I don’t think any teacher would say they were a babysitter. The two jobs are very different. The earlier comments referred to societal attitudes that teachers are glorified babysitters.

  60. Lenora permalink
    May 3, 2011 12:49 pm

    Saskteacher: By the way who would be looking after your children while you are at work? Why I choose this profession was because I feel I have a gift and enjoy teaching and working with children. I wasn’t in it for the wage just like YOU!!!!!!!!!!

  61. Lenora permalink
    May 3, 2011 1:22 pm

    Look to the west. Alberta got 4% and now 450 teachers are being laid off. It may come to this or higher taxes which means that 12% can be kissed goodbye. I know that you pay taxes too.

  62. childcare provider permalink
    May 3, 2011 1:35 pm

    Hello there I guess i’m wondering what the big deal is. I have a licensed, subsidized, government daycare in my home and i don’t paid nearly as much as teachers do. Don’t get me wrong i think we all deserve more pay, but i hear you guys complaining about when you start and finish you day, my first child comes at 7am and my last leaves at 6pm. I have my ECE and we program our day accordingly, and continue with the required yearly upgrading, conferences (which i have to do on my own time not get a day off), CPR, etc.

  63. childcare provider permalink
    May 3, 2011 1:43 pm

    I have considered quiting daycare and becoming a teacher because then at least i can still work with kids and do what i love, but at least get paid more than the 30/yr i do now

  64. saskteacher permalink
    May 3, 2011 4:17 pm

    Lenora,
    I do know what your day entails, I was in daycare for 2 years full time while waiting for a full time teaching job. I do not think you have an easy job, but for the amount of education you have you cannot expect to get paid the same as a teacher. I had to go to school for 7 years and earn 2 degrees (one a masters degree) to be paid less than $55,000. If you run your own daycare you are paid per child. The argument for paying teachers as babysitters is to pay them per child for 30 students. It is a hypothetical serial email that has been circulating around, and it is unrealistic as I know you have laws that specify you can only have a certain number of children under your care per adult, and I know you are not paid minimum wage per kid, it is less than that. I know there is lots of burn out in daycare, I’ve seen it first hand. But just because we are overworked does not mean you are not overworked as well, just because we are fighting for fair wages/fair treatment doesn’t mean you can’t as well. However I do think it is fair that we are paid more than you considering the amount of education we have and the services we provide that you do not. We educate students based on researched evidence of what works, we assess students and have to be accountable for this assessment, we offer extracurricular sports and activities, we offer specialized knowledge in subject areas. These are services daycare do not offer.

  65. saskteacher permalink
    May 3, 2011 4:20 pm

    Lenora…in it for the wage? Thats a joke. I had the marks to be a doctor if I wanted to. I have a passion for teaching and love my job, and I know I’m damn good at it. I love working with children. There is not a teacher reading this post that would say we are in it for the wage. For the amount of education we have we are paid terribly. Because of this there are less qualified individuals being accepted into the college of education in this province…people have a passion for teaching they just afford to be teachers anymore with the amount of student loans required to receive the necessary education.

  66. saskteacher permalink
    May 3, 2011 4:24 pm

    childcare provider
    I would suggest you do, its a great job! I love teaching…the argument is we have the opportunity to ask for a fair wage (in comparison to other provinces and sectors that were designed to be in line with teachers). If you had this opportunity wouldn’t you take it if you felt you were worth more? Us asking for more money does not mean we think you deserve less. Wouldn’t you be upset if you were continually paid less than other daycare workers? wouldn’t you want your wage to be equal to theirs for doing the same job, so you could keep up with inflation and cost of living?

  67. Anonymous permalink
    May 3, 2011 7:05 pm

    Yes, the Saskatchewan teachers are indeed striking. I have no school on Thursday due to teacher strikes.

  68. childcare provider permalink
    May 3, 2011 9:33 pm

    yes that leaves it in a better perspective for me:)
    THATS IT us daycare providers need to go on Strike too!

  69. Angry Student permalink
    May 3, 2011 9:56 pm

    To any teachers reading this:
    Today, you announced that on Thursday you would be staging a one day walkout. I am a student and I feel that this action demonstrates your lack of care for our education.
    Do you deserve a pay raise? Absolutely.
    Do you deserve the 12% that you are asking for? Not even close.
    Today at school, we received a letter from Mr. Rathwell telling us, the students, not to come to school on Thursday because you, the teachers, won’t be bothering to come. This letter also outlined the five principles guiding these negotiations. Number three states that “The purpose of Saskatoon Public Schools is to inspire and sustain learning.” Inspire and sustain learning? How does walking out of work six weeks before final exams sustain or inspire learning? That seems more to say “we care more about the money than about your education.” You are risking the grade 12’s university entrance requirements and causing all students to fall behind on their schoolwork by taking this action.
    So, Thank you! Thank you for demonstrating how little you care about our education.

  70. Marie permalink
    May 3, 2011 10:41 pm

    Holy Cow. I have 2 sisters that are teachers. To say that you guys never spend time with your kids or loved ones is a joke. You are severely over exaggerating how under appreciated you are. I have seen the loot teachers bring home at Christmas and the end of year. I do my sisters taxes each year and 1 sister made 67000 and the other was over 70000. 1 has 10 years experience and the other has 20 years experience. Teachers work 10 months with 3 weeks vacation and very rarely (and I know this for a fact), very rarely, do they work more than 8 hours in a day. When it’s report card time, they do have to put in some extra home time to get them done, but that’s no different than any business major bringing reports and budgets home to get finished. For the amount of hours you actually work, you make a very good wage for someone with a 4 year degree and your benefits are amazing. Go and ask a business graduate what they make in a year and how many hours they work. Most Bmin graduates I know are working 10 – 12 hour days and only getting paid for 8. You are still making more an hour. 5.5% is plenty. I work for provincial government and 5.5% is all we got (barely enough to pay for the increase in gas and groceries). Why should you deserve anymore than us. We are unionized individuals as well. Working just has hard and dealing with just as much crap on a daily basis are you do. Yet I don’t get gifts from any of my clients. Nor do I get the entire summer to relax and rejuvenate.

    Quit whining about how you have do deal with kids and their annoying parents (that’s your freaking job…….) I don’t know a single job that is a bowl of cherries. Everyone has to deal with crap. It’s called work. And don’t tell me that you are the sole reason whether my kid becomes successful or not. That is a parents job. I sit with my kid every night doing 2 hours of homework for a grade 1 and 1 hour with my grade 3. If they are not understanding something, I ensure that they get the help they need to understand. It is my responsibility to see my child does their best and achieves their goals. Just cause 2 kids in your classroom is a brat, oh well. It’s no different than me having to deal with a over picky CEO or Director. Stress is stress…

    Please stop your exaggerating about how you don’t make enough money and how many hours you put in. I have 2 sisters and they spend plenty of time with their kids and spouses. They have never complained about not getting enough time to spend with loved ones. In fact, they love that they get more time to spend with their kids because the hours they work and don’t have to pay so much for childcare.

    I have worked for the government for 15 years and get 5 weeks holidays and EDO’s (of which I do not get paid for. My cheques are 72 hours). They make almost 20 000 more a year than I do and don’t work near the hours I do. For a 4 year degree, that’s pretty freaking awesome. You want more money, than the government should make you work 12 months a year and not 10. Your hours should be 8 – 5 like the majority of the work population. Maybe that would give you enough time to get what you need to get done in a day. Then you would deserve that 12 percent wage increase. If a teacher took a 12 month – 8 to 5 Monday to Friday job, they would hate it and leave instantly to go back to having all that time off. I don’t believe a word when you say you work too many hours. It’s crap – and if you are actually working those extra hours – WHY????? Seems to me you have poor time management and need to organize yourself. Both my sisters seem to do it and love, love, love their jobs and having that extra benefit of the entire summer to spend with their loved ones, is the icing on the cake. Yes, they support the strike. Who wouldn’t. I would love an extra 12% on my cheques. Do they deserve it. HELL NO! 5.5% just like the rest of us.

    • sick of it all permalink
      May 20, 2011 8:50 pm

      Thank you – I thought I was the only one doing that much homework with my children – same grades!!

  71. Lenora permalink
    May 3, 2011 11:44 pm

    Saskteacher:
    Thank you for clearing up the serial email. I just hope other teachers that have been commenting on this read what you wrote.
    I would like to make one thing clear. I Do Value Certain Teachers. Other teachers that are in it for the pay cheque, the summer, easter and Christmas vacations and who care less to see if I or my children do well at school….I do not value. They are some teachers that deserve $80 000 a year and maybe you are one of them but for the algebra teacher that I had in grade 11 who spent 10 mins instruction and then the rest of the 50 mins in his computer science lab… and couldn’t be bothered with you if you had a question, then you deserve no 12% and a pink slip.
    I still feel very strong that the teachers are being paid a fair wage for the amount of work and the education that they have. I am growing tired of the apple to orange comparisons that teachers are making with other 4 year degree occupations. Teachers work 10 months out of the year, and have 3 weeks off throughout the 10 months. Other 4 year degree occupations are not afforded these luxeries.
    I agree with Marie in the fact that if teachers would like more money then they should work longer hours and 12 months. This should cover more than enough time for inservice training, upgrading, new curriculum training, prep time, and what ever else you need time for that you are now saying is intruding into your family time.
    How would you like those apples and oranges?

  72. Mark permalink
    May 4, 2011 12:19 am

    Dear Marie,

    I think that you would be interested to know that with stat holidays, edo’s and 5 weeks holidays ( that I know you do not get paid for, similar to how we do not get paid for our days off) you work 199 days. Teachers work 197 days a year. That accounts to 2 extra days off. I also think that it is a shame that your union did not fight for cost of living increases. I continue to be completely supportive of all unions and their right to collective bargaining. I also continue to find it interesting that people in other unions fighting for a similar goal do not support others.

  73. Marie permalink
    May 4, 2011 12:19 pm

    Mark. So teachers are working 197 days in a year, but their hours are from 8:45 – 3:45. 67000 a year isn’t enough? Come on. Teachers need to come up with a better reason for that 12% raise other than they don’t make the same amount as a 4 year degree (like a nurse). My other sister is also a nurse, and the amount of hours she works is well over that of a teacher. She also has shift work and works weekends and Christmas, and Easter and New years and spends way less time with her son than either of my other sisters combined. Let’s be honest. Teachers want us to bow to them and kiss their feet because they teach our children, like they are doing us the biggest favour out there. IT’S YOUR JOB!!! You are supposed to teach my child and you should be doing the best job you can because you are paid to teach my child. Teachers should take pride in trying to excel in their profession and want to be the most “memorable” person they can be to their students. To expect to be paid more money for that is simply appalling. They are taking the wrong approach for expecting a 12% increase. You should be selling the fact that the province is basking in our growth and development and the cost of living in this province is rising at an alarming rate (food, clothes, gas and housing). Not that you don’t make the same amount of money as our neighbours to the west. When in fact our neighbours to the immediate east are making less than you and you should be happy you make what you make.

    I am so tired of seeing comments and status updates on facebook about how my kids teachers stay up late doing work for my kid so that they can prosper and how thankless the job is. Like I said, I have seen all the gifts and thank yous that my sisters bring home at Christmas and Year End and to me, I see that they are very appreciated for the good teachers they are. Unfortunately in this world and especially in a union working environment, the hard workers just don’t reap the benefits. Maybe performance wage increases are more in order.

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 4:45 pm

      Bitter??

  74. May 4, 2011 12:38 pm

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    I am not sure where ur daycare is in the city but wow you charge way less then govt rates or private rates. I run a dayhome and earn quite a bit yearly over a teacher. (Starting teacher) my business hours are 7 to 530 and made 62000 last year. After writing off expenses made enough to not pay tax……and I have three other dayhomes on our crescent who charge the same. I know some hardly charge anything but that’s your choice. If people can’t afford our rates they keep looking…..just like shopping…you buy what you can afford. Our families never complain about the fees. So in regards to teachers it is way cheaper to send your kids to school….if you think being a teacher is a better choice then invest in University and go.

  75. May 4, 2011 12:49 pm

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    Cause really I don’t know anyone who would work 630am to 6pm 5 days a week all year for what was it 13,000 yeah its time to go back to school as you are being used. People pay more to take their dog to daycare or kennel then what you are being paid. I am totally behind the teachers, watching 30 kids all day and meet all curriculum expectations and special needs they deserve a raise……

  76. Liv permalink
    May 4, 2011 2:17 pm

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    I have heard nothing but support for the teachers job action and pursuit of an increase at my children’s school. The only reason many people on this “forum” are so upset is for many they are harboring their own injustice, pay issues with their work. Everyone has the right to fight for what you feel you deserve to be paid. If you aren’t happy with the way things are then you fight to change it, just as teachers are doing right now. You go back to school to get a better education to try for a better paying job, you raise the fees you charge for childcare etc etc anyone and everyone has the right to do this. The problem people have with teachers “striking” is htey are left scrambling to find something to do with their OWN children. I say accept the responsbility for your own children, make arrangements, do what you have to do they are YOUR kids….school is and should be much more then simply a place to drop off kids. I am so tired of hearing whinning parents saying ” well now what do we do” it’s called parenting, parent your children, until school is back on! Find some quality childcare..do something but stop blaming the teachers for your inconvienance………its really sad and a disgrace to caring, parents who are actively supporting the teachers we respect and support!

  77. May 4, 2011 2:25 pm

    Too bad we can’t pick and choose which teachers get a raise and which ones don’t. As a mom of 5 boys, we have had terrific teachers who deserve more then what they get but we have also had horrible teachers that shouldn’t be around children. Should these bad teachers get a raise? no, but should the ones who go above and beyond? yes. So, I’m on the fence with this one.

  78. Lenora permalink
    May 4, 2011 2:35 pm

    R
    I wonder how many children you are looking after in your daycare and if you are licensed daycare and/or subsidized? I would also wonder if you follow child care guidelines and of your $62 000 how much of that is going to your expenses? As you know teachers don’t have to pay for gas, water, power, craft supplies, paper, photocoping, outings, etc out of their pay. How much after all that is accounted for are you actually making? Probably why you didn’t have to pay any income tax. I am not sure what you are charging but I charge $30 a day per child. School age is on a hourly rate of $3/hour on school days on days when there is no school I charge the $30/day. The majority of my daycare children are school age. I believe that is the going rate. I do give my parents breaks if their is a sibling. I do not charge for days that I personally need off because of labour laws requiring that if a have to take a day off I either have a replacement or I do not charge. As a personal choice I do not charge parents for the days that their children are sick as I require them not to be at my daycare. I am surprised that you make so much. I’m pretty sure Early Childhood Educators working in a daycare are not making as much as you (it has been 9 years since I worked in a daycare) so I could be wrong about this. I will have to look into it more. Childcare Provider has a licenced subsidized dayhome and is only making $30 000/year. I am shocked that you make so much.

  79. Mark permalink
    May 4, 2011 3:39 pm

    Marie,

    I completely agree with you that this whole thing was sold wrong, I wish that the Education Act was reworked to allow us to hire professional negotiators and fully consider us a union. This would allow us to have professional support on P.R. and I believe that provide us with more public support. This is my opinion and not shared by everyone in the profession. You are incorrect about Manitoba however. Check out their salary grid and compare it to ours. I have based these numbers off of my current step and salary class that I would be considered in Manitoba. There is a 7.15% difference based on 2010. I would be very happy with a 7.15% increase over 1 year. We could also include that inflation in Saskatchewan was 3.4% this year based on an article in the Leader Post.

    Please understand that I cannot account for every teacher, but it is very unfair for you to count our total worked hours (in no way including extra-curricular because I see that as volunteer time) from 8:45-3:45. Currently as a veteran teacher my hours are never under, but very close to 37.5 hours a week with some exceptions at more busy times. ( I have been keeping track because I knew this was a contract year.)

  80. Ryan permalink
    May 4, 2011 3:46 pm

    Marie,

    My numbers don’t lie.

    365 days per year – 2 x 52 for weekends = 261
    261 days – minimum 15 paid holidays legislated = 246
    246 days – 10 stat holidays in Saskatchewan = 236
    236 days – 197 legislated days of work for teachers = 39 days
    39 days x 8 hour work days = 312 hours

    The number of extra-curricular hours worked last year by me in 2010(my school division tracks these – we have to submit records of our extra-curr hours) = 388 for coaching football and track and field.

    388-312 = 76 hours more last year than a typical Saskatchewan worker with the minimum legislated holidays. That’s two weeks less four hours. Don’t tell me that I do less work in a year than anybody else. You’re completely ignorant of my work schedule.

    Now, before you tell me that the days I put in are much shorter than a typical eight hour work day, consider this: almost all of my days run from 8:30am-4:30pm, but I get no breaks. Five hours are spent with students in class, one is spent on supervision at lunch, and though two are available at my discretion, I am not stupid enough to waste many minutes in those two hours – if students, parents or other teachers don’t need me for anything, I get cracking on marking. I do not get any prep time – welcome to rural teaching. I currently have 24 students in a History 30 class who just got back a ten page essay – edited, annotated and evaluated. How long would you take to read 240 pages of material, check sources on that material, proofreed, annotate and edit it, and provide between 12 and 15 pages of critique and suggestion for improvement? For me, the answer is 16 hours, or two days, which I completed in one weekend. That was ONE major assignment in ONE course out of five that I teach, meaning that based on two out-of-class hours per work day, it would take me at least eight teaching days to complete one-fifth of my marking for one-fifth of my course load. Put another way, at two hours of marking per day, I would need 200 teaching days per semester just to get my marking done. Sure, I can leave the school at 4pm if I need to on any given day. All I have to do is stay until 6pm the next day to make up the work I missed. Believing that teachers work during the school day is like going to see an orchestra and believing the musicians only play during the symphony, or that NHL players only skate on game days. You’r’e crazy. They make it look effortless because they are professionals who put countless hours of work into their craft.

    Of course, there are some teachers who do not make this kind of effort. They are lazy, teaching from a year plan that never changes, using evaluation systems that are inflexible that do not address a diverse range of needs, and their students probably dread being in their classes. If they teach in the younger grades, they probably haven’t changed a poster in their classroom in years, and constantly complain that the teachers in previous years haven’t prepared their students properly for this year’s work. Their students love them because they are kind and grandmotherly, but because their jobs are secure, they think they are being done well. Yes, Marie, I am referring to your sisters, who are probably very nice people but sound like ungifted and unmotivated teachers. The sad thing about unions in general is that all people are rewarded at a scale set by the lowest common denominator. The people who do the minimum are compensated as well as those who strive to excel. I agree with you, your sisters don’t deserve a 12% increase in pay. But I do. (Alternatively, I could teach my classes the way your sisters do, thereby earning my reduced status and standard of living that some here have espoused would be appropriate.)

    If we want the profession populated by your sisters, then I agree with you: do not value education, and do not compensate teachers at a level that remains equal to the standard of living of past years. Let them drop and slide to the point where the woman with a two year diploma (it is not a degree) in Early Childhood Education is passing on her knowledge of calculus, physics, biology, literature, economics, history, linguistics, mechanics, welding, art, and the like, to her charges at daycare. I can hardly wait to see the state of our society at that point. I, too, value my charges, treat them kindly and respectfully, provide them with the tools they need to be successful in the school environment, and yes, even feed them on occasion. But the difference between my salary and hers is that along the way, my students learn to understand and appreciate the Canadian political structure, the importance of cell theory and evolution in biology, and even the contribution of the ancients to modern art. Even at a more elementary level, good teachers’ charges leave knowing the fundamentals of literacy, numeracy and social harmony.

    In summary, let me be clear that there are a few teachers who are not well-educated, hard-working, empathetic, nurturing, engaging, strong, social role models. I would rather reward those few inequitably than discourage away from the profession the many who are.

    As my father has always said to me, “A good teacher is worth as much as a community can afford. The rest should be horse-whipped and run out of town.” Our provincial community is economically the strongest it has been in decades, and growing faster than any other in the country. Investing in superior teaching now will pay dividends in the future; devaluing teaching today will put us in a tough spot when the land resources run dry.

  81. Mark permalink
    May 4, 2011 4:11 pm

    Thanks Ryan for reminding me about supervision time. That puts my average hours worked per week at 45.

  82. Michele permalink*
    May 4, 2011 4:21 pm

    My only experience is with Saskatoon Public Schools where teachers do not have to do supervision. If they choose to do so, they earn time off. I know of at least two teachers who have taken week long paid vacations during the school year by banking supervision hours.

    And extracurricular activities are EXTRA. These are volunteer activities where you volunteer your time.

    I don’t get paid for any of my volunteer activities.

  83. Mark permalink
    May 4, 2011 4:41 pm

    Nor do I. Saskatoon must have a great local bargaining committee.

  84. Angry Student permalink
    May 4, 2011 5:50 pm

    The teachers should stop using extra curricular activities in this argument. They volunteer for these activities. VOLUNTEER! If I go somewhere and volunteer, do I get paid? No. And do I complain about that? No, because I was volunteering.

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 4:51 pm

      Who suffers if they don’t do the extra curricular? Students, right. I think it shows how dedicated your teachers are that they volunteer to do the extra work.
      You may not benefit from it, but many kids do, especially those whose parents are absent or can’t afford organized activities.
      Teachers are just asking to be appreciated. One of the ways they would like to be appreciated is by receiving a fair wage .

  85. DebL permalink
    May 4, 2011 6:49 pm

    Teachers deserve the 12% as DANGER pay because unlike the professions mentioned here , they risk personal safety and well being everyday from kids whose parents say, oh not my kid, he didn’t do that, she isn’t like that blah blah.. Teacher’s aren’t allowed to even raise their voice to these little hoodlums and drug addicts , even if they are being called terrible names or at risk of personal injury-or to intervene if another kid is doing this to other kids. I have lived in other provinces, and I can assure you Sask teachers do more for the kids for less money than other provinces. I really would be scared to be a teacher in Regina or Saskatoon!

    • Michele permalink*
      May 4, 2011 9:43 pm

      Danger pay? Seriously?

      You have got to be kidding.

  86. Angry Student permalink
    May 4, 2011 7:05 pm

    Teachers don’t need danger pay. Are they asked to arrest drug addicts and drunks? No. They are asked to teach students. Police officers go to work every day knowing that it could be the day an armed person shoots at them. Teachers don’t have to worry about being shot or assaulted on a daily basis.

  87. DebL permalink
    May 4, 2011 7:33 pm

    You must be leading a shelted life Angry student because it does happen in the real world, maybe it hasnt here yet but it is only a matter of time before a drugged up kid comes in jacked up on crystal meth or crack!

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 4:52 pm

      Exactly!

    • sick of it all permalink
      May 20, 2011 8:59 pm

      Do you 2 forget there are GOOD kids still????? Maybe focus a little more on the positive!!!

  88. Angry Student permalink
    May 4, 2011 8:14 pm

    I know it happens. The same thing could happen to a person who works at McDonalds. Do you think they should get “danger pay”?

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 4:55 pm

      Please go and get some life experience before you make claims about what people should and shouldn’t get. I’m surprised that a student would feel so negatively about the people that are trying to help them be successful in their life. You really demonstrate why teachers feel undervalued. Although you are probably not completely guilty, I’m sure your opinion has been tainted by those around you making you believe what you are writing.

  89. Ryan permalink
    May 5, 2011 2:10 am

    Michele, let’s consider your argument about volunteer time being an unfair claim for teachers to make. On the one hand, I have to agree with you. No one is forced to volunteer their time for extra-curricular activities. In fact, there is no more a mandate for teachers to provide any extra-curr activities than there is for any other profession. So let’s take it off the table. No teachers in Saskatchewan will provide any volunteer services for students. No sports, no clubs, no student government, no graduation. No dances, no canoe trips, no reading programs, breakfast programs or intramurals. No science fairs, no Christmas concerts, no haunted houses. And, of course, no change in pay (beyond a cost of living due any employees – even minimum wage has gone up 60% since 2001).

    I’ll take it, if you’re being sincere. And since you seem to be an involved, educated parent who is dedicated to your family, you and yours will step in and provide these things for your kids, right? Of course, you may need to take time away from your own job to make these things happen for your kids and their friends, but it’ll be worth it. And you won’t mind if 15-20 inner city kids tag along with your family because their parents are high, or missing, or beat them if they stay in sight for too long. And if no one wants to pick up where teachers left off, then at least the kids are getting a quality education at a very reasonable price. Those other things aren’t really the important part, are they?

    Of course the extra-curr time counts as part of the job of teaching. Again, don’t devalue it – you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. I simply said that, including extra-curr time, I put in as many hours as any regular Saskatchewan employee. Less than some, perhaps, but more, in fact, than most.

    On a side note, in addition to the extra-curr time I volunteer to students at my school, I also deliver Meals-on-Wheels, work for community fundraisers like Relay for Life and Jump Rope for Heart, flip burgers at the town rink during tournaments, provide designated driving duties for the daycare at many events in town, set up chairs for Remembrance Day and Christmas pageants for the town, bartend at weddings and provide other general volunteer services in my community when time allows. I wasn’t including any of these things as “extra-curr” either. Just football and track.

    Or, here’s another scenario: do not offer a pay raise, but reward teachers who can and do provide quality extra-curr time for students. Let’s see, compared to minor hockey fees, I think $250 per kid on the football team is fair. We’ll provide the equipment and travel costs, unlike hockey, so that’s a heck of a deal for parents. Multiplied by 40 kids is $10k, which is… about 14% of my current salary. Sounds good. Much better than 12%. I wonder what I should charge for track and field? Shorter season, but more kids. I guess I’ll check with the golf, volleyball, soccer, basketball, curling and badminton coaches to see what they’re charging, as well as the grad committee, student government club, etc.. Or, maybe the parents are interested in these things. I sure hope so – I could use the time for marking and watching my own kids at some of these events.

    Or, finally, we could get rid of all teachers and re-hire people who are excited about the compensation currently offered. That would be… who? Lawyers? Doctors? Nurses? Police officers? Chiropractors? Engineers? Plumbers? Politicians? Carpenters? I bet Bill Doyle from PCS would make a great teacher, he seems really smart. Maybe he’d take an $11 million pay cut. Hmm. I can’t really think of anyone with four years of professionally directed university education or post-secondary training and a four month practicum who possesses the teacher skillset but makes less than $45k. Can you? Let’s get realistic. Teachers are worthy of more prestige than you seem to want to provide.

  90. Michele permalink*
    May 5, 2011 8:31 am

    I actually believe that paying for coaching is reasonable.

    Do you think that a teacher who does absolutely nothing extra, who practices “work to rule” every single day, should receive the same pay that you do?

  91. Michele permalink*
    May 5, 2011 8:32 am

    Also, saying that a one year 12% salary increase is too much is not the same as saying that I don’t value teachers.

    Prestige is not equal to pay.

  92. Teacher Supporter permalink
    May 5, 2011 9:48 am

    Both of my parents were teachers. My dad taught for 50 years, including 20 as a substitute teacher after he “retired.” He chose teaching as his career because he loved it. He was forced to choose to teach after retirement because he couldn’t afford not to work. He still loved it, but I remember him waiting by the phone many school mornings hoping for a call to go in because he was stressing about the bills.

    I was in high school in the 80’s, which was the last decade a family could almost survive on one income. I was blessed with a stay-at-home mom. Unfortunately my Dad was never “just” a teacher. He supplemented his income any way he could his entire life. He made sure we had everything we needed, but we weren’t able to have much more. In the summer he always picked up extra university classes, but his wage didn’t keep improving with his own education.

    My dad passed away in 2010. His last day of teaching was the day before he died. In spite of his years of hard work and only basic spending, he left debts.

    My mom received a payment from STF after his death for $16,000. 50 years of dedicated teaching with not a single sick day … I currently work part time and make nearly twice as much as that in a year.

    As someone posted earlier, a 12% raise would only bring teachers back to the standard of living they had 20 years ago. 20 years ago, when teachers could raise a family decently … IF they had other sources of income.

    I also have a brother who loved teaching. He went to university and got his teaching degree, but wasn’t able to make ends meet. Now he sells cars – and financially he does much better than he ever could have as a teacher. How useful that degree is …

    I’m part of a union and I completely understand that there is so much more to it than this “12% demand” that people are focusing on. The opportunity to fight for a better deal only comes along so often – you have to take advantage of that when it happens. You have to reach high – I don’t think the majority of teachers expect that 12%. But they should certainly be offered more than what they are being offered.

    I can’t stand seeing the attacks people are making on teachers. I think most people agree that teaching IS a stressful occupation, and people who teach are teaching because they LOVE it. They put our children first day after day. None of them WANT to go on strike. It’s not like just a few of them voted in favour of a strike. That vote was over 90% … NINETY percent. That’s HUGE!

    In spite of the “actual hours” they work or whether or not they are compensated for all the time they spend volunteering, marking, etc … we NEED teachers. We need the teaching industry something that our children consider in high school – not something they cross off of their options because of the lower income potential.

    Teachers, students and parents all want this over and done with – but the teachers shouldn’t have to choke on a bad deal just because they feel bad for inconveniencing the rest of us. I’m behind them 100% and I’m optimistic that they can come to a fair agreement – hopefully sooner than later.

  93. Angry Student permalink
    May 5, 2011 10:01 am

    It is now 10:00 am on Thursday May 5th, 2011. I should be at school right now, but I am not. Thanks teachers. You should be proud of how much you are helping our education. By not teaching us.

  94. Teacher Supporter permalink
    May 5, 2011 10:08 am

    Teachers dedicate their lives to their students. I’m sure the students can give them a day to make a point that needs to be made. Hopefully the strike action ends with today.

  95. Michele permalink*
    May 5, 2011 10:29 am

    The vote was 95% in favor of “job action”. Did the teachers all know that the first choice for such action would be a one day strike?

  96. Teacher Supporter permalink
    May 5, 2011 10:38 am

    I’m part of a union and “job action” typically means a strike. I’ve been through 2 “job action” votes – one of which resulted in a strike. It was made very clear at the vote what the plan was. I would hope it was made clear to the teachers as well.

  97. Lisa permalink
    May 5, 2011 11:42 am

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    Actually Teachers ARE NOT hired if they do not sign up and offer to do extra cirricular work, it is one of the first things asked. It is not a duty in the Education Act as a specified duty but if you refuse to do it, you wont have a job…so it should be recognized..it is NOT volunteer, it is 100% expected! How many accountants, lawyers etc would stay after work hours for free? who would take “clients” on trips, sport meets etc? Teachers do it because they care and because they are simply EXPECTED to do it, if it is a job expectation seems to me for most “jobs” expectations are paid duties!

    As for the daycare dilemna my children attend a private dayhome in East side and we pay $80 a day for our children (2) of them and I feel they provide EXCEPTIONAL care I feel bad that you only get $30 a day per child as if you are offering all the extra services of quality care you should be compensated accordinly. That is only $10 an hour I am paying my caregiver and I do not feel others should subsiduze my duty to pay for my own children’s childcare. All the families who attend our dayhome feel the same, so yes my provider makes $60,000 a year gross, does she deserve it absoulutely!!! Does she follow regulations, yes she does and doesn’t even close for holidays always has replacement staff. So I would feel ashamed to only pay her $30 a day per child…my husband and I are lucky to have great professional careers and feel our duties are less important, less stressful and we have way less expectations on us then teachers do and yet we make considerably more with same level of university training. If I work over my specified work day I get time and a half, and both my husband and I have six weeks of take whenever we want holidays. It doesnt seem fair, I hope teachers stick to their guns and go the distance to get what they truly deserve.

    Do teachers deserve more pay, yes they do as too are offering a quality service! I know families who pay 30 a day for their dogs daycare/kennel fee..so I question why some people have children and then refuse to pay their childcare provider an adequate wage…which is why there is burnout and turn over. And this is why we lose so many wonderful teachers to Alberta, etc..we need to pay them for the job they provide. so..I feel my provider is worth every penny we pay her and we will continue to back her service as well as teachers…children are the future of the world and teachers spend the bulk of our children’s awake hours teaching thema nd helping them become the best little person they can be. I agree with many of the comments here anyone who feels teaching is such an easy job, go do it yourself then. Go to University for four years, and go teach…….then come back and say they are paid enough! and have it so easy!

    And if your providing childcare for peanuts…maybe it is time for a new career but you won’t get rich being a teacher either.

  98. May 5, 2011 11:50 am

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    I write off everything I can in my dayhome business, why not my accountant does his job well 🙂 Teachers also have gas, materials etc, pre-k and kindergarten classrooms, even grade one largely are stocked by the teacher themself. So there are many expenses related to teaching and no write offs.
    I do follow all regulations but am a private home and I certainly charge significantly more then you do, $30 a day per kid for 12 hours..thats $2.50 an hour which is robbery. I know some dayhomes that charge $20 a day and have 25-30 kids a day there, and parents dont seem to care, its all about saving a buck. For those who cant afford it then certainly try to find subsidized care. But our dayhome services a very “wealthy” area of the city and families understand what quality childcare is worth. I would NEVER run a dayhome for $2.50 an hour…yikes! My dayhome is only for children up to six so we dont cateer to school age children.
    Anyway once again I say teachers need to be paid more and I am sure if they hold firm they will get a significant increase. Afterall so many parents are left having to actually “parent” their own kids and are left scrambling…….

  99. May 5, 2011 11:58 am

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    Oh and if you charge $3.00 hour for school gae do the math then:
    $3.00 an hour for 6 hours a day is $18 a day per child x 25 kids= $450
    Teachers are paid to sub $180 -$214 a day so who is pocketing all that?? Daycare is cheaper tehn educating a child…shameful…cheaper to send your kids to school then daycare

  100. Karen permalink
    May 5, 2011 12:22 pm

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    Food for thought:

    If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for ten months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job. ~Donald D. Quin

    And quite a pay difference from teacher- to thsoe 3 professions

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 12, 2011 5:25 pm

      all of whom get paid per client 🙂

  101. May 5, 2011 12:32 pm

    Did I hear the news right this morning? Saying if the teachers take futhur action to strike the kids will be expected to resume school when the strike comes to an end even if its July and August?

  102. Kevin C. permalink
    May 5, 2011 3:38 pm

    As much as I admire the teaching profession, the idea that we can get back to the buying power of x amount of years ago is unrealistic. A two salary family became the norm a while back. Its a good starting point hopefully the school boards come back to the table.

  103. Ryan permalink
    May 5, 2011 3:42 pm

    e,

    I assume you are actually asking for clarification. In fact, there is no way to know what impact could be felt over the summer, or according to course accreditation, and the like. Today was the first day that teachers withheld professional services as a form of job action. The strike in Regina 25 years ago was a local one, and not province-wide. I wouldn’t get too excited, though. I routinely have students excused by their parents from school for legitimate reasons like illness or extended vacations, but also for a day here to buy shoes or there to go snowboarding with friends and so on. I can’t imagine that a few days will impact them too severely. If it does, perhaps teaching should be made an essential service, and compensation changed to attract young people to the profession? After all, this has worked well recently for police services and nurses…

    As for Angry Student – I’m sorry to hear that you are frustrated; however, school is back in session tomorrow. As a teacher, I have difficulty believing that you have never missed a class in your life, or, if you did, it ruined your education permanently. I am confident that you’ll be fine.

    Marie, I’ve had some time to consider your statement that prestige doesn’t equal pay. I’m willing to be convinced. What’s the most prestigious professional career today that you can name that earns less than $50k per year? Or, of any job that earns, on average, less than $45k per year, how many do you think of as being prestigious, or that you would strongly encourage your children to pursue, or even consider giving up your own position to pursue?

    • Michele permalink*
      May 5, 2011 5:15 pm

      Is there a shortage of teachers in Saskatchewan? Does the College of Education at the U of S have difficulty attracting students?

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 12, 2011 5:32 pm

      Michele,
      while there isn’t a shortage of teachers, yes the college of education is having difficulty finding prospective students to enter the college. to make it more appealing they have gotten rid of the interview process, often times extended admission deadlines and went to pother colleges to “recruit” students who may not have made it into their first choice of professional colleges, and the admission rate has dropped severely (I heard students are now accepted into the college with 60’s when 5 years ago admission averages were more like 78-mid 80’s)…the college is now less competitive due to a lack of applicants, which means we are accepting lower quality individuals. To me, this is the first step toward a teacher shortage.

  104. May 5, 2011 4:13 pm

    Our work hours…. 8:30 – 3:45?????? Yes, that is the time the students are AT THE SCHOOL

    So the preparation of assignments, photocopying, marking, researching, decorating, organizing, cleaning, writing letters, making resources, buying resources, informing parents of progress, reports, extra work for kids, getting appropriate materials to support learning difficulties as well as gifted students, reflecting, meeting with struggling students and recording observations…

    happens when?? 🙂

    I couldn’t possibly do that during my weekends, holidays, summers or time after 3:45, because that’s my “free time off” that I’m so LUCKY to have…

    I guess I have to use magic then.

  105. r.e. permalink
    May 5, 2011 4:19 pm

    Here is an interesting thought. My child’s teacher sent home a class calendar for next week. The teacher is out of the classroom for three of the five days of the week at a combination of workshopa and other activities.

    I wonder how many of the 197 days legisalted by the education act are actually student contact days?

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 4:58 pm

      All I have to say is I applaud teachers that do professional development. I would never go to a doctor or nurse if I knew they were not continuing their education.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 12, 2011 5:37 pm

      all 197 days are student contact days. If your student’s teacher is away due to professional development (which is a school board initiative) there is a substitute in the class. The classroom teacher is responsible for completing a lesson plan to curriculum standards and doing any grading/discipline that occurs on that day as well. And just to be clear, last night from 7-9 I was at a professional development event and tonight from 7-9 I will be at another one. on saturday I will be at a conference. most PD time occurs outside of school hours, and all is unpaid. why does it occur during school hours? simple, the people TEACHING the workshops or hired to speak at them usually work only 9:00-4:00. Most teachers would not want to be away from their classrooms for Professional development, it creates extra work for us, we have to clean up the messes our substitutes leave behind, and it is difficult to get your students back into routine the next school day

  106. Angry Student permalink
    May 5, 2011 4:28 pm

    Ryan:
    Thanks. I am glad school is back tomorrow. I am in grade 11 and have not missed a day in my entire high school years. I am sure one day will not make a big difference to my education, I just wish you could have tried a work to rule or something before a real strike.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 12, 2011 5:39 pm

      We don’t get to choose if its work to rule or not, our federation chooses for us based on what they feel will get the government back to the bargaining table the quickest.

  107. Michele permalink*
    May 5, 2011 5:10 pm

    A couple of thoughts occurred to me while reading the comments:

    Comparing daycare prices to teacher salaries is absurd.
    Schools have other staff besides the teachers who also must be paid and supplies/facilities that have to be provided.

    A full-time job is typically 40 hours per week and 49 weeks per year (assuming 3 weeks vacation).

    From my perspective, teaching is a full-time job with the hours spread through fewer weeks. Given a seven week summer break, that would leave 42 weeks of about 47 hours per week.

  108. Ryan permalink
    May 5, 2011 5:31 pm

    Great question, Michele. The U of S accepts, I believe, 300 students per year to the College of Education. It would take 40 years to replace 12000 teachers. The average grade of acceptance has dropped in the past two decades because a career in education has become a back-up choice. Two years before I applied to education, one of my best friends applied to both education and law, because he was tired of Arts and Science. He got in to both. Guess what he does now? (Hint: he just made full partner in a prestigious (there’s that word again) firm.)

    I accept a 47 hour work week over 42 weeks as being fair as an average for teachers. Again, I do more, but I think I’m atypical.

  109. Lenora permalink
    May 5, 2011 6:12 pm

    r

    I was wondering what is your rate? More specifically, what you charge a day per child?

  110. May 5, 2011 6:27 pm

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    Depending on age and hours its for a child under two 40-50 a day a family pays for two children 80-90 day. Our families make that day rate in less then two hours of an eight hour work day so once again you pay what you can afford. We obviously don’t have any teachers children they couldn’t afford it. But this forum isn’t about childcare as let’s face it there are so many essential services being used and under paid. Childcare providers are one. We do not charge any less then 5 an hour per child and we have same rates as three other dayhomes on our street all of us have long wait lists. But back on topic its about teachers and I hope they do what they need to do to get the raise they need and deserve.

  111. Lenora permalink
    May 5, 2011 7:08 pm

    R seems to have the exception to what daycare workers are paid. I know for a fact that some daycare workers with an ECE education and work in a daycare make minimum wage. If you are lucky (which I was at one time) to work in a unionized daycare then you could possibly make upto $19/hour. Still a far cry from the $35 /hour that some teachers are making.
    I bring up this point because I still am hearing from teachers that they what to be paid what daycare workers or babysitters are making. If that is the point then I say that we should pay them what a ECE worker is making. It would save the government and tax payers thousands.
    Ryan I want to apologize for inserting the word degree with diploma. What I meant was diploma. My apologies.
    I do not cater to a wealthy community. I cater to average working duel income parents that make the low end of the middle income bracket. They therefore do not qualify for subsidy. I also have a private dayhome but have worked in a licensed daycare. I have 18 years of experience and love my job. My daycare is quality daycare and I take great pride in that. I help out the average working Joe that cannot afford $1600 a month in childcare. That would mean one whole paycheck would go to daycare and they therefore would not be able to afford a house, food, and simply pleasures that a wealthy family take for granted. I do have mostly school age children in my care ( i have had some since they were infants) so yes I would be making less then the average daycare worker as they are only with me for a few hours a day. It is my choice, I agree.
    I feel strongly that teachers make a very nice wage and have a lot of nice perks. Some teachers do indeed deserve a wage increase but not the ones that are in it just to make it to retirement day or give a crap if a student excels or not.
    I wonder if teachers would consider working a regular 8-5 job and work the 12 months. Those summer months could be used to prep for the year ahead plus take courses and learn new curriculum (instead of using students educational time and hiring subs to teach our children). They would get the pay as other 4 year degree occupations and still get all stat holidays, 3 weeks during the year off and and additional 1 or 2 weeks depending on length of service. Also not have to work any extracurricular activities ( we could get parent volunteers to do this). Would teachers consider this? I am not trying to be sarcastic just wondering if this would be an option.
    Also my math is not the greatest but if we did this could the province still be able to have the teachers they have now without having to increase taxes or laying off teachers? Again I am not trying to be sarcastic, still I am intrigued!

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 12, 2011 5:43 pm

      we’ve talked about having a 12 month school year…it was widely rejected by the public. Parents enjoy having summer vacation with their children, many camps and sports programs run in the summer which would then be abolished and kids would miss out on these opportunities, also many summer jobs would be lost. Many older students in competitive sports use the summer for training programs or camps. Many highschool students depend on summers off for employment. also, many businesses in Saskatchewan depend on student workers in the summer months.

  112. anthony permalink
    May 5, 2011 7:17 pm

    are the teachers going on strike?

  113. anthony permalink
    May 5, 2011 7:19 pm

    i agree with michele on everything a %12% raise thats insane all at once ya right

  114. Karen permalink
    May 5, 2011 7:20 pm

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    In regards to teachers being off for inservice it is called “LIFE LONG LEARNING” and it is something teachers are committed to. There are always new things, new strategies, programs, special needs to learn about, should htis learning just occur in free time then? as it is a required part of the job.

    All this daycare talk is a bit odd in many regards as ECE is a 2 year program hardly the qualifications of a B.Ed and really, they are underpaid( childcare workers) but that is why many leave the field. Basically as a daycare worker you are raising other peoples children, so you choose to pay what you can then…each to their own. Charge and get paid as you like. Research shows as in the case of Alberta the govt is looking at making preschool (pre-k) mandatory for all four years olds and up to largley help with the shortage of subsidized childcare..it is cheaper to send the kids to school all day then create daycares and spaces. Paying teachers what ECE workers make is ridiculous as there is a vast difference in responsibility, expectations and qualifications. I believe people are saying that if you compare childcare costs for 30 children paying a teacher to “look” after them is still way less then what the fees would be for all those kids in a daycare..even at $30 a day.

    I have 6 weeks off a year paid as does my husband, which we take anytime we like, we get paid overtime for anything over 8 hours ( 40 a week) and we each make over $50 an hour. I don’t feel teachers should be paid any less then we make and so once again I hope they strike for as long as it takes for the govt to man up and pay what needs to be paid. I think there are more strike days ahead…….

  115. Karen permalink
    May 5, 2011 7:22 pm

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    As Lenora shared if teachers make $35 an hour thats approx a dollar an hour per child…wow thats an impressive salry

  116. regan permalink
    May 5, 2011 8:31 pm

    I am a senior in high school and although I am stressed and scared for this strike, I definitely think it should happen. For sure teachers should go big or go home. I love all of my teachers and putting up with some of the children they have to put up with days on end, well, they are very under paid. After reading all of these comments, I realize how much some of these parents are crude. Teachers do a lot for us. Teachers can be a friend when we need to talk, or a tutor when we need a little extra help. Do you think teachers get paid for all of the little extras they put out in the classroom? I am scared as hell I might not have a chance to graduate on time, but when you think about it – the government can tell them to get back to work and they’ll have to do so. So for all the parents out there – get over it. I’m sure if you were in our teachers position you would have a better understanding of what is going on other than being one sided. Power to all the teachers out there! You are all doing great.

  117. Lenora permalink
    May 5, 2011 8:58 pm

    Karen

    I never said that I should be paid like a teacher. There was apparetly an email circulating that showed how if teachers were paid like a babysitter they would be earning over
    $100 000 a year. I saw this and was annoyed. I commented on it and was trying to prove a point and educate people that teachers don’t want to be paid like us. I know I have a 2 year diploma and not a degree, it doesn’t mean that my job isn’t anymore easier then theirs and that we too shouldn’t earn more. I felt the email was unrealistic and unfair to Early Childhood Educators. I felt the email was belittling the profession as I am sure that you are feeling now with only 1/2 the support of the Saskatchewan poplulation.
    In regards to the inservice training and life long learning, most work places require it including police, fire, plumbers, etc. I don’t think it should be free but I also don’t think it should come out of my child’s education time from his teacher. That is why I was suggesting being paid during the summer months to have all this training done. I am more specifically referring to a new curriculum that starts in September. Why not have this training done ahead of time and start the year with it instead of learning as you go?

  118. Denise permalink
    May 6, 2011 8:14 am

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    I am also a dedicated supporter of teachers. I volunteer in the my daughters kindergarten classroom twice a week and there is NO WAY her teacher is being paid adequately for the job she does daily. There are 26 kids in her classroom, four with quite severe special needs, she suPplies almost all the toys, many materials herself and is there from 730am till 530 at least five days a week. Is she the exception, no, she sure isn’t in fact all teachers are there by 8am. People need to give their head a shake if you feel it is fair to ask teachers to do all their training inservices in summer? Guess what the teachers who teach the classes the professionals who hold workshops aren’t available then as like the majority of the working world they like to use some of their 6 weeks of holidays in the summer. However I know lots of teachers who do university classes in summer on their own time as teachers committ to lifelong learning and improvement. If the school has a PD day and is closed then imangine you may have to look after your own child for the day. Otherwise there would be a sub who should be a qualified teacher to have in the room. I would say oin our parent group 99 percent of us are hoping teachers won’t give in, gO BIG BE FIRM you are backed by most of us!!

  119. Denise permalink
    May 6, 2011 8:47 am

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    Plumbers???really lifelong learners that’s a bit of a stretch…and emergency services, police sure they all do their few inservices a year….but its not on their “holiday” time is it? My husabnd is a paramedic if he does a day of training he is paid for every hour. Iof a teacher inservice goes from 8 till 5 they aren’t paid anymore then usual…..another thjing no one has mentioned here is teachers are one of the very few professions where you are never able to take your hat off, YOU are always a teacher meaning you are always judged, there is no personal off work time window to do as you like. If parents feel you have acted in a way that displeases them on or off school grounds or time they can and will complain and sadly this drives many awesome teachers out of the field. Just google it and you will see teachers can even lose their job over a picture of them at a wedding holding a wine glassn public drinking, not acceptable….even docotrs, lawyers, police etc DO NOT have these standards…..teachers have I feel one of the biggest most important jobs that exist and I hope they get that 12 percent.

  120. Mark permalink
    May 6, 2011 12:04 pm

    I hope that we get the 12% too, however the public should know that we are willing to accept any fair offer and I am just guessing that this means that it would cover cost of living. It was very interesting to find out about all the out-of-scope public employees that received 20-70% this year. It was also interesting to find out that the average publicly announced bonus pay this year in Saskatchwan would account to an average 20% raise to the average teachers (remember this does not include their raise). Knowing all this why is it reasonable for some and not for others.

  121. quest permalink
    May 6, 2011 12:33 pm

    *** bob and quest are from the same ip address ***

    teachers should stop whinning and find different jobs, PCS mine pays 40.00/ hour

  122. Joe permalink
    May 6, 2011 12:51 pm

    Dear Angry Student. If you are as dedicated a student as you are trying to make it seem then you would have been using that day to study instead of surfing the net and writing letters.

  123. Ryan permalink
    May 6, 2011 1:06 pm

    As always, some fine dialogue and a few ignorant comments. I have begun to ignore the comments from the duplicate ip address, even though they support my position, not because they are written under different aliases, but because they misrepresent a lot of information about teachers.

    For example, the students at my school know that at social events, including weddings, I like to have a beer or two. They also know that I drink responsibly, and that I walk home if I’ve had a couple. I’m over 19 years of age. I do not advocate or supply for or agree with underage drinking, and they know that too. Enough said.

    To Karen, please understand that I do value an ECE diploma; there are good EA’s at my school who earn about what you profess to earn at your daycare (most, a little less, actually). They are intelligent and provide amazing assistance to teachers and students. Having been an EA for two years before teaching, I understand the job. I just didn’t know what it meant to be the teacher until I took it on myself.

    As for quest… well… this comment has been thrown around a few times. I’ll explain why I don’t quit to you. Maybe you’ll learn something: If one teacher quit for a job that is less fulfilling but more lucrative, that would be his or her choice. No harm, no foul; do what’s best for you. If all teachers did, then it would be very difficult to replace them. What kind of applicants to the positions would you have? Either you’d have people who find the salary attractive – meaning they’re currently making less than $38k per year – the starting salary for a teacher with the minimum of qualifications, or who have no understanding of what they’re getting in to; ie., they are hoping to work only during student hours. Either way, the state of education becomes not just low, but unacceptable. So, to attract quality teachers, the salaries and benefits would need to be raised… and we’re right back where we are now.

    As another way of looking at it, when people ask my why I don’t just quit my job and get another one, I ask them, “If teaching is so well-compensated and easy, why don’t you quit your job and do it?” Of course, there is never an answer for that – either the person is already making more money and wouldn’t accept the pay cut, or they know they couldn’t handle the job, or they realize they don’t have the qualifications.

    Get it?

    Great hearing all of the different viewpoints here. Thanks to everyone!

  124. Melanie permalink
    May 6, 2011 2:02 pm

    So? Does anyone know whats going on NOW? They went on strike yesterday, now school’s back in today… but now what? is it over already?

  125. bob permalink
    May 6, 2011 2:55 pm

    *** bob and quest are from the same ip address ***

    5or 6 percent would maybe be fair over three years,

  126. Mark permalink
    May 6, 2011 3:33 pm

    Bob,

    5% is less than the government is offering over three

  127. Lenora permalink
    May 6, 2011 5:25 pm

    Ryan

    I think you were referring to me regarding ECE.
    Thanks for clueing me into the IP addresses This will save me from wasting my breath (or in this case fingers).

  128. saskteacher permalink
    May 6, 2011 5:27 pm

    just want to clear up a few misconceptions here:

    1) I work for saskatoon public and no, we can not bank a week for noon hour supervision. I supervised the maximum amount and earned 2.5 days off. We can take personal days (3 of them) but we lose 60% of our salary for that day if we do and downtown can refuse our request.

    2) we do pay for things like craft supplies out of our own pocket. we pay for a lot of stuff out of our own pocket (stickers, things for special crafts like googlie eyes, pop pops etc that are not normally stocked etc)

    3) the college of education is having a hard time attracting students. this is why the averages of students entering have dropped significantly (i don’t know the exact percentage but I heard it has been around 15% in the past 5 or so years), they have abolished the interview process to make it easier, and they have started recruiting students who have applied for other professional colleges and not made it in….yes they fill their program, but they are having significant difficulty filling it with qualified, creative people that used to apply

  129. Michele permalink*
    May 6, 2011 6:30 pm

    Can you bank supervision hours so that after two years you would have one week?

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 5:03 pm

      Call the school board instead of asking a bunch of people that probably don’t know. That is the problem with this whole topic. No one really knows. They are speculated based on something they heard or saw on the internet. Go to the source!!! As for bargaining and strike info, check out the STF website for information on bargaining and strike action. http://www.stf.sk.ca

  130. lenora permalink
    May 6, 2011 7:25 pm

    Both my sons teachers at the beginning of the year send out of list of craft supplies and used toys, stickers etc for incentives (donations). Most parents are willing to help out ( clears some of the clutter from their homes). Have you considered this? It would keep money in your pocket.
    Regarding personal days my husband (not a teacher) has the same set up also. Is this normal?

  131. Denise permalink
    May 6, 2011 7:55 pm

    *** duplicate ip address ***

    If you believe what you do outside if school hours doesn’t matter you are mistaken. The College of Education has a fourth year class all about this and the STF hammers it to all graduates by showing examples of teachers who have lost their jobs over “personal” time issues. Once again simply google it. If someone takes a picture of you ata function drinking and writes a caption under it and posts it on facebook etc you can be repremanded. It won’t matter how old you are. Teachers are on duty and judged 24/7. I find it interesting how the government now wants to deem teachers as an essential service so they can’t strike but refuse to pay them as such.
    I do not know why it says duplicate IP as I only have access on my cell as I am at the lake on a holiday which I was able to take when I wanted.
    From what we hear out here I believe teachers are very much supported.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 6, 2011 8:28 pm

      It says duplicate ip address because comments have been posted from the same ip address using six different names and two e-mail address.

      Are you really going to continue to do this?

  132. concerned parent permalink
    May 6, 2011 9:22 pm

    I am very challenged by the whole situation. On Tuesday my six year old came home, explaining that there would be no school on Thursday. She went on to recite, as only a precocious six year old can, her teacher’s comments regarding being without a contract and how unfair the situation for Saskatchewan teachers is compared to other provinces and other industries.

    I was dumbstruck. I have always tried to teach my child to critically evaluate what she is being told. We ended up spending over an hour discussing other sides of the issue so that at least she had a more balanced perspective on her world. You can bet it was a conversation that I would have rather saved until she was older.

    I can understand asking for an increase. I can understand wanting to keep up with inflation. I value the role of teachers both in society and in my life. What I cannot understand, however, is the belief that making one sided comments to six year olds regarding a highly charged issue is appropriate.

    If teachers are professionals, as has been cited several times in previous postings, I ask that they please behave as professionals and institute a mechanism to self regulate and effectively discipline their members. Unfortunately, good teachers get cast in the same lot as bad. Good teachers get paid the same as bad. As a student I witnessed a teacher throw a desk across a classroom in anger; I was handed the last 4 chapters of grade 12 physics two weeks before I was slated to write a departmental exam and told to study on my own because my first-time-through-teacher did not get through all of the curriculum. Several years later, my daughter is exposed to union propaganda from a teacher with a severe absenteeism problem. Perhaps my ignorance of the issue is showing, but if there were consequences to being ill prepared, or ineffective, or missing too much work maybe I would believe that the proposed, across the board, increases were justified.

    So, I say let’s pay great teachers, regardless of length of service, the best salaries in Canada so as to reward those to whom teaching is a gift and attract more of them to our province. Let’s institute a salary freeze, regardless of length of service, on lousy teachers and start the process of progressive discipline. If the teaching profession wants salaries for all of its members to be increased, I believe the bar on performance needs to be raised for all of its members.

  133. saskteacher permalink
    May 7, 2011 10:11 am

    Michele,
    You can carry over a maximum of one day to the next school year

    taking multiple days off in a row is really frowned upon (at least in my division) and you need to write for special permission to the school board if you want to take 5 days or more off (the days that arent noon hour supervision earned are unpaid). This is frowned upon and usually only offered in a one time circumstance. For example, I asked for 7 days off to tack onto my February break to take my honeymoon. 4 of these days were unpaid, 2 were “personal days which means I lose half my salary for that day, I believe 60% of it?) I got a stern letter from a superintendent saying he was approving it as a one time only deal as it was my honeymoon and that I was not to be asking for this again.

  134. saskteacher permalink
    May 7, 2011 10:22 am

    Lenora,
    I’ve done similar things int he past regarding having parents help out…this works well in affluent communities where parents can afford it.

  135. saskteacher permalink
    May 7, 2011 10:25 am

    concerned parent
    You are right, we have bee specifically instructed to keep our opinions to ourself and not involve our students in this process. If students answer specific questions (usually high school students) , we are allowed to share the facts on the STF website but we have been encouraged to not address the issue at all and ask students to go home and discuss with their parents instead. What happened to your child should never have happened, you have the right to raise this issue with the school principal as this should not be happening.

  136. Ryan permalink
    May 7, 2011 10:54 am

    concerned parent,

    You have made a fair criticism of your daughter’s teacher. Your daughter is not a sounding board for her teacher’s ideologies. But don’t bundle too much indignation in with your criticism; I’m sure you’d agree that teachers run damage control for parents at least as often as the reverse is true. Issues like racism in the classroom, lack of respect for education (not teachers – I mean education), lying, bullying, alcohol and drug abuse; apples and trees are remarkably close to each other 90% of the time. Remember that teachers are human too. I’ve yelled at my own two kids when I’ve had a bad day – and felt horribly about it afterward. Maybe your daughter’s teacher couldn’t keep her frustrations with her job in any longer. (I’m not excusing it, I’m wondering if it is forgivable?)

    As for self-regulation and discipline – the STF is very involved in both of these considerations. When a teacher feels that another teacher has breached our Code of Ethics, he or she is required to report it to the STF. There is a formal protocol for hearing and dealing with problems. If a teacher disagrees with something another teacher has done, but it isn’t necessarily a breach of ethics (the code of ethics is available online at the stf website), he or she must address the concern directly with the offending teacher, and then pursue higher levels of discipline if the concern is of a serious nature or continues to occur. Maybe you should talk to the teacher directly and share your concerns, see what kind of response you get, and then decide whether any further action is required.

    As for rewarding some teachers differently from others… well, this is a sticky subject. Some people like the idea of a completely free market – privatized education. This gets really, really expensive, though, and the wealthy end up with access to the best teachers, while the poor settle for the absolutely worst, or none at all. Take a look at the state of education in the USA – inner city schools are desperate for any teacher at all because they can’t pay any money and have the worst conditions for employment, while private schools field the best in the business at huge salaries and compensations. Attempting to reward within a public sector range might work, as long as all members honestly reported their contributions. If you turn education into a business with 12000 competitors, how would you avoid corruption? I don’t like the fact that the worst teachers are rewarded with the best, but I also don’t have a better solution (other than privatization, which would work well for me, but end up costing the consumer far more than current+12%).

  137. Angry Student permalink
    May 7, 2011 11:15 am

    saskteacher,

    One of my teachers has been doing the same thing. She has been using class time on multiple different occasions to tell us how disgusted she is with her wages and how she could make more doing something else. She has explained only her side of the situation and has not talked about other peoples viewpoints.

  138. concerned parent permalink
    May 7, 2011 12:38 pm

    Perhaps I have been too long in the private sector, but I simply do not understand why performance based compensation could not be implemented for teachers. My recommendation would be a moderate base salary with bonuses for performance elements (both objective and subjective), assessed annually.

    Forgive my ignorance, but how is teacher performance measured currently? How often do teachers receive a performance evaluation? How often do teachers’ lesson plans get reviewed? Are report cards spot checked to ensure that the assessments are reasonable? How many “movie” days during teaching hours are reasonable? What checks are in place to ensure that the curriculum is followed?

  139. saskteacher permalink
    May 7, 2011 1:45 pm

    Angry student,
    This is wrong of your teacher. You should talk to your principal about this or have your parents do this for you. You are right, this is not fair and you shouldn’t have to listen to this.
    that being said, this is a frustrating time for teachers. We are human beings who can get emotional just like anyone else and say something we regret later on. I know my principal had a meeting the other day with all of our teachers to talk about this and how we should not be discussing this with our students. I’m guessing your principal did the same with the teachers at your school….you might find next week is different?

  140. saskteacher permalink
    May 7, 2011 1:55 pm

    Concerned parent,

    I can answer some of your questions. Supervision/evaluation happens differently in different divisions. I used to work in Prairie spirit, where first year and second year teachers were formally observed twice r by a superintendent, and after this as needed by the principal. Currently I work in Saskatoon where in my first year to the division the superintendent observed me teaching on one circumstance, and my principal formally observed me twice. A report was the written up which was discussed in private with me and a copy of this report was sent to file at the division head office for future evaluation. I am not positive, but I believe there is a policy in which this process is to happen again every 5 years or every ten years? this being said, if there were complaints arising about a certain teacher, or an administrator had questions about a particular teacher, this process could happen as often as necessary (sometime teachers are observed several times per year to ensure they are doing a good job).

    As for report cards, I know in every school so far that I have worked in I have had to submit my report cards one week ahead of time for my principal to review. At times, it was suggested I review a certain student again or prove why I had given the grade I did (teachers are expected to keep evidence of this and any parent can ask to see evidence for proof or clarification).

    As for movie days, there is no set policy on this, but certainly it would be frowned upon if movies (that were not in any way tied to curriculum) were played often. Usually a school will show movies before a christmas break or summer break to sort of wind down the students, but in my experience, other than this or an od reward that a teacher might give students, it is pretty frowned upon to show a lot of movies. This being said, I know lots of teachers that use “video” as a positive way to engage students and teach curriculum…the bottom line is it should contribute to student learning. You will always find a teacher or two in the city who abuses this, but this would not be the norm.

    Thank you for taking the time to ask the questions rather than making assumptions…I’m happy to answer any questions I can…may not have the answers but I will always give you an answer based on fact…I’m really trying to clear up some of the misconceptions being spread on these message boards

  141. concerned parent permalink
    May 7, 2011 2:34 pm

    saskteacher,

    Thank you for answering my questions. In your experience, is this an adequate level of performance feedback and supervision? I ask because it is commonplace in the private sector to evaluate performance at least annually if not quarterly. In the first year, many organizations are also reviewing performance after one and three months. Aside from performance evaluations, the output is under constant review to ensure that the organization’s objectives are met. In times of change, strong organizations increase the frequency of feedback, formal and otherwise, to ensure that employees are successful.

    I recognize that it is impossible to supervise teachers at all times, but I question if once every five to ten years is responsible. How many changes to core curriculum happen in a five to ten year span?

  142. saskteacher permalink
    May 7, 2011 2:55 pm

    concerned parent,

    Changes to curriculum are hit and miss….usually it is years before it is changed, however one subject might change more often. For example, in the last 5 years we have had a new kindergarten curriculum, a new science curriculum and a new math curriculum that I can remember.

    I’m not sure how to answer your question about evaluation. I have multiple thoughts (my opinion only)…I think a lot of good administrators do a great job of making teachers accountable, and do a good job of trying to educate or “build up” those teachers who are lagging behind, and encourage teachers who are doing a good job. Good administrators generally have a good idea of the accountability of their teaching staff. Not all administrators are good. While “formally” evaluating teachers every 5 to 10 years (administrators can choose to observe teachers weekly if they wanted to but are not expected to) may sound like it is not enough, I think it might not be feasible to do it more often. We have 12,000 teachers in Saskatchewan…how would we come up with the money to hire the superintendents or extra admin required to supervise/evaluate teachers more often? though it is important, it is also time consuming and expensive.

  143. concerned parent permalink
    May 7, 2011 3:32 pm

    saskteacher,

    And therein lie the dilemma. If it is not cost effective to evaluate or supervise the teachers that we have, how is cost effective to blindly reward all teachers with a significant increase? Based on a normal distribution, its probably fair to assume that for every great teacher there is a dud and that most teachers are average. However, in the absence of performance criteria, accountability for following the curriculum, or incentives for extra-curricular activities, I would hazard to guess that even the most incredible, self-motivated teachers become disenchanted over time.

    Is it possible that salary increases for everyone in the profession will only exasperate the problem, as the great ones will still be under-compensated and more people without a passion for teaching will be attracted to the profession for the wrong reasons?

    Given your determination to combat rumor with fact, I assume you fall in the “great” category. How do you feel about never making what you are worth (& having to fight public perception for every dime of it) while the person down the hall from you makes the same for 1/2 the effort? How will you feel when your “great” colleagues start withdrawing from the profession because of burnout and their replacements are of significantly lower caliber, drawn to teaching for the summer the holidays and shorter work days?

  144. Ryan permalink
    May 7, 2011 4:59 pm

    I’m glad I checked back in today. Great questions from concerned parent. I agree with most of what saskteacher has had to say in response, with a few corrections, at least from my divison.

    Regarding supervision and evaluation of teachers: our division has a four year rotation: Step One is formal supervision by the principal a minimum of four times; two of those accompanied by a superintendant. Step Two is informal evaluation by the principal. Step Three is is peer evaluation, where each teacher is supposed to collaborate with colleagues in the school regarding performance, and Step Four is self-directed, meaning no supervision. Step Five means you are under formal investigation due to poor performance, and can require anything from considerable supervision of teaching time to requried submission of every lesson plan, evaluation, etc. – a great deal of work. The first two years a new teacher teaches in the division are both considered Step Five. Most teachers follow a 5-5-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4 rotation, and there is never need to go back to Step Five supervision. So performance is actually quite strictly evaluated and supervised, with no guaranteed “grace years’ – there is a minimum of formal evaluation every four years, with less supervision in other years if performance is without serious complaint. Something to consider in all of this is to ask how often other professionals (there is a technical distinction between a profession and a career or job that needs to be defined here, but I’m not going to tackle it right now)submit to formal supervision. Because education deals with kids, please rest assure, neither the government nor school boards are willing to risk seriously inadequate teachers – an opinion that teachers share.

    As for an opinion about how I feel when “inferior” teachers get the same pay, that’s an interesting question. It’s annoying. But the irony of teachers is that we try to help the weaker ones to improve through encouragement, sometimes subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle comments and, as I’ve pointed out in an earlier post, if we feel that ethics have been breached, we are professionally obligated to report the incident to the STF and confront the offending teacher.

    The bottom line is, as said before, teacher professionalism is not summed up by what students or parents observe in the classroom. Please check out the professional Code of Ethics, as well as the Good Practices and Conflict Resolution document available at the STF website – teachers really do believe in what these documents say.

  145. saskteacher permalink
    May 7, 2011 5:09 pm

    yes, there re “duds”. but honestly, I would say for every dud there are at least 5 “great teachers” and 10 “good teachers”….and that is an honest assessment from my experience. I don;t think a pay increase will make this problem worse, in fact I think if we pay teachers more…we will have more people willing to apply to the college of education, and therefore we will be able to have our “top pick” of qualified applicants into the college, and therefore more qualified teachers. What is happening right now is there are lower and lower rates of people applying to the college of education. Which means people who don’t really want to be teachers, but have picked it as a 2nd or 3rd career choice after not being accepted into the college they wanted are becoming teachers because they have no other choice. these are the people who typically do not like their job, or do the bare minimum, or do not have the skills to be effective teachers. Because there are less people applying to the college lately, the admission rate has dropped significantly. When I was applying to get into the college the average needed to even be considered was 79%. It was competitive, there was an interview process and an essay that needed to be written and usually people would not be considered without significant volunteer experience and a willingness to dedicate themselves to extracurricular activities. From what I hear (and again this is just from what I hear from friends who have younger siblings/friends applying to the college), people are now getting in with averages in the 60’s, who have not made it into other professional colleges. To me this is a problem. While the problem of getting rid of the “duds” may not be solved by increasing teacher pay, I do think it will help to keep the good teachers we have (according to the university of Alberta, 50% of teachers leave the profession in the first 5 years) who are leaving for higher salaries, and to attract qualified individuals to apply to the college of education. unfortunately, unions reward everyone at the same time, and rewards are based on seniority. While I am happy to be protected by a union, this is also a downfall of unions everywhere in the world.

  146. saskteacher permalink
    May 7, 2011 5:18 pm

    Ryan,
    well said! While there are definitely a few duds out there, and parents who have legitimate concerns and questions about the quality of their education, I think sometimes we jump to conclusions or wrong assumptions about the quality of teachers. Sometimes parents talk to each other and get riled up without talking to the teacher (the teacher may be doing a great job behind the scenes, but doesn’t get a chance to explain him/herself), or stories from children can sometimes be exaggerated or misinterpreted. A few times I have had a parent come into my room fuming mad from what they “heard” and by the end of the conversation they are again confident in my abilities after I have explained. This being said, I do not mean to say that parents do not have legitimate concerns, but often these can be cleared up with a conversation with the teacher (not always).
    I can honestly say I have full confidence int he abilities and teaching of 95% of the teachers I have worked with and would have no problem with them being in charge of my child’s education

  147. concerned parent permalink
    May 7, 2011 6:17 pm

    Thank you both saskteacher and Ryan. I am thoroughly enjoying the back and forth.

    I can appreciate that many parent and child concerns regarding teachers are unsubstantiated and dissolve after conversation with the teacher. I believe that many teachers take their code of ethics seriously and report major infractions of others to the STF. However, I really struggle to believe the comment that for every dud teacher there are 5 great teachers and 10 good ones. If this were truly the case, it would indicate a unusual distribution curve of teacher performance which challenges the argument that wage increases are necessary to increase the quality of the applicants to the College of Education and thus the teachers it produces. The only legitimate explanation of the statistical anomaly is that, regardless of entry qualifications, the process of becoming a teacher and being indoctrinated into the profession improves the abilities and dedication of the members at large. I can’t buy that. Not being in the classroom everyday, it is easier for me to believe that, perhaps, there is an inherent bias involved when teachers are asked to evaluate themselves and their peers.

    I am interested in understanding the differences between school divisions. As I understand it, in Ryan’s school division there is significantly more extensive teacher performance reviews than the
    two school divisions saskteacher referenced. How does this align with student performance?

    Given that Ryan has directed us to the STF website to review the professional code of ethics, perhaps someone can clear something up for me. In the media there has been much said about teachers being without a contract. Yet, when I review the collective bargaining agreement, specifically the section on application of agreement, I note that the contract is “effective from September 1, 2007 to August 31, 2010 and thereafter until revised in accordance with The Education Act, 1995.” My interpretation of that statement is that Saskatchewan teachers do have a contract. What am I missing?

  148. Mark permalink
    May 7, 2011 11:20 pm

    Section 238 of the Education act 1995, says that we must begin bargaining 100 days before the collective bargaining agreement expires. That expiry date was August 31st, 2010. To me that says that the agreement has expired. In comment to the section you quoted, the contents of the negotiation would continue to be the governing agreement because otherwise there would be an instant funding cutoff. I am not saying that the government would shut down education, I just think that the contents in an expired contract need to continue until a new agreement is signed for legal reasons.

  149. lenora permalink
    May 8, 2011 1:05 am

    Reading the comments has got me thinking more about performance based salaries. Maybe it would attract the right students to the college (knowing that if they were truly a “good or maybe even a “great” teacher they would properly be compensated). It may even deter those students seeking to get into another profession, but because of eduacation being an easy college to get into, they would opt out knowing that this profession will not compensate adequate or terrible teachers.
    I was wondering if someone could tell me what is done with parent complaints about a teacher? Is it dealt with by the principal and put on the teachers file? Is the superintentant made known of it? Is it proper to talk to the superintentant directly if you feel that is was not dealt with properly?

  150. mom reteaching permalink
    May 8, 2011 1:46 am

    ok..give me a break….i’m dealing with a school that absolutely doesn’t give a flying rat’s ass about where or not the kids getting shoved through their classes are understanding OR passing….

    we have blatant extra marrital affairs flaunted to students..we have teachers who tell students they’re just not getting it and may as well drop out…

    we have teachers bullying and harassing students….i’d be the first to say most kids aren’t angels…but the disrespect between both the teachers and students is horrifying.

    you want an increase in pay? lets see that 54 class average get up to something that reflects the class is actually ‘getting’ what it is you are supposedly teaching.

    honestly…teachers grade students…i want the kids and i to be able to grade the students and have their salaries based on that…

    i’m sick of it…time for the poor teachers to get weeded out and not protected by the union…

  151. concerned parent permalink
    May 8, 2011 9:02 am

    I have to go with mom reteaching on this one. I share her experience: lousy teacher performance is not being addressed to the extent it needs to be.

    After taking my concerns regarding my child’s education to the teacher and an experienced teacher in the same school, the message I received was not to make waves. I was warned not to take my issues to the principal or the superintendent as it would make life in our community very difficult for my family. I was told that the teacher was supposed to follow the curriculum but if she chose not to there wouldn’t be too much damage done to my child, specifically because we work so much with her after school hours in our home. When I challenged the grades on my child’s report card, fearing that the competence my child demonstrated at home was in some way not coming through at school, I was told that the teacher did not have enough time to evaluate my child and didn’t really know if she could count to 20 or 100 or 1,000. So she guessed and tried to “leave room” to demonstrate improvement later in the year.

    I know my experience has coloured my perspective on this issue and that my opinions are likely more emotionally based than fact based. That being said, the more I hear “wage increases for all” the more I want to dig in my heels with “no wage increases for any.” If teachers can’t be compensated for performance (and I truly believe they should be and compensated very well), I really struggle to pay all of them as if they are fantastic. Similar to teaching to the bottom of the class, emotionally, irrationally I want to pay to the bottom of the barrel.

  152. saskteacher permalink
    May 8, 2011 9:38 am

    Lenora,

    to answer your question about dealing with a concern about a teacher, there is a code of ethics to follow (which is not always followed, but encouraged). Usually a parent would go to the principal with a complaint about a teacher. If this happened a principal should ask the parent if they have tried talking to the teacher directly to solve the problem. If they have not, this would be encouraged first before the principal became involved. If the problem/complaint is not resolved, the principal would take action (This would involve gathering more information on the complaint which would lead to either standing up for the teacher or having conversations with the teacher of how this could be changed/resolved). the next level is to go to the superintendent. If the parent directly goes to the superintendent the superintendent would most likely give the principal a chance to handle it at the school level first. If this can not be accomplished, on rare occasions, a superintendent would step in. This might mean formal evaluation of a teacher to prove his/her competence or to work to improve a skill the teacher is missing. If you are formally evaluated by a superintendent for this , this is usually not a good thing…this is filed away down town for future records and to keep track of future complaints of teachers.

  153. saskteacher permalink
    May 8, 2011 9:40 am

    mom reteaching

    this is definitely not the norm. Have you talked to your administration/superintendent about your concerns?

  154. saskteacher permalink
    May 8, 2011 9:47 am

    concerned parent,

    Have you gone to your special ed teacher/resource teacher/edsupport teacher/LRT? (they are called different things in different divisions). Usually they have more experience with learning issues and testing. I know our resource teacher does lots of testing and then from this testing can offer suggestions to the teacher. After testing is complete you can request a meeting with the resource teacher and classroom teacher to discuss the results and talk about what changes could be made to your child’s program to help them be more successful.
    Do you have specific areas of concern about your child ie) just reading or just math? It is less time consuming to test in only one area, but there are also tests like the “kaufman” or “woodcock Johnson” that test achievement levels in a variety of areas.
    Do you live in Saskatoon or Regina? or in a rural area? Hopefully you have a good resource teacher/special ed teacher….this can make all the difference.

  155. saskteacher permalink
    May 8, 2011 9:54 am

    Concerned parent,

    sounds like you have some legitimate concerns…I can understand why you are hesitant to see all teachers receive a raise.

    I’m actually not opposed to performance based pay…I think I’d fair pretty well in this process as would most of my colleagues….the problem is, this has to come from a much higher level of government initiative. It would involve abolishing a union altogether in a country that is built on unions and government employees. I don’t think this will ever happen. Also, I don’t trust that the government would not find a way to stop paying good teachers more. The government needs to have a budget for education, and if they have to pay all “good teachers” more, surely they would continue to redefine what a good teacher way in order to not have to pay them well. there is only so much money to go around no matter how you slice the pie. The theory is good…I just don’t see it ever happening.
    It is possible that later down the road we might see teachers getting paid to coach or do extracurricular…therefore those that did more would get paid more.

  156. Lenora permalink
    May 8, 2011 9:57 am

    Mom reteaching and concerned parent; I harbour your same feelings of distrust in the system. I agree a wage increase for all is unjust and should never happen. I can not support the teachers in their “invest in teachers” campaign. I say we “invest in education”.

  157. Lenora permalink
    May 8, 2011 9:58 am

    More specifically “invest in our students”.

  158. concerned parent permalink
    May 8, 2011 10:57 am

    So here goes, if teachers who are good are in favor of performance based compensation why doesn’t the STF promote this position? Is it because the position is fundamentally opposed to the STF’s ideology? Or, is it because the STF is controlled by members who aren’t good teachers? Or, is it because the STF coffers depend on the current model?

    Is it possible that the STF is not speaking for all teachers?
    Is it possible that walking off the job was not what teachers ever expected when they voted for sanctions?
    Is it possible that teachers feel just as powerless as parents in this debate?

    Aside from leaving the profession, are there any alternatives for Saskatchewan teachers who do not want to join the union?

  159. saskteacher permalink
    May 8, 2011 11:32 am

    concerned parent,

    I’m not totally informed about all of this so I can’t really answer your question. I do know that we do not have a choice whether or not to join the union, you are a part of the union (rather federation–we are not really a union) the second you sign your contract, there is no other option. It is not like some other professions where you can choose.

    I think most teachers support being in a union as it gives us the opportunity to bargain as a collective for things like pay increases, pension, resources etc. If we were not a union we would lose our power to bargain…the government wouldnt listen at all.

  160. Mark permalink
    May 8, 2011 11:55 am

    Mom reteaching and concerned parent. You both have very legitimate claims. I would be fighting very hard to have these specific teachers removed. Make sure to get them on the professional code of conduct. I do however disagree with the claim that teachers should never get a raise. I wonder how you would feel if from this day forward never received any increase in pay until retirement.

    I also very much agree with investing in student. The Sask Party has severely cut back spending, increased classroom size, as well as remove the right to set the mill rate which allows the school boards to set how much funding they can put into schools. The NDP have pledged to put money back into schools and are concerned with the cutbacks of the Sask Party. When we go back to the poles one way to support the schools and the students is to vote NDP.

  161. Ryan permalink
    May 8, 2011 12:32 pm

    I’m hearing legitimate complaints about a few individual teachers. I think it is not only grossly unfair, but very mistaken, to paint the majority of teachers with the same brush. Yes, I would use the same argument regarding pay if I had the chance, but I don’t, for reasons that I’ll comment on in a moment. Yes, most teachers agree that performance-based pay would be wonderful. Why? Because we are really that good. You don’t know it, and you don’t see it, because the BULK of what teachers do isn’t what you saw when you were a student or see as a parent.

    The public should be very, very careful about what they wish for. Performance-based salary would result in a number of things that would not be very beneficial to society: First, the financial situation of school boards and ultimately, the government, would determine which teachers would be hired. To them, education is a budget. Would they hire 5 great teachers, or 8 “okay” ones, or 12 bad ones? Secondly, what standards would be applied to determine the quality of a teacher? Student grades? Ironically, a corrupt teacher with low standards grades all of his students very highly – he receives no complaints from parents, and would appear to be a better teacher, creating more pay for himself. An honest one with high standards in the identical classroom would be rated poorly, field more complaints from parents, and get paid less. Interesting concept. Thirdly, maybe extra-curr involvement should be the criteria. What would become a primary motivation for coaching or other activities? More pay, not student enjoyment or relationship building. Also interesting.

    The bottom line is that you do not want to create a business out of education in which 12000 competitors are vying for top position. Imagine taking this idea to a logical, but exaggerated conclusion in which there is no pay ceiling for teachers. The world’s best and brightest and greediest minds all compete for more pay and search for more ways to get it without working harder. They will succeed. And the public will foot the bill, either through massive taxation or privatization (leading to at least a two-tiered education system wherein the children of the wealthy receive better education from the best teachers, and the children of the poor settle for those teachers who do the very least they have to to keep their job).

    An independent review of MLA’s in Saskatchewan in 2006 compared MLA’s to teachers and nurses (all of which received similar salaries for decades, by the way). It specifically refers to the idea that positions like this need to be paid enough to attract qualified candidates to the profession, but not so much that people woud want the job for the wrong reasons. In the meantime, the base salary for MLA’s has risen to $89300 per year plus as much as $64000 in allowance (for the premier), $70000 starting pay for full time nursing, with available overtime for the hardest working nurses (the Star Phoenix had an article last summer about three Saskatoon nurses earning $200000 per year each – do you really want a nurse that tired on YOUR shift?), and… $43000 for a starting teacher, and $74000 for a teacher at the top of the education (Master’s degree) and experience ranges (15 years).

    Here’s the bottom line: teaching needs to be public sector, with equal treatment of its members, and the same pay for everyone. Creating competition would cost the public far, far more than the 12% that teachers are currently asking for. (See my next post on this, by the way. It’s interesting.) It would also carry a heavy social cost in that while the level of education of teachers would increase, it would also become a profession that attracts people for the wrong reasons (see: lawyers – nearly identical educations, by the way). As both a teacher and, please remember, a taxpayer with children of my own, I would much, much rather reward without cause what I know is only a few duds than discourage all of the good teachers out there.

  162. Ryan permalink
    May 8, 2011 12:55 pm

    I want to debunk a few myths regarding the sanctions discussion, since that’s what seems to bother people the most. Here’s the real scoop on the difference between the government’s offer and the teacher’s request:

    1. MYTH: teachers are threatening to strike for a salary increase. FACT: teacher sanctions are employed to pressure the government to return to bargaining in good faith. When they get back to the negotiating table, all threat of pressure will end.

    2. MYTH: the government is offering 0-3-5% salary increases over the next three years. Teachers are demanding a 12% salary increase in one year. FACT: the offer from the government takes salary alone off the table and uses retirement and other benefits (which you will never hear teachers complain about – they are already excellent) to create an increase in the standard of living relative to the Consumer Price Index (which has averaged over 3% since 2000).

    3. MYTH: 0-3-5% would preserve teacher’s current standard of living. FACT: Based on a salary of $100 buying $100 worth of goods in 2010, and using the 2010 CPI of 3.14% , in three years at 0-3-5%, teachers would earn $108.15, but identical goods would cost $109.60.

    4. MYTH: teachers want more in the strong years, but no one will take less in lean years. FACT: teachers have often accepted offers similar to the 0-3-5 (and even less) when growth was low and it was obvious that the tax base could not afford to maintain the standard of living. They prefer this to laying off teachers in lean years, which would create a very negative impact on students.

  163. concerned parent permalink
    May 8, 2011 1:36 pm

    I feel very strongly that many teachers do deserve increases. I want to be very clear on that.

    I feel very strongly that many teachers do not deserve an increase and that there are at least a few teachers that should undergo progressive discipline (see saskteacher’s comment regarding the code of ethics, where it is stated that it is not always followed, but encouraged…yikes).

    I believe that the general public hears a request for a 12% increase and immediately casts all teachers into either the good or the bad end of the spectrum, depending on their experience with teachers.

    I challenge Ryan’s comments that rewarding performance will motivate teachers for the wrong reasons and encourage corruption and misrepresentation. I choose to believe that our education system, which endeavors to evaluate students on the basis of subjective as well as objective evidence, will figure out a way to evaluate itself on both subjective and objective evidence so as to reward the right stuff. I choose to believe that our education system, which has no tolerance for cheating or plagiarism, will apply the same principles to critically evaluating its members for corruption.

    I believe that education needs to be in the public sector but, as such, is open to public scrutiny. Within the public sector, I believe there is room for performance based compensation. To me, “equal treatment” for its members is the opposite of “the same pay for everyone.” To me, being treated equitably means that my contributions are recognized and that if I am not contributing that is being recognized as well.

  164. Michele permalink*
    May 8, 2011 9:43 pm

    The fact that the STF is seeking a one year contract just reeks of a political play. The goal seems to be to get as much as possible right now AND set up another strike in the fall just before the provincial election.

    I like to think that Saskatchewan voters are smart enough to see right through that.

  165. saskteacher permalink
    May 8, 2011 10:16 pm

    Michele,

    The STF typically presents one year deals to the government. Typically the government wants to settle over 3-4 years. In the past, most, if not all of our contracts have ended up being negotiated over 3 years…this time around will probably be no different. Remember, 12% over one year is a starting point for negotiations, not the final number teachers are willing to settle for.

  166. Michele permalink*
    May 8, 2011 10:23 pm

    Why would the STF even try for a one year contract ever? That would mean endless bargaining.

  167. saskteacher permalink
    May 8, 2011 10:32 pm

    well the STF has the best interest of teachers in mind, and it is in he best interest of teachers to be able to negotiate yearly…however like I mentioned, I dont think we have ever been granted a one year contract (maybe someone else can correct me on this?)…bargaining is just that…you go in with high hopes but you always end up settling for something that works for both parties. It usually works best for the government to spread a raise over 3 years so it doesn’t take a hit all at once. I believe the STF is being more aggressive this time around because in the past 20 years or so, the 3 year contracts have not been keeping up with inflation. We can’t keep taking these smaller 3 year contracts that put us further and further below the cost of living. If we do see a large salary increase this year, you can rest assured in years to follow you will see tiny increases over 3 years. We have recognized when times were tough, we were not greedy, we settled for only what the government could afford (3 year contracts of 0% 0% and 1%). Now, when our government is bragging about its economic growth, we feel it is time to be compensated fairly. In over 80 years you have never seen a full scale strike in Saskatchewan. In the past votes to strike were much weaker, and teachers did not support possible strike action therefore they never went through. This year teachers supported sanctions with 95%…I think this speaks volumes to how much teachers are really needing a raise this time around. Never have we had this much support.

  168. Doesnt Matter permalink
    May 9, 2011 12:10 am

    1) Whats happens with the %12 after this year? Teachers are just going to complain next year and ask for more.
    2) Teachers are lazy, and because they want to ‘seem’ like they do more work than they do, they use the common excuse of “I had to work so much this weekend”
    3) I hope the government doesnt give teachers a damn penny. Learn to budget your money like 90% of Saskatchewans population.
    4) Are you really “watching” kids? No, 29/30 students you have will listen to you. Theyre not running around yelling and whining about everything. If you consider whining and askign questions an annoyance, or ‘bothering’ you, then get a new job. Thats in your job description.
    5) Dont you DARE compare yourselves to lawyers or nurses. Nurses save lives, and lawyers basically do the same. Nurses work way more than you, and even when theyre not, theyre on call. How do i know? I am a nurse and my sister is a teacher. Guess whose the one that cant show up to family events. If you want to trade places with me and work in the ER, go for it. Id gladly trade you. Teachers never have to worry about family events being interrupted because you got called into work.
    6) If you started working 275+ days of the year like me, i guarantee youd be begging for your relaxing, 6 month a year job.
    7) Stop being such babies about everything. If youre gonna strike, then do it! Stop threatening and threatening. Do it!
    8) I love how 95% of teachers supported in favor of the strike/raise, but my sister said at her table at the meeting, as she saw at many other tables, when asked if they supported the strike, almost no hands went up. If youre gonna strike, take pride in it. Dont sit there pretending striking is affecting you. Admit it, its all about greed. EVERY bit of it. “I should make as much money as a nurse or doctor” HAHAHA, if the world was to end, who would you want left? Doctors or nurses? Thats right, theres other people out there more important than you. Stop the high and mighty attitude. My kids are always going to take a bigger influence from me, rather than you. I hope the government fires everyone who says they want to strike and hire new people in your place. You seem to forget, YOU ARE REPLACEABLE. Thats the thing, theres nothing distinguishing you from any other ‘great’ teacher. A great teacher is a great teacher. No ones gonna remember every little thing you did. You are replaceable, they will just hire another great english or science teacher in your place.
    9) Sending a note home about the strike and saying something like the education of my child is of utmost importance, yet youll strike for as long as necessary to get a greedy amount of money? Yeah, i dont think so. If you got into the career of teaching for the money go get a new job.
    10) Saying parents drop their kids off at school as a form of daycare… Are you daft? You say your knowledge is VERY important and everything you can give to kids is worth more, then thinking of yourself as a form of daycare.. Wait what? Parents want their kids to get an education so they can go somewhere in life. If they wanted to drop kids off a daycare instead im sure they would. If no one dropped their kids off where would you be?
    11) My son was talking about students going on strike and YOU guys being screwed out of this.. Now wouldnt that be a kick in the teeth?
    12) Making my kid come back when you guys are done with your massive clusterfuck is also absurd. When hes ready to learn, you guys arent ready to teach. Get your heads out of your asses and realise whats really important here.

    Saskatchewan teachers dont deserve a penny and I hope you get less. Maybe that’d kick you off the massive pedestal you’ve created for yourselves and knock some god damned sense into you.

    • natasha permalink
      May 13, 2011 5:31 pm

      As your user name suggests, what you have to say really doesn’t matter. Your comments are antagonistic, angry, and suggest that you have not educated yourself on the topic.
      I am pretty sure if you supported your child in striking, social services would be at your door. Good luck with that. 🙂

  169. Mark permalink
    May 9, 2011 7:54 am

    Well “doesn’t matter”, the head of your union has sent us a fantastic two page letter explaining why we should stand strong. I supported nurses when they were on strike in 2000 and received a 13% raise overall (5% wage and 8% benefit) and again when the strike mandate was given in 28 when you received 27% wage increase and 5% benefits. Our one day strike did not cause people to have to be shipped across the boarder because their hospital was closed. Do not call me selfish, you knew what you were getting yourself into as nurse as well. I don’t feel as if the rest of your comments need addressing because as far as I am concerned they are narcissistic, uneducated and ignorant towards our cause. Please do your research and do not comment unless you are about to say something constructive.

  170. Doesnt Matter permalink
    May 9, 2011 8:26 am

    So half the things you are saying are constructive? You guys are sitting on ONE point and using one point as to why you should get a raise.

    • natasha permalink
      May 13, 2011 5:32 pm

      Do your research!

  171. Joe permalink
    May 9, 2011 9:36 am

    Dear Doesn’t Matter. Well one thing is for sure. You are NOT a nurse. Also what you said about your imaginary sister telling you the teachers put up their hands to say who was in favor of a strike would not happen. You are full of it.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 9, 2011 11:57 am

      Are you a teacher?

      I find it completely plausible that the staff at a school might take a “show of hands” vote regarding a strike. Don’t you?

  172. Scott Down permalink
    May 9, 2011 9:40 am

    Doesn’t Matter raises a great point: parents are often as acrid and obstinate as their children.

    But seriously, tho, I wouldn’t want to be a teacher or a nurse (or a lawyer!).

  173. Doesnt Matter permalink
    May 9, 2011 2:59 pm

    My sister took a hands only vote in their school. She teaches at a large schoo, so i would assume there are many teachers.
    And you want to meet me? Come see I am a nurse.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 9, 2011 9:23 pm

      95% of teachers disagree with your sisters school. Is it possible your sister is a bully like you and they did not want to take part in her show of hands exercise?

  174. Doesnt Matter permalink
    May 9, 2011 3:01 pm

    And yes, I would think they could take a ‘hands up’ vote at their school. After all, it wouldnt be up to them anyway. The hands up vote was to see which teachers would be open to working (not with students) on the strike day. Some teachers arent blinded by the fact that they are in a union and realize there are more important things than taking a day off to argue about money.

    • natasha permalink
      May 13, 2011 5:33 pm

      Actually I inquired and all teachers got to vote (ballot and all). It would be highly unprofessional to do a ‘hands up’ vote. No teachers were permitted to work with students on strike days.

  175. Mark permalink
    May 9, 2011 4:02 pm

    Did you work as a nurse on your strike days in the last 12 years?

  176. Angry Student permalink
    May 9, 2011 5:43 pm

    saskteacher,

    You are right. This week my teachers have not made any highly opinionated comments, quite a change from last week.

  177. Doesnt Matter permalink
    May 9, 2011 5:51 pm

    Mark – I have only been a nurse for seven. But no, i did not. However, if i was needed (someone dying) I obviously would have thats for damn sure.

  178. concerned parent permalink
    May 9, 2011 8:46 pm

    Michele,

    Thank you for your May 9th post titled ” The whole picture.” The links were fantastic. Given the STF’s recent ads comparing Saskatchewan teacher salaries to their counterparts in Alberta, it was interesting to see how the ranking across Canada actually work out. It almost goes without saying that the Alberta teacher layoffs due to budget shortfalls after their recent salary increases don’t even make the fine print of the STF advertisements.

    It’s shaping up to be an interesting election year.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 9, 2011 9:34 pm

      You’re welcome. It’s always good to look for additional sources of information.

      The teachers seem to have forgotten that almost everyone makes less than they could make in Alberta.

    • natasha permalink
      May 12, 2011 5:36 pm

      You’ve got to factor cost of living into the equation. It is very expensive to live in SK these days ( urban).

  179. saskteacher permalink
    May 9, 2011 9:20 pm

    Doesn’t matter,
    your rant doesn’t even deserve response. Have some class.

  180. saskteacher permalink
    May 9, 2011 10:02 pm

    Michele,
    look closely at the STF proposal. Never did we ask to make as much as Alberta….if we were, we would not be settling for less that 20%. As you will notice, we are starting our negotiations with 12%. Historically we have always been below Alberta (slightly) but above Manitoba. 12% restores us back to these historical relationships. Historically we have also been slightly behind nurses and slightly above MLA’s. We are not asking to be paid as much as nurses (as much of the public thinks), we are again asking for those historical relationships to be restored.
    If you look at the purchasing power over the past 20 years of teachers, the cost of living and inflation, you will see that 12% does not even catch us up. These numbers were evaluated in terms of both Alberta and Saskatchewan’s economic growth and cost of living.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 9, 2011 10:10 pm

      Why the assumption that the historical relationships are the ideal ones?

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 10, 2011 8:10 am

      I guess I would pose this question to the government…why did you give us a degree of purchasing power in relation to other professions over the last few decades only to remove it recently? If there is a reason for it, other than teachers are too nice and have accepted terrible offers in the past while others fought, then I would like to have an answer as to why.

      I do believe my occupation is more important than an MLA and slightly less essential than a nurse. I also do believe it is important to keep up to cost of living as other neighboring provinces have, otherwise many teachers will leave Saskatchewan in search of higher wages for a similar cost of living. This is my personal opinion.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 10, 2011 10:05 am

      Well, the only province to move to with a substantially higher salary would be Alberta. Alberta is laying off teachers so that seems unlikely.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 10, 2011 6:58 pm

      Edmonton and Calgary were both at the Saskatoon Career fair competitively recruiting teachers for next year. Alberta has a hiring practice that differs from us as well, they over hire extensively to their sub list and some of these subs are given contracts (meaning they are paid a salary where they substitute one day or 150 days.) I would like to see some more detail in Brad Wall’s numbers of Alberta teachers being laid off, as they commonly lay off new teachers after mass hiring blocks. This is not a new practice

  181. Mark permalink
    May 9, 2011 11:02 pm

    As it seems we are all talking in circles now, I would assume that there are two polar opposite sides to this argument that will never persuade each other. I would however suggest that people not directly involved in the process keep their noses out. I have not been a part of your hiring process, performance evaluations, management or directly involved in determining your family well being. Leave mine to be determined by the people who you elected and the Saskatchewan Teacher Federation. I would still like to shame the government for using tax payers money to put different groups against each other. This is Canada and I would never have guessed that so many people would have such harsh feelings for an organization that everyone has gone through.

    • Mark permalink
      May 9, 2011 11:12 pm

      I will continue to defend my profession and will continue to let the teeth bite the hand that feeds.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 10, 2011 10:08 am

      If we were talking about a private business making widgets, then your point would be valid.
      However, teachers are government employees whose salary comes from taxes paid by Saskatchewan residents and your job is to teach the children of Saskatchewan.

      Since I pay taxes and your salary comes from taxes, I am directly involved.
      Since my children attend public school, I am directly involved.

  182. Scott Down permalink
    May 10, 2011 5:23 am

    Mark: I support a pay increase for teachers for the most part (I don’t know have an opinion on the number, 5%, 12%… whatever, I have my own things to worry about), despite not having children. I generally don’t consider myself polarised. But this last comment – with the possible exception of “Doesn’t Matter” who can safely be ignored – is probably the least functional comment here. If yours is the prevailing attitude among teachers, it’s almost enough to make me remove my support for the teachers.

    To suggest that we are not directly involved in the process simply because we pay for it is tantamount to saying that you’re not directly involved simply because you’re paid by it. It’s no less ‘just money’ for me as it is ‘just money’ for you. And don’t forget that an increase in your lifestyle comes and the expense of my lifestyle. I’m not going to get a 12% pay increase over the next 3 years, so you’re essentially telling me that what you do is more important than what I do. Considering that you don’t know what I do, that’s pretty glib.

    If the best that the Teachers’ side can offer is “sit down, shut up, and let the adults deal with it”, then I will officially switch my hesitant support for teachers to an unhappy but resolute call for teachers’ pay decreases. I don’t have children whose future you can hold ransom. While schools offer defensible benefits, they are hardly the only way forward. Maybe it’s worth a discussion about whether we are getting our money’s worth?

    So, in fact, rather than ‘defending’ your profession, you’ve lost a confirmed supporter. Just thought you might want to know…

  183. concerned parent permalink
    May 10, 2011 6:56 am

    Mark,

    Fascinating. Do I read correctly that you believe that the government is using tax payer money to polarize the public? Now, I rarely ever side with the government on anything but this time…

    Did the government lock children out of the classroom?

    My advice to the Saskatchewan government bargaining committee: allow teachers the time to keep talking; they seem to be consistently undermining their own position.

  184. saskteacher permalink
    May 10, 2011 8:06 am

    I welcome healthy discussion, I think it is warranted given that our jobs involve the public more so than other professions. I thank the users of this forum who may have disagreed with me, but have been civil and have shown class through this debate (for the most part this is almost all of you). While Mark may have come off a little harsh in his last post, I can empathize with how difficult it is to read some of the posts people have been making. Over the past couple of weeks I have read on message boards (not necessarily this one…they are all becoming somewhat of a blur to me now) that because I am a teacher I am worthless, I am a parasite, I am lazy, useless, I hate children, I don’t care about children, I’m a waste of life, I should quit my job. I believe comments like this are extremely hurtful and uncalled for. We can have a debate, and I welcome you to disagree with my side (you are entitled too). But I would NEVER say some of the things I have heard pointed directly at me or my profession to another human being. After being beaten down by some of these comments, though I do not necessarily agree with Mark’s approach, I can understand it.

    • Scott Down permalink
      May 10, 2011 1:05 pm

      I’m sympathetic to hurtful comments. I don’t know you, but I’d be very surprised if you didn’t care about the children you teach. I’m disappointed to hear that people would call you worthless or parasitic. Some teachers probably are lazy, but that would be more a function of their personality than their occupation.

      But I wonder if part of the problem doesn’t stem from the lifestyle associated with teaching as a speciality. Don’t be disappointed that others can’t empathise with your inability to understand “if you don’t like it, (just) get another job”. For the vast majority of us, this is a common, no-big-deal approach to life. Where for most teachers there is a personal tie with colleagues, students, and even parents, the rest of us live in a world where business is meant to be impersonal.

      That tension can lead to impasse when these kinds of discussions are underway. There is confusion as to whether the ‘fight’ is ‘just’ about money or something more (or something less). You’ll have to forgive those of us who see strike action as an act borne of entitlement – when we hear complaints that teachers aren’t making a proper salary, the implication is that the rest of us are. I have an honour’s degree, I have four years experience, I had a hard time finding work, and then when I hated the job I finally did get I had a harder time finding other work, and I had to take a pay cut. But I didn’t have the option of walking out on thousands of students leaving them and their parents holding the bag. You’ve asked for our empathy, and I can offer it in some ways, but maybe you can empathise with us too. I’m sure most teachers do work hard for their money, I’m sure that some have a hard time making ends meet. But this is a common experience. And sometimes it seems like teachers have a hard time understanding that. Life is hard for the vast majority of us most of the time.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 10, 2011 7:02 pm

      Scott,
      I sympathize with you as well…but if when you took this pay cut, or when you were unhappy with your job, if you had an organization coming to you saying “I’m going to bargain to get you 12% more pay next year because you deserve it, you continue working, I’ll do this for you”…would you vote yes to support that organization? I believe most of us would if presented with this opportunity, the difference is, not everyone has this opportunity. However, if you do not work for a union you have the ability to negotiate for yourself as often as you like.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 10, 2011 7:05 pm

      My husband was in this similar position a few years back when he was unhappy with his pay and his job. His friends and him started leaving to other jobs, and soon the company was forced to look at wages. One of his friends who still works for the company just received a 20% raise this year because a group of them banned together and forced the company to look at why their best and brightest were leaving for greener pastures. This happens in the private sector as well, the difference is when teachers do it, unfortunately children are affected.

  185. Casey permalink
    May 10, 2011 2:56 pm

    What a ridiculous statement. “You’ll have to forgive those of us who see strike action as an act borne of entitlement – when we hear complaints that teachers aren’t making a proper salary, the implication is that the rest of us are.” You have the right to ask for a better wage just as I do and the teachers do. That doesn’t mean that they don’t think others deserve their wages. Seriously, I don’t remember any other occupation saying they would take a 0% increase because of how badly things were going in the province. Tell me how that ties into the feeling of entitlement. Perhaps when our teachers move to another province or into another job, as it has been suggested they do, there will be an opening for you and your honour’s degree.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 10, 2011 9:16 pm

      Lots of people work for years without a raise. I don’t believe anyone deserves a raise simply for lasting another year at a job.

    • Scott Down permalink
      May 11, 2011 4:51 am

      So… you didn’t read what I said? I’m on your team there Casey. I’m willing to support a teacher pay increase. I just won’t tolerate poor arguments even if I support their cause.
      My, clearly failed, attempt was to show both sides of the argument. To show that empathy is required from both sides if we expect to move forward.
      My reference to my honour’s degree was simply to show that I have similar education to a basic teacher – not to brag or to be a big shot. The University Program has been sidetracked from education to commodity for a lot longer than I’ve been a part of it. But Leanne said:

      “Teachers are required to have a four year degree to teach and yet they continue to make less then plumbers,nurses, electricians etc all who have little training as many nurses are not degree nurses they only have 2 years of training. Pay isn’t dependent on years at university I agree but teachers have to have a degree to teach.”

      So I thought it relevant to point out that while teachers might earn less than those who have little training, they earn more than others with equivalent training. If we are all going to measure ourselves against nurses, it’s going to be a long day! As for plumbers and electricians, their salaries are set a lot more directly through supply and demand variables. I don’t mean to suggest this is ‘better’, but it’s a lots simpler.

      As to your suggestion that “you don’t remember any other occupation saying they would take a 0% increase because of how badly things were going in the province,” well, you contradict your own comment. I took a pay cut (which, if my grade six math is up to snuff, is less than 0%, and if my university maths are up, is a real loss, not just a nominal loss). I’m another professional.

      But if you don’t understand that when I say: “I’m willing to pay teachers more”, I’m actually saying: “I’m willing to take a bigger chunk of my lower salary to pay teachers”. When I don’t feel like that’s acknowledged, and when I’m told that this doesn’t directly affect me and that I should let the government and the STF discuss it, I recognise that as entitlement.

  186. Ryan permalink
    May 10, 2011 8:35 pm

    I haven’t posted in a few days, and when this thread dies, I’m sure I won’t be back. Not because the discussions aren’t interesting, because they are (enough, I guess). I just get tired of people spinning and concluding without much sense of reality, and I get the impression that there are a lot of opinions here without much to support them.

    The biggest difference, under the social microscope, between teachers and other professions is that everyone in society believes they have the inside scoop on what it means to be a teacher because they spent 12 years as a student, or they attend school functions as a parent. They feel qualified to challenge the teaching profession based on their own experiences and expectations. For nurses, this would be like having to explain and defend your entire profession to a patient who doesn’t like the lack of attention you’ve been giving them. Or armchair quarterbacks who, in theory, definitely could have coached their team to the Grey Cup.

    I will admit to having little real insight into anyone else’s job (although I did excel in the NEPS for one year before quitting because I had more anatomy and physiology education than my instructor, but was denied credit for the introductory class). I don’t value my position more than anyone else’s – I’ve been raised to believe that there is honour and respect due to any honest job. I am fortunate enough to have very good friends from garbagemen to miners to tradesmen to engineers to lawyers, doctors, MLA’s and everything in between. I do not devalue any of their jobs (although a part of me realizes that every single one of them is paid more than I am.)

    My approach, or rationalization for improved compensation for teachers is not a rant against any other profession (I don’t disagree with the argument that compares teachers to MLA’s or nurses – it just isn’t a necessary one). My thinking follows the following logic; if there is a statement that others disagree with, they are entitled to their own logic. We are a diverse and accepting country.

    1. Education benefits all individuals and all societies in which they live. It is the backbone of quality health, financial success, and societal growth (be it in the arts or sciences).
    2. Investment in education demonstrates its value as a societal resource, and encourages others to pursue learning, which in turn, benefits the society.
    3. Quality education requires direction, goal setting, support, and specialized instruction.
    4. Most individuals lack the ability, time or interest to be able to provide quality education for their families, and so employ someone else to do so: a teacher.
    5. To be of great benfit to society, then, teachers must provide the highest quality of service possible to that society. This is why there are professional standards associated with teaching.
    6. To obtain the highest quality of teaching service possible, a society must make the teaching profession attractive to individuals who could and would otherwise pursue alternate goals.
    7. Teachers should not, however, demand or expect compensation such that their customers – the general public – are unable to pay, or that doing so ceases to be of benefit to the society.

    This leads to my last few points and the current social problem:

    8. In times of prosperity and growth, the role of teacher must prosper and grow as well; and, in times of decline, the teacher must accept that their service, though arguably more needed than ever, cannot be rewarded as well as in times of prosperity.
    9. In times of hardship, teachers have, usually with no argument, accepted declines in financial compensation.
    10. This is a time of great growth and prosperity. Many others have shared in the wealth. Teachers should not be discluded from this because to do so is to create a decline in education, and ultimately, a decline in growth and prosperity.

    As far as the question of why Saskatchewan teachers deserve to maintain ranking behind, say, Alberta, and ahead of others – the question should be tied directly to what the society can afford. Go too high, and the public will be unable to afford their services (see: Alberta layoffs). Go too low, and the profession declines in numer and quality (see: brain drain in every sector). Look at Saskatchewan’s growth and prosperity compared to other provinces… that’s about where the public sector should rank. Including, and in some ways moreso, teachers – to ensure continuation of growth in the future.

  187. Lenora permalink
    May 10, 2011 9:04 pm

    You have all made good agruments for your cause. I will still be on the side of no increases to teachers. Teachers make a very nice wage for 10 months of the year. I agree that if the Saskatchewan economy is basking in a wealthy period right now it should be used to benefit the Saskatchewan people. I suggest that money that would go to teacher increases be used for more important causes that also have an impact on education. For instance Autism programming. Saskatchewan is dead last in Canada when it comes to Autism. The waitlists are horrific and the resourses are very poor. There was money set aside in the last budget to help families offset the incredible costs associated with their autistic children, but that pretty much is just a Christmas Card Fund. I believe it was $3 million. That would cover one autistic child for its lifetime. Very sad. The millions of dollars that would be going to teachers salaries if an agreement was reached could have gone to someone who has had to put their house on remortgage or has borrowed every penny that they could to get their child the help that is needed to not become a burden on society. I would like to see Saskatchewans wealth help people who really need it.

  188. concerned parent permalink
    May 10, 2011 9:46 pm

    To clear up a few things regarding the private sector:

    Lots of people are faced with a 0% increase – or worse – when times are tough. Lots of people do not have the same standard of living as they did 20 or 30 years ago. Lots of people are expected to increase output with no extra resources. Lots of people work an incredible amount of hours for no extra pay and then still figure out a way to volunteer in their communities.

    Just because their stories aren’t on the front page doesn’t mean they aren’t happening every day.

    My organization’s hiring policies, progressive discipline, and training are evaluated everyday – by you, the consumer. You tell me all about what you think by how you choose to spend your dollars. I have no choice but to perform – always. You don’t care about how much effort it took me to design my product or train my people or create the infrastructure so that you can shop online in your jammies. You have zero empathy when I miss a delivery date because of a freak snowstorm in Nebraska that stopped the truck that was carrying necessary raw materials. You have no idea that the person taking your order just had her appendix out and because we don’t have sick days had to drag herself to work, but you’re pretty upset that she didn’t answer your call on the second ring. You have never considered that my competitors don’t have to obey the same environmental laws or pay the same payroll taxes, yet you expect my product to cost less than something made in China and my service to be better.

    I can accept all of this and more because I absolutely love what I do and I am good at it. I have to be or I wouldn’t survive.

    All I ask is that when public sector employees form the evidence to support a request for a wage increase, that it be well reasoned (such as Ryan’s May 10th 8:35 pm post – probably the best, well thought out argument for teacher salary increases I have every heard). The “poor me” arguments are just too tough to take.

  189. Ryan permalink
    May 10, 2011 9:49 pm

    I admire your interest in your cause, Lenore. It is a worthy pursuit to ease the burdern on children and families who suffer from autism. Unfortunately, your own argument contradicts your position. In addition to the many autistic children attending public school (ranging from low to high functioning autism), teachers are expected to address the individualized needs of other sufferers of pervasive developmental disorders like Asperger’s Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, as well as the more typical students and gifted students in the classroom. Teachers are no longer respected for teaching from a single curriculum. We are expected to create individualized learning programs for all students.

    You have turned your nose at a $3 million allocation of funds for autistic children, but would deny 12% improved funding ($64 million) to the teachers of most of those children, as well as a far larger (albeit less needy) larger population of students. The entire Austism Spectrum Disorder is believed to affect about 1 in 100 people in Canada, with approximately 1 in 450 requiring special needs designation, and 4 or 5 in 10000 requiring institutional care.

    So what would be of greatest benefit to society, and what would be of greatest benefit to your cause?

    On another note, in the ongoing (but as previously stated, unnecessary) debate about whether it is fair to compare teachers to nurses, please direct yourself to this website:

    http://www.sun-nurses.sk.ca/Students/SUN%20handout%20for%20career%20fairs.pdf

    Pay particular attention to the expected roles of an RN, and compare them to a teacher. Education, addressing special needs, and crisis intervention are a regular part of a teacher’s role, too, as is community involvment, coaching, mentoring, counselling, evaluation, and a rather high social responsibility to reward, encourage and direct our youth. We do not participate in surgeries, ER’s or the ICU, nor do we conduct blood transfusions or deliver babies. These are the nursing roles that deserve more compensation than other nurses and many others, including teachers. But, thanks to the union (SUN), the requirements set the compensation, not the quality of the nurse or even (to some extent) the education: LPN’s (65 week course straight out of high school) make close to 90% of the RN wage. Both move to the top of the pay scale in 5 years, as compared to 15 for teachers. Full time yearly hours for an RN are a maximum of 40 in SK, 36 in BC, and any hours above this are compensated with overtime pay.

    Let the outrage begin.

    • Doesnt Matter permalink
      May 12, 2011 12:03 am

      Hold on.. So, instead of sending that 64 million right to the autistic childrens parents, and helping them directly, you would want to send it to the teachers that arent helping those kids in the first place because its a general ‘option’? Hmmm…..

    • Ryan permalink
      May 12, 2011 3:49 pm

      To Doesn’t Matter,

      A nice attempt to spin my words, but you know that isn’t what I said. I was saying that a $3 million dollar investment for a very small number of people shouldn’t be dismissed as a trifling amount in the same breath that $64 million is labeled a ridiculously large amount. The value changes by a factor of 21, but the number of people affected changes by a factor somewhere between 100 and 1000. Teachers work with autistic students on a daily basis. Before achieving my education degree, I worked as a TA in Saskatoon Public with two students who were very low-functioning autistics. Their parents were incredibly grateful for the quality of care, guidance and education provided to their students, as well as for the break they got at home while their kids were at our school. Since job satisfaction, value and appreciation feel as low as ever, it might be that improved compensation for teachers could motivate teachers to continue the level of care they currently provide, rather than potentially walk away from a rewarding profession.

  190. Doesnt Matter permalink
    May 12, 2011 12:08 am

    Also, I am sorry for my rant/rage I had earlier.
    BUT, despite my outburst many of you teachers are telling people like me to grow while in the same breath making snide remarks that are just childish. Like (paraphrasing) “Some comments that are just not worth reading” while pointing out my username. Sorry, but do you want me to sugar coat everything? You spend a lot of time on here telling us of all the crap you put up with, but disregard what I said because it wasnt all happy-go lucky? Again, i apologize, but I am not going to sugar coat everything for you. I am 32 years old, as im sure many of you teachers are around my age, so were all adults. Dont get so butthurt when I say I dont support your cause at all.

  191. natasha permalink
    May 13, 2011 7:50 am

    The bottom line is that we expect more from teachers than most professions. Most jobs end at a specific time, but with teachers they are held under a social contract to act a certain way. A teacher can lose their job if they post risky pictures on facebook, get drunk and get in a fight at a bar, etc. These are all real examples. My job ends when I leave the office. After that I can do whatever I want. We hold teachers under our microscope scrutinizing them and if they step out of line, we are quick to make value statements. These people work hard for our kids. Are our kids not worth it??
    I guess I am having a hard time understanding why everyone is an expert on teacher wages. Is it that people are so unsatisfied with their own jobs and pay? If our province is “booming” as the politicians are quick to say, why is it unreasonable that teachers get a piece of the action. Correction workers, MLAs, nurses, out of scope healthcare workers have benefited. Why not teachers?? Or maybe the nay sayers just like to criticize and claw people down for their own satisfaction. Teacher are an easy target, aren’t they?
    Remember people, we are talking about 12,000 people who help our children succeed in life. You may think, “yah right, my child succeeds because of me and my almighty think influence”. Think again and do some research.
    Also think of the impact teachers are making in community schools(inner city) in the province. Many children have less opportunity being successful, but luckily we have teachers who work hard to give them opportunities that they would not normally have.
    I don’t see very many private citizens reaching out to help less fortunate children read and write so that they have a better chance of graduating high school and becoming employed. It’s a shame really that there aren’t, but it is easy for those of us with $$ to not care. We just blame the victim!
    Teachers work hard and as an added bonus they care about what they do. They deserve everything they are asking for!!!

  192. settle it permalink
    May 16, 2011 9:45 am

    People “think” they are experts on teacher’s wages because those wages are paid by taxes. Many also think they are experts on the job because they attend or attended school. Unfortunately they are wrong on both accounts. Like anything else unless you have DONE THE JOB you are not really in a position to comment on what the job entails. I doubt many people tell their mechanics, bankers, doctors, lawyer, accountants etc. what their job involves and what they should be paid to do it.

    Take a look at the bigger picture in Saskatchewan right now. What’s happening with government contracts? They aren’t being settled in a reasonable time frame. Our government is refusing to negotiate. They put their “offer” on the table and then start running ads about how good it is. If their offers are so fair and reasonable, why aren’t these things settling? Why did teachers take a day without pay to go to rallies and meetings? Why is HSAS holding rotating strikes? BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO NEGOTIATE.

    I feel bad for how the students may be affected. One day didn’t do damage to many, if any at all. If you were sick for a day, or buses couldn’t run due to weather or school was closed for another reason what would you do? Would you worry about the time lost or would you simply accept that you were going to have a little more homework?

    I personally believe another work to rule campaign needs to be done. Start it immediately and continue until this contract is signed. Striking will do nothing but anger parents and students. Refusing to do extra curricular time keeps kids in class, still allows them to EARN their diploma if they choose to do the work, but still has an impact.

    Also, if after 12 months of negotiating a contract isn’t settled no matter what group it’s for, I think it should be sent to binding arbitration… the government shouldn’t be allowed to say “no” to that like they are with HSAS and will no doubt do with the teachers if it comes to that.

  193. settle it permalink
    May 17, 2011 10:37 am

    Negotiating starts again today. Let’s see if the government position has moved at all or if they’re going to pull the same crap they are with HSAS. I’m thinkin’ it will be the second option.

    IF there is further job action, the Federation is required to give the school boards 48 hours notice. At that point, the school board gets the notice out to schools who pass it on to parents through notes home and updates on their websites. There’s also usually updates on School Division websites, on the radio and on the news on TV.

    If anyone isn’t aware of pending job action it’s because they are living in a cave.. and that’s their own choice. Parents should now be well aware that there are issues with negotiations, and it would be a good move to have a back up plan in place in the event of further job action.

  194. Michele permalink*
    May 17, 2011 10:59 am

    Let’s see if the union position has moved at all. Perhaps a multi-year contract so we don’t have to do this again for awhile?

    • settle it permalink
      May 17, 2011 11:49 am

      Actually it would be multi-year. They always sign a 3 year contract at the government’s request. They go in asking for big numbers over one year and settle for a smaller number over three.

      “We” don’t have to do this very often. How many people were even aware of the last 3 contracts being negotiated? The last time teachers did anything that affected students was in 2000 when they stopped doing extra curricular activities for about a month.

  195. Angry Student permalink
    May 19, 2011 7:23 pm

    16% is bulls**t.

    • natasha permalink
      May 20, 2011 5:09 pm

      !6% over 3 is not bulls**t, as you cogently and succinctly put it. All other unions, professional organizations, etc. have received much more. The nurses received 35% over 3. I’ll help you with that one– it’s nearly 12% per year.

      Does that give you some perspective? Imagine how bad your mathematical skills would be WITHOUT teachers!

    • Angry Student permalink
      May 27, 2011 10:04 pm

      Nurses save lives, teachers don’t.

  196. Student permalink
    May 19, 2011 8:17 pm

    I have been hearing from my teachers that if they didnt settle things today (which they didnt) that theres a good chance of a walkout next week…

  197. Student permalink
    May 19, 2011 9:34 pm

    Yes most likely! It might not start until wednesday though cause they have to give that 48 hour notice thing.

  198. settle it permalink
    May 19, 2011 9:50 pm

    Wait.. the government offered 5.5% over three years.. again? Or is that still? So they came back to the table with the same offer they had before.

    I better look back and see if that’s what it was before.. I cannot believe they would try that.

    As for job action I would think perhaps extra curricular may be pulled, but students would still have the opportunity to finish the requirements for a grade 12 diploma. No, Michele grade 12 teachers can’t be deemed essential.

    “The essential services legislation applies to unionized workplaces that provide a public service and includes four categories:

    • Danger to life, health or safety;
    • Destruction of equipment or premises;
    • Serious environmental damage; and
    • Disruption of the courts.”

    http://www.gov.sk.ca/news?newsId=21967d40-6c5a-4249-ab2d-a56df4bbe0f1

  199. Michele permalink*
    May 19, 2011 9:57 pm

    I know that they can’t be deemed essential. That’s why I put it in quotes. However, I believe that the STF could treat them as if they were. In other words, everyone could strike except for those teachers who are teaching courses required for grade 12 students to graduate. They could make their point and inconvenience a lot of people without harming students planning to graduate this spring.

  200. settle it permalink
    May 19, 2011 10:19 pm

    Oh don’t worry.. the government is already working with the school boards to start the public outcry. That’s why I firmly believe that exams will happen. Besides that, teachers don’t want to prevent Seniors from finishing their year.

    I guess we’ll see. There’s what.. 5 1/2 weeks left in the school year? I don’t think they’ll pull services now. Maybe one more day but I can’t see a full out strike. They would be cutting their own throats.

  201. Student permalink
    May 19, 2011 11:12 pm

    The 5.5 was from before. Their new offer they have refused to release to the media… Yet which is a bit suspicious. I would like to find out what they offered this time. Dont count out strike cause my teachers were making plans for final projects but were telling us they think there might be a walk out still, so dont think that the plans for finals are for sure yet. 1 teacher even said today that if the negotiating didnt go well there was a good chance of a strike next week.

  202. Student permalink
    May 19, 2011 11:21 pm

    Just found out that the goverment DID make the exact same offer of 5.5% over 3 years! All I have to say is WOW!

  203. settle it permalink
    May 20, 2011 7:06 am

    I’ve heard suggestions of one more day. I hope that’s all it is but I will be completely honest in saying that I wouldn’t blame them if they walked. And… we rely on that income.

    This government is getting away with too much with too many groups. HSAS’s hands are pretty much tied.. the teachers aren’t. What is it going to take to convince Brad Wall’s cronies to actually bargain? Coming back to the table with the same offer is pure BS and nothing but a media game.

    • natasha permalink
      May 20, 2011 5:11 pm

      They’re completely inexperienced, as one can tell from virtually every press release they’ve done. They simply have the luxury of coming into power when the province’s natural resources are being exploited.

  204. settle it permalink
    May 20, 2011 7:15 am

    “1 teacher even said today that if the negotiating didnt go well there was a good chance of a strike next week.”

    As a parent I would be unimpressed with things like this being said in discussion with students at this time. Unless they know for sure which direction this is going, don’t spread fear. The STF has not said where they will go from here.

  205. Student permalink
    May 20, 2011 8:37 am

    STF announced this morning they will go on a 2 day strike next wednesday and thursday.. (of course right in the middle of the week) So there going to be regular school Tuesday and Friday.

    • student permalink
      May 20, 2011 4:26 pm

      Why in the middle of the week, why not Thursday/Friday? Do they have ANY consideration for us as students? As a grade 12 student, I don’t feel my graduation should be cancelled or that I should have to be put into summer chool. As a child with some physical disabilities, I get that they do a lot, but I worked my arse off to get here as well. If they really cared they wouldn’t be jeapordizing our ability to graduate.

    • Angry Student permalink
      May 20, 2011 4:45 pm

      No, they don’t have any consideration about us as students. All they care about is their money.
      I hope the government forces the teachers back to work and refuses to give them any pay raise.

    • natasha permalink
      May 20, 2011 5:16 pm

      I think the whole point of a strike is to disrupt regular services. But, since you are obviously too young to actually hold a job, I understand why this subtlety is lost on you.

    • sick of it all permalink
      May 20, 2011 9:47 pm

      Natasha – does age really matter and HOW do YOU know they don’t have jobs…show some respect!!

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 23, 2011 11:54 pm

      Grade 12 grads are on fridays….we do have respect for students. We are trying to make as little disruption as possible while still standing up for our profession. We have given notice, we have tried as much as possible to be reasonable and respectful pf our students and communities. Unfortunately we cant stand by while the government disrespects us by inviting us back to the bargaining table and not willing to budge on their offer. THIS is a waste of taxpayer dollars and government employees time. We have proven that we are willing to move in our negotiations. The government has not. We have asked for binding arbitration, the government has refused…its time to look at the big picture here. we are not the enemies.

  206. settle it permalink
    May 20, 2011 9:14 am

    The STF announcement of whatever they’re doing is at 11:00. CKOM “received” a document earlier this morning.

    I think it would be kind of funny if the received document is off base.. but I doubt it.

  207. Student permalink
    May 20, 2011 5:18 pm

    @ angrystudent i agree with you exept that if the goverment tried to do that it would for sure be a walkout and things would get a lot worse..

    • sick of it all permalink
      May 20, 2011 7:44 pm

      I just WISH that they would get their heads on straight and come to some sort of agreement – the kids are frustrated and upset! We’re teaching our children if you don’t get your way to stop talking and walk out – REALLY GREAT!!!! I don’t want to HEAR anymore about teacher’s babysitting – I’m sick to death of hearing that!! I pay taxes for YOU to educate my children and if it’s not enough for you then move ON!!! Sorry but this should have been solved already!

      I’ve read all of the comments on alot of blogs and maybe some teacher is going to be nasty and comment on my spelling or grammar but seriously how is “BULLYING EACH OTHER” going to solve this situation.

      I think most teacher’s are amazing but some REALLY suck and I think they should be evaluated on job performance individually – I know we have teacher’s at our school that don’t deserve anything at this moment. My children should not be anxious and upset over this stupid WAR!!

      Have at “er people I know you have comments you’re just dying to add.

      PS Let’s take note of AB’s situation since this seems to be the most talked about…how about the fact they make more money but are LAYING OFF their teachers!!! Get this over with and move on to the next one in line!!!!!

    • Student permalink
      May 20, 2011 8:09 pm

      I like the idea of evaluating teachers individually! Theres defiantly a few teachers in my school that dont deserve a raise at all and then some I feel do need a raise.

  208. student permalink
    May 20, 2011 8:31 pm

    @Natasha

    I actually do have a job. I’m in grade 12.

  209. sick of it all permalink
    May 20, 2011 9:53 pm

    2 day strike now – where will this take us???

  210. settle it permalink
    May 20, 2011 10:54 pm

    sick of it all, have you written your MLA and suggested the government get on with it?

    They did NOT move, THEY are not bargaining. The teachers have come forward with two offers, both rejected. What has the government done to get things moving? Not a damn thing.

    • Student permalink
      May 20, 2011 11:58 pm

      Exactly! I mean who comes back to the bargaining table with the same offer?!

  211. Ryan permalink
    May 21, 2011 11:29 am

    What a buzz!

    To the parents in an uproar about a couple of days, I say: lol. Your argument thread has gone something like this

    1. If you don’t like it, quit.
    2. Ack! Without you, life sucks! *I* don’t want to take care of my kids, and I certainly can’t educate them!
    3. Go back to work for what you were getting, you sods!

    Get your facts straight: teachers went from 12% per year to 5.4% in the first year, and resumed a new negotiation starting at the same increase for two years after that. The government responded by increasing their offer from 1.8% per year for three years to 2.02% for three years. The teachers then suggested BINDING SALARY ARBITRATION by a third party, mutually agreed upon. The government refused again.

    Yes, the teachers are striking, but they aren’t the cause of your worries. Remember, as long as the government was willing to bargain in good faith, the teachers were at school and working. Services have been withdrawn because the government isn’t worried, which forces teachers to give them something to worry about.

    Where does the real problem lie?

    • Michele permalink*
      May 21, 2011 11:53 am

      Here’s the interesting thing, Ryan: the parents that I’ve spoken with in real life (as opposed to the comments here) are not in an uproar. We’re mostly just resigned to altering our schedules as needed.

      I haven’t heard anyone say that the government should give in.

      I have heard people say that the teachers are asking for too much.

      I have heard people say that a merit pay system is needed.

      So, go ahead and take a few more days off without pay. I hope that you’re not holding your breath and waiting for a groundswell of support from parents because I don’t think it’s coming.

    • natasha permalink
      May 28, 2011 9:55 am

      Right on Ryan! That is exactly the message I have been hearing too.

  212. r.e. permalink
    May 21, 2011 8:01 pm

    just throwing this out there. interesting that the catholic system in saskatoon has a common dismissal day this upcoming friday. I wonder if that had any affect on the choice of strike days?

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 24, 2011 6:37 pm

      most school division’s don’t have this friday “off” (I use off in quotations as it is a work day for teachers, not students)
      We have been asked by our communities and by the government to not interfere with grade 12 grads (likely because Brad Wall’s daughter is in grade 12) and so far we have been able to honor that.

    • Angry Student permalink
      May 27, 2011 10:06 pm

      Or because he cares about the grade 12’s and all students more than you and your union(sorry, Federation) care about the students.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 27, 2011 11:43 pm

      Angry student,
      don’t for a second think any politician cares about you or your graduation. They care about the betterment of their political agenda with an election right around the corner and the cheapest possible way out of a negotiation. If the government really did not want you to suffer, they would bargain in good faith the whole way through. as long as we are at the bargaining table there is no need to strike.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 28, 2011 9:46 am

      All of the unions and federations (ha!) are also focused on the fall election. We can all expect strike threat after strike threat after strike threat until the fall election. The goal is to take down the Sask Party and reinstate the NDP government. The same government under which teachers accepted much smaller increases than they are currently asking for. Coincidence?

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 28, 2011 10:00 am

      no, not a coincidence. We would have been happy to settle last May, a year and a half away from the provincial election. It is in teachers’ best interest to settle a contract as soon as possible. if we wait until the end of the school year it is very likely we will receive 0% for the whole 2010-2011 school year. Also, negotiations for teachers happen every 3rd year while elections typically happen every 4 years…teacher negotiations do not always line up with elections. in this case it didnt line up either, it was just prolonged for almost a year thorough out the negotiation process. Teachers’ first concerns are to be paid competitively, not to advocate for a political agenda.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 28, 2011 10:01 am

      haha woops, I mean yes, a coincidence

    • Michele permalink*
      May 28, 2011 10:27 am

      You were correct the first time.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 28, 2011 11:38 am

      Michele,
      I am trying my best to inform you from the perspective of someone who is actually a part of the bargaining process and has information that you do not. I have been completely honest in all of my posts as I think it important for the public to have a clear picture as to what is happening. I can tell you with 100% certainty, we have not drawn out this process to purposely effect graduations, or to bring the timeline of negotiations closer to the election. it is 100% in teachers’ best interest to accept a contract sooner rather than later, as we risk losing back pay the longer we wait and getting nothing for the 2010-2011 school year.

    • Angry Student permalink
      May 30, 2011 7:38 pm

      Michelle is right.

  213. Michele permalink*
    May 21, 2011 8:36 pm

    Are you sure that it’s next week? Yesterday was a common dismissal day in the Catholic schools.

    I’m curious if the teachers knew that the city track meet would have to be cancelled.

    • student permalink
      May 21, 2011 11:37 pm

      Yes, Michele, they do according to SaskatoonHomepage.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 24, 2011 12:01 am

      we have been asked by our community and our government to not interfere with grade 12 graduations, which are on fridays. So far we have been reasonable and have been able to accommodate that, as grade 12 grads started in early may I believe. We are trying to be reasonable here, but we can’t do nothing.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 24, 2011 2:05 pm

      Will students still be able to graduate on time if they miss too many days of school due to the strike?

      When are final exams?

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 24, 2011 6:41 pm

      It will not be up to teachers, that is a school board decision. The school boards set the exact number of days that need to be fulfilled in a school year. Our school board has set this number of days at 197. Other provinces are required by their school boards to teach less than us (195 days I believe?)…chances are if the strike does not last long then we will still end the year the same date planned, but this is a school board decision, so I’m not sure what they will decide. Since there has never been a teacher strike in Saskatchewan (removal of all services) there isn’t really anything in place for this.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 24, 2011 6:41 pm

      and final exams are typically the last week of school

  214. Lgd permalink
    May 23, 2011 6:59 pm

    My husband and I are both teachers. We have a family of five and live in a rural community. Our life is pretty reasonable. We don’t drive new vehicles or go on yearly winter vacations. But after 11 years we have saved up enough to go to Disney World and our kids can take part in pretty much any extra-curricular activity they choose. When the teachers first went into negotiations I felt sick about the idea of going on strike because my short sighted, selfish view could only see that we would suffer financial strain. We are now telling our kids that this month they will not be able to take part in some things that we took for granted before. I have come to realize that this is much bigger than the immediate. When we step outside of ourselves we can see that this is important to the future of education. It is important that the wages of education at least meet the cost of living rises if we want our future children to be educated by quality people. Quality people have many options. So when looking at a career choice we want education to be an option where you can raise a family and live comfortably. If teacher wages are not competitive to other professions we will lose quality people. I know that my future grandchildren deserve a fantastic teacher! The government needs to look beyond the immediate and invest in a ‘future of quality education’. I pray that things get settled quickly.

  215. student permalink
    May 24, 2011 4:19 pm

    Now they won’t even gaurntee we can graduate. Nice.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 24, 2011 6:43 pm

      don’t worry, you’ll graduate. your “graduation ceremony” might be effected, or it may be possible that a few days may need to be made up at he end of the school year (doubt it) but you will graduate

  216. tricia permalink
    May 24, 2011 8:08 pm

    Teachers do not deserve a raise. Majority of the teachers do not spend extra time before or after school doing prep work, many of the teachers leave the school the minutes the buses leave the parking lots. Besides they now get prep days and early dismissal at least once a month to do prep work. They chose this profession and should have realized there is prep work to do as well as extra curricular activities. A good teacher is there because they enjoy the job and the students. Does anyone think the teachers will strike and ruin their summer holidays, I doubt it….

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 24, 2011 8:30 pm

      no one strikes on their holidays…no one. the point is that no one would notice. The whole point of a strike is to put pressure on the government. If we strike on our holidays, there is no pressure, it makes no difference. Also, I am a teacher…I have taught in 5 different schools in 3 different school divisions. I know a few teachers who leave after the bell, but you better believe they are taking work home with them. Sometimes teachers have to go pick up their kids from school, leave to another school for a meeting, leave to go to games they are coaching, but trust me when I saw we could not do our job if we were not putting in extra hours at home (or staying late if people don;t like to work at home). Sure, you are going to find one or 2 teachers along the way who put in the minimal effort (like any other job) put the vast majority of teachers go the extra mile. Even teachers who I do not think are great teachers put in a lot of extra time.

  217. tricia permalink
    May 24, 2011 10:02 pm

    but if the teachers do strike and have to make up for strike days they will have to work during the holidays (July or Aug.), the teachers won’t do this. Wages shouldn’t make quality teachers as stated by Lgd. Teachers have it too easy, we were in classrooms with 25 plus students, we used textbooks, teachers handwrote exams as there were no TAs or school secretaries, we respected our teachers and teachers respected the students. We also learned how to write letters, address envelopes, write resumes, learned proper grammar, capitalization, punctuation, now it seems more important that students learn how to cross country ski, golf, snowboard. If the students learn life skills they won’t be able to get a job therefore not be able to afford to do the recreation activities which were a priority in school. Do your jobs teachers, you chose it for a profession.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 24, 2011 10:43 pm

      Tricia,

      Congratulations on making it through your years of learning using chalk and slate. You unfairly make global statements regarding teachers based on arguments that Aristotle used to complain about subsequent generations. You are so ignorant of modern teaching practises that you don’t even realize that your own statements contradict your opinion:

      Firstly, hundreds of teachers work into their summers to mark departmental final exams. Others continue their own education, often at their own expense, to keep up on modern teaching practises and technologies. Still more find summer work to supplement their income. I have spent my summers cutting grass, breaking concrete, framing houses and doing many other handy jobs. I am not afraid to work in the summer, or any other season. I, too, am from a generation that prides itself on quality work and finishing the job. I would like to go back to the job I love, and excel at, and for which, over the years, I have saved hundreds of supportive cards and notes from parents and students. Why don’t I? Let me address the rest of your comments.

      You say I have it too easy, and list a variety of examples to prove your point. Twenty-five students in your classes? I had 38 eighth graders in my internship, 26 seventh graders in my first full-time job and 27 in my second full time year. When I began teaching at a high school, I had some classes that were smaller, and some as large as 30 (twice for history 30 – fairly intense marking requirements). At the same time, classrooms have been required (with excellent results in most cases) to integrate with all kinds of learners that your teachers never dreamed of teaching because they would have been institutionalized. Personal program planning for all of them a must! And, of course, school divisions began to strongly encourage teachers to move ahead students even if they seemed to be deficit in their learning. Being a good teacher, I made sure that even the weakest students set – and accomplished – goals that demanded the most from them that I could get. Your teachers likely complained about their weak students over smokes in the staff room. I don’t say that as a knock against them – it is a simple truth that evidences how things have changed.

      Textbooks can be great! But they’re expensive, and so, not so long ago, “resource-based learning” was introduced as a cost saving measure, wherein teachers created their own resources, often from scratch. You might think you understand the time and expense involved in this, but you don’t.

      You may or may not have noticed that this response is itself flawless, or at least close enough to attribute any errors to typoes rather than poor writing skills. Of course, it is possible that I used a word processing program with spellcheck or grammarcheck to assist me with it. Students are taught to improve their skills, but at the same time, to use technologies to assist when time and availability permit. This is a necessity; at the current pace of changing technology, teachers are preparing students for careers that do not even exist at this time. Moreso, most students who enter four-year post-secondary programs will find that the technologies and techniques they are taught in their first year are outdated by their fourth. Being resourceful and adaptive, creative and critical, is far more important than flawless spelling. Orson Welles once said that, “only the least creative people couldn’t think of at least two ways to spell a word.” You might remember him – he wrote a few famous books.

      Lastly, you discuss the use of fun physical activities – snowboarding, golfing, skiing – as detrimental to student learning. You are likely the product of a relatively affluent, academically oriented family. Congratulations on winning the birth lottery! Can you even begin to fathom what number of students today could never afford to experience activities like this on their own, or whose families would never spend their drug and alcohol money on their kids for this kind of reason? To some of these kids, these days are the “hook” that keeps them coming back to school; they realize that there is more to the world than their dirty, abusive household. I think a few days each year out of the established curriculum is a small price to pay for that kind of success.

      So ultimately, I have to thank you, Tricia. Your comments, made purely out of ignorance of the teaching profession, have provided me with a terrific teaching moment. It’s up to you to decide how blindly and hopelessly you want to cling to your false image of teaching as a profession that does less now than was previously true. Sure, I don’t sweep out the schoolhouse or arrive early to get the wood stove heated up, but I do more work today than at the beginning of my career.

      And I feel that with these added responsibilities, a reassessment of my salary is a legitimate request. I would be glad to submit to third party binding arbitration on salary. Will the government do so?

      Lastly, in case you believe that I have only a vague idea of my current profession compared to past ones, you should know that I am a teacher, both my parents were teachers, one of my grandparents taught industrial arts, and another was a substitute teacher. They, even more than me, find opinions like yours to be regrettably and laughably uninformed.

  218. r.e. permalink
    May 24, 2011 10:18 pm

    I’d like to see teachers focus on teaching. If the job is too much, then take away the parts of the job that are volunteer. Teach from 9 – 3:30, then have 90 minutes every day for professional development, prep time and all the other great things teachers do to make educational experiences rich and meaningful.

    If there is a real need for volunteer coaches, we will see community leaders take up the banner.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 24, 2011 10:39 pm

      I agree completely.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 24, 2011 10:54 pm

      Congratulations to both of you for agreeing on this idea.

      I like it too.

      I wonder how many students at inner city schools would jump on this bandwagon? I’m sure their parents are wondering how they could possibly volunteer their spare time to community events and recreational activities.

      Take your heads out of the suburbs. For each household making $100k per year, there are three making $30k. That’s how you arrive at household earning averages of $47k in Saskatchewan (2006).

  219. May 24, 2011 11:10 pm

    Two thumbs up to Ryan!! Might I add that skiing, golfing and any other sport/physical activity does fall under the cirriculum. Wellness and Physical Activity are quite pertinent to keeping healthy bodies and minds, which all children/teens need…Plus it is FUN.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 24, 2011 11:31 pm

      Those activities fall under the curriculum as part of normally scheduled physical education time, not extracurricular.

      Curricular = required
      extracurricular = volunteer

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 25, 2011 6:11 pm

      you say extracurricular is volunteer, however it is an expectation of our school board that every teacher volunteers. not really volunteer anymore is it? especially when it is a part of the interview process and beginning teachers are told if they do not volunteer for extracurricular they may not have their contract renewed the next year.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 25, 2011 10:39 pm

      I don’t know which school division you work in but at our local school there are definitely teachers who don’t do any extracurricular activities.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 26, 2011 5:09 pm

      they are probably tenured teachers who push back, but beginning teachers definitely have a lot of pressure to do extra curricular. I have had a superintendent personally tell me I need to do this if I want my contract renewed (at the time I was on a temporary contract). Also, two years ago when I was interviewed for another school division, extracurricular activities were a part of the interview in my hiring process. specifically, if I was hired, what extra curricular activities would I be volunteering for. I wonder if I would have got the job had I said “none”

  220. r.e. permalink
    May 25, 2011 7:38 am

    Ironically many of the activities that support inner city or community schools are already performed by volunteers and service groups. The inner city hockey and curling are all run by service clubs such as the kinsmen.

    How patronizing to think that because of their location parents would be less willing or able to be involved in their school community.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 25, 2011 4:38 pm

      No patronization intended – just some realism. The inner cities carry a significantly larger portion of single parent families, drug and alcohol addictions, domestic violence, gang activity, and crime than suburbs and rural areas.

      For most, taking little Timmy to hockey isn’t a priority.

      As for service clubs: I’m so grateful to them. It is unfortunate that the numbers of volunteers are shrinking. I wonder why?

  221. settle it permalink
    May 25, 2011 8:39 am

    r.e. what a great solution.

    Michele, Phys Ed class is only required up to grade 8 here. Skiing, golfing, football, soccer etc. are all EXTRA.

    To the student(s) who is/are being told by their teachers to expect more strike action or prepare to go without grad etc. .. get a hold of the STF about that. Teachers are absolutely NOT supposed to be doing that. They don’t even know what may happen next week, how can they talk about it in class.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 25, 2011 9:25 am

      Are high school coaches paid extra?

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 25, 2011 4:59 pm

      no highschool coaches are NOT paid at all

  222. May 25, 2011 9:55 am

    I have just started on this blog and as I am reading these comments, I am appalled at Ryan who is admittedly in our education system. Wow you are very condescending to other people and their opinions. Also, you have posted your opinions on days and times when you probably should be working if you are a teacher or if you have a 9-5 job in the educational system. With that being said, do your job instead of posting on this blog during business hours. If you were working for me, you would be not be allowed to waste my money by spending time on the computer for personal matters. Everyone is entitled to have opinions, please understand that.
    I have 2 children that are being affected by this strike action. I am not happy with this, and I believe there are other ways to deal with conflict without affecting the student’s and their education.
    As in every profession there are people who exceed the standards, people who meet the standards and people who fall below the standards. Let’s figure out what the teacher’s standards and expectations are so we have a guideline.
    Unions are good in some aspects but not in others. Especially for the people in the workplace who do fall below the workplace standards and guidelines. If so, they should not have the job and they should be fired. That is how it works in non-unionized business!
    In the future, I probably will make the teachers more accountable and ask more questions in regards to my children’s education. There are far too many students who enter into university in our province who fall below the expectations at the university level. And that is not acceptable in this day and age.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 25, 2011 12:58 pm

      S,

      You piqued my curiousity regarding posting. I lock my computer out during class hours unless students need it, so I didn’t see how I could possibly have been posting during class time. So I researched it, instead of going with a feeling. Here are my post times:

      Wed May 04 – 3:46pm
      Thu May 05 – 2:10 am
      – 3:43 pm
      – 5:31 pm
      *May 05 was not on the job – it was a “study day”

      Fri May 06 – 1:06 pm
      * My bell rang for lunch at 1:05pm. I apologize for using one minute of the school day as students filed in to my class to “send” my post. Since I’m working for you, S, I can refund you one minute of pay, divided by 700000 taxpayers… will you take a cheque for my fraction of a penny?

      Sat May 07 – 10:54 am
      – 4:59 pm

      Sun May 08 – 12:32 pm
      – 12:55 pm

      Tue May 10 – 8:35 pm
      – 9:49 pm

      Thu May 12 – 3:49pm

      Sat May 21 – 11:29 am

      Tue May 24 – 10:43 pm
      – 10:54 pm

      So… which days were you complaining about again? Maybe you’re intimidated by the fact that I can post – correctly – in a fraction of the time you take to do so. Did that sound condescending? Do you think teachers should treat you like you’re still in sixth grade? I’m a little tired of reading posts from people who decide they’re going to take the gloves off and show these teachers what is “true” without doing any research and without being able to support their opinions with demonstrable facts.

      If you had actually read the posts here, you would realize that a number of people have already stated that they’d like to see teacher evaluation procedures in place. They are. We have a professional organization that decides whether a teacher is doing his or her job, or not. Sending in non-teachers to make those decisions would be like sending in the fry guy to conduct home inspections. You, and others like you, believe you understand the teaching profession well enough to decide how well teachers are performing. You do not. You lack the formal education and experience to do so. That is not condescending, it is factual when applied to non-teachers. I have watched football all my life, but I could not step in to play or coach, and nobody in football cares what my opinion is. Similarly, I can complain about my doctor or about a police officer, or lawyer, and so on, but I do not decide their competence. Their own professional regulatory commissions and organizations do so, or in extreme cases, the courts.

      Why should I be less confident in the ability of my profession to regulate itself than any other?

      I read and post here to enter into constructive dialogue with most people. I read their comments, and I either accommodate for a change in my own perspective – the idea of completely withdrawing extra-curricular services seemed attractive for a while, until I considered the societal impact – or I refute, I hope with persuasive evidence, rumours or suggestions made with little thought or research.

      Whether or not it is politically and socially correct of me to say so, I am aware that I am unusually intelligent, highly educated, career driven, and passionate about the current and future state of
      my profession. If you want to debate with me, bring your “A” game. If you want to learn from me, then by all means ask questions and challenge the answers. My senior students in particular know that this is who I am, and they love it.

      Why should I treat you any gentler?

      P.S. – if you and I were in business together, you’d likely be working for me, not the other way around.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 25, 2011 1:28 pm

      Has anyone else been using your work computer?

    • Ryan permalink
      May 25, 2011 3:28 pm

      I’m sure they’re not, Michele. But I can imagine where you’re going with this. I do not shut my computer down, and I don’t necessarily log out of websites before locking it. Further, it is entirely possible that my ip has been active during school hours; for example, during schoolwide student assemblies. If that was the case, then any work that could have been completed at that time was completed later, but in a timely fashion. In absolutely any scenario that you or anyone else can imagine, my students and professional standing have come first – including strike time that was prepared for in advance.

      Satisfied?

    • Michele permalink*
      May 25, 2011 3:39 pm

      Actually, I’m not concerned about you posting during the school day. I assume that you have breaks like anyone else at a job. However, someone else has posted from your school ip address.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 25, 2011 4:33 pm

      Well, I’ll admit that catches me by surprise, which doesn’t happen too often.
      Of course, there are dozens of computers in the school, and they share ip’s – I don’t think they’re dynamic, but I don’t know that for sure. It stands to reason that someone else could have found your blog. That being said, because teachers are in a delicate spot right now, I post with some confidence in some small anonymity. If that is gone, I’ll have to stop posting.

      Thanks to everyone for your interesting and insightful comments. While I don’t agree with some of you on many things, it is still enlightening to see where people’s opinions come from.

  223. saskteacher permalink
    May 25, 2011 5:05 pm

    Ryan,

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with your posts. I have found them well written, well informed, and well thought out. Good on you.

  224. r.e. permalink
    May 25, 2011 9:54 pm

    Ryan,

    I agree that teachers are professionals, and if they wish to be like doctors, lawyers etc, they should establish and independent third party review mechanism, like an ombudsman that could hear complaints. The professional review board would me made up of professionals, who understand the profession, but are not in a conflict of interest position like a principal is.

    I would be interested to know what “professional organization that decides whether a teacher is doing his or her job, or not” you are referring to.

    It is ironic btw that principals who are effectively peers (I assume they are out on strike as well) are asked to be impartial evaluators of their staff.

    As for your comments about inner city parents, I am disappointed that you would make a generalization like that about inner city parents. Drug abuse, physical and sexual abuse are as prevalent in dual income families as they are in single parent. The difference is that there are more resources to ‘hide’ it. In my years of teaching I had issues with prescription abuse in very affluent neighborhood as i did with kids who were using street drugs in community schools.

    As for the social impact of the withdrawal of extra curricular. It would be interesting to see how many kids are involved in non school related extra curricular vs those in school driven extra curricular.

    And I am not an outsider, I’m a parent, I hold a professional ‘a’ teaching certificate and have 10 years experience.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 26, 2011 8:48 am

      I guess I can’t help but comment.

      Regarding the inner city statements: of course, there are problems everywhere. That being said, I stand by my comments for youth at risk. There is a greater proportion of at risk students attending schools in inner cities, for a variety of reasons. In addition, kids in suburban schools and rural schools who are equally affected by similar negative influences still have access to more resources, private as well as public. So inner city students really feel the impact of those teachers that get involved in their lives in a positive way. They also often have a much greater respect and appreciation for those teachers.

      Put another way, an inner city kid whose teacher yanks the basketball program is less likely to be able to pay for and play in a club league.

      As for teacher supervision and evaluation, I’ve detailed the evaluation program for my division in a previous post, but suffice it to say that evaluation occurs at the school level, school division and board level, and under certain circumstances, with the STF. As teachers demonstrate competency and professionalism, the level of direct evaluation cycles (in my division) or drops (in others), but if they are not behaving competently and professionally, certainly their performance is investigated and evaluated with greater scrutiny. If they are found to be lacking, they are compelled to make changes or face discipline. I know of at least one veteran teacher in a tenured position who was required to submit detailed lesson plans for every class, and to follow a strict evaluation and assessment schedule, to bring his teaching philosophies in to line with the school’s.

      The biggest flaw in the system, as you’ve pointed out, is using principals as direct third party supervisors. Here, there can be a conflict of interest, and when such a problem is identified, my understanding is that school board directors or superintendants are specifically asked to investigate. Unless I’m missing something, this is no different from any other professional organization or association… ?

      In any case, this thread is certainly changing from its initial position. Anybody who wants to research the professional evaluation system of teachers needs to inquire with their own school division. Maybe it even has a website where the information is available. And, the STF is a great resource too.

  225. settle it permalink
    May 26, 2011 12:52 pm

    Ryan I have found your posts to be very “real” I would think parents and students would appreciate the front line opinion so to speak.
    Let the whine fest begin now that extra curricular had been stopped. This could all havw been avoided if the govt had negotiated.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 26, 2011 1:40 pm

      This could have all been avoided had the teachers been more reasonable from the beginning.

      It works both ways.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 26, 2011 5:14 pm

      by reasonable Michele do you mean teachers should continue to accept offers that lowers and lowers their power and puts them farther below the cost of living in this province? We have been “reasonable” for over 75 years. Now we are standing up for what we believe in. when 95% of teachers are willing to give up their paychecks to strike, its a pretty clear indication that something is wrong with the system.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 26, 2011 6:05 pm

      Actually, Michele, it only works one way.

      When bargaining failed, conciliation was attempted.

      Then conciliation failed. Under the Education Act 1995, the natural course was to go to binding arbitration by a third party. This is NOT part of the Trade Union Act, but then, teachers aren’t part of a union. People who believe there is no difference don’t really understand the system. Regardless…

      The STF asked for binding salary arbitration by an independent, mutually agreeable third party. It was the government who refused. Since your stipulation is based on what is “reasonable”, I ask you to demonstrate how the government has been more reasonable than teachers.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 26, 2011 7:34 pm

      Ryan: Could you explain the difference between a federation and a union? I’ll put it up as a separate blog post if that’s okay with you.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 26, 2011 9:20 pm

      Think of it like this: the United States demands that the final authority for all Americans lies within the central government. This is a union. In Canada, the final authority for all Canadians is with the central (federal) government for some things, but remains in the hands of the province for others. This is a federation.

      A union directs its members in all affairs.

      A federation directs its members in some affairs, and allows local organizations to direct its members in other affairs.

      In Saskatchewan, unions are governed by the Trade Union Act.
      Teachers are governed by the Education Act.

      These acts are based on different fundamental operating principles, have different mandates, and require different procedures be followed under certain circumstances, the most relevant in our discussion being the collective bargaining procedure.

      You can read the differences yourself by referencing these links:

      http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/E0-2.pdf (sections 234 – 269, but pay attention to 243-244)

      http://www.qp.gov.sk.ca/documents/English/Statutes/Statutes/T17.pdf (sections 24-26)

      In a nutshell, both unions and the STF can collectively bargain, but the laws under which they do so, and with whom, and when, and how, as well as literally hundreds of other things, are completely different. It would take more time than I’m willing to spend to try to guess which of these each of your readers would find most relevant, so I leave it to you and others to read for yourselves.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 26, 2011 10:37 pm

      The United States of America is a federation so that example doesn’t really help.

      If teachers are members of a federation, can they choose to not participate in a specific work action?

      I understand that being in a federation as opposed to a union is different for the members of each but I don’t see that it makes much difference from my perspective.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 27, 2011 9:46 pm

      Michele, you asked a question to which you didn’t know the answer. I provided you with a simple analogy as a starting point, and direct links to all of the information you would need to answer the question yourself. I am a teacher, which means that my education is largely irrelevant, my expertise is mostly imaginary, my opinions self-serving, and my daily practises are those of someone who is completely incompetent (if I could do I would; I wouldn’t have to teach, right?).

      Again, unions have completely different laws governing how they are created, how they operate, and what function they serve their members. The fact that they have some things in common as well doesn’t mean they are the same. Dogs and cats both have pointy teeth, sharp claws, four legs and run faster than you, but they aren’t the same animal – even if, from your perspective, it doesn’t matter which one is eating you.

  226. r.e. permalink
    May 26, 2011 6:56 pm

    Ryan,

    Reasonable would have looked something like this from the teachers

    1. vote for sanctions
    2. remove all non classroom related duties ( i.e. extra curricular)
    3. begin a process of rotating study sessions, where teachers go out bit by bit
    4. if no progress then remove all services

    reasonable from the school boards would have looked like this

    1. propose counter offer
    2. adjust counter offer upward
    3. settle somewhere around 9% for three years.

    Jumping right to a strike as the first option was just bad strategy.

    • May 26, 2011 9:19 pm

      please keep in mind r.e. that the ‘school boards’ don’t counter offer anything as they are not involved in this process. The ‘STF’ and ‘Government’ are the 2 parties involved, not the schools boards.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 26, 2011 10:59 pm

      from your prospective it was a bad strategy, from our perspective it was the only way to let the government know we’re not fooling around and we’re ready to play hardball. If they want to stop sanctions, they can find us at the bargaining table–only if they are willing to up their offer. In the past we have done work to rule—it didnt get us anywhere. There were weeks between the 95% sanctions vote result and our first walk out. The government knew exactly what was coming when they heard the results and stood by doing nothing.

  227. Ryan permalink
    May 26, 2011 8:12 pm

    r.e.,

    I think you’re making a different point from what was intended. I believe that the comment of “all of this being avoided” was in reference to reasonabe bargaining by both parties (all, actually – the SSBA is part of this too) beginning last summer and concluding amicably shortly thereafer, with the entire conciliation, sanctions vote and eventual strike all then being a moot point.

    If I address the point as you made it, though, the numbers do not support 9% as being reasonable. Of the 16.3% being asked for over three years, 10.8% represents a repositioning of salary to return Saskatchewan teachers to a midpoint between Alberta and Manitoba. That is where both Saskatchewan teachers’ salaries and the CPI have been situated historically. This information is available on the STF website, and is in complete agreement with government data reported. The other 5.5% is simply to keep up with the absolute lowest expectation for inflation (the first year has already been reported as 3.14%) during that time frame.

    The problem is that the governnment (and perhaps some of the public – much of?) don’t want to pay this amount. If, like MLA salaries, teacher salaries were locked in to the CPI, all of this could have been avoided, but the government does not want to do that either. And they refuse to accept mutually agreeable third party binding arbitration on salary, despite such a course being the natural one in case of impasse (by law – Education Act 1995).

    I will happily concede that “reasonable” is a very subjective term, and bound to change in meaning between communicating parties. Personally, though, I base my definition according to real numbers:

    Sask Economy = second strongest in Canada (NFLD is #1).
    Sask CPI = midway between Alberta and Manitoba
    Sask Cost of Living = midway between Alberta and Manitoba
    Sask Teachers’ Salaries = 5/10 in Canada, 3/4 in the west, 3/3 in the prairies.

    Adjust salary to match the economy, CPI and cost of living so that competitively, there is no reason to leave or enter the prairies provinces from other prairie provinces.

    That’s what teachers have asked for. Again… how is this unreasonable?

    As a side note, MLA’s in Saskatchewan in 2006 had a third party decide that their salary should be adjusted upward to reflect salaries in other provinces. It was then locked in to CPI. Currently, Alberta MLA’s have a base salary of $75k. Saskatchewan? $84k.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 26, 2011 8:46 pm

      This is like an endless feedback loop! Manitoba teachers probably argue that they should make as much as Saskatchewan teachers. Then, if Manitoba teachers receive a raise, then Saskatchewan teachers argue that they should get a raise because they should make more than Manitoba teachers. And on and on and on it goes.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 26, 2011 9:43 pm

      Much here seems like an endless loop. 🙂

      That being said, the current proposal from teachers doesn’t ask for more spending power than Manitobans. It asks to bring SK teachers’ salaries to par with both Alberta and Manitoba, relative to CPI and cost of living, and to maintain that position. There would be no economic reason for MB teachers to demand more salary than SK.

  228. settle it permalink
    May 26, 2011 9:02 pm

    “This could have all been avoided had the teachers been more reasonable from the beginning.

    It works both ways.”

    Apparently not. One side has given more than one option, requested conciliation (which failed) and now binding arbitration which was refused.

    I don’t see much from the gov’t in that process. Pretty one-sided so far.

  229. pat permalink
    May 27, 2011 3:56 pm

    Using the numbers, a class 4 teacher maximum pay is $73036 a year- which is
    $378.42 PER DAY

    Minimum Annual Wage : $46,419
    $240.50 PER DAY.

    (Approx $68.80 to $43.72 per hour)

    This is in Saskatchewan.
    193 work days per year.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 27, 2011 4:57 pm

      197 “working days per year” I say that in quotes as anyone who knows a teacher knows they work more than the 197 days they have students.
      also, I would like the numbers for the average wage for someone in saskatchewan with a 4 year degree. don’t compare me to someone with no post secondary education. No disrespect to those without a degree whatsoever, it jsut does not make for a fair comparison.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 27, 2011 5:07 pm

      not to mention 2 days in august and 2 in june before and after the school day
      compare that to an average government employee with EDO’s and long weekends, and you’ll find we work a very similar amount of days..I believe we work 2 less? and yes, this is including our whole summer “off” (I’m attending 2 conferences this summer, taking an extra class to advance my knowledge in education on top of the preparation I will be doing for the upcoming school year)

    • Ryan permalink
      May 27, 2011 9:25 pm

      What’s your point, Pat?

      I once sat in my friend’s basement. He’s a dentist and his clinic is attached to his house. It was a Friday morning, and I was watching an X-Men cartoon with his son. My friend, “Dave” came downstairs and watched a few minutes with us. His wife (she’s a dental assistant) yelled “Mr. Smith is ready for his injection,” and Dave yelled back, “Go ahead.” His wife responded “Okay,” and went back to the clinic. Dave turned to me, and grinning, said, “Whew… that was a tough 100 bucks.”

      I don’t begrudge him his $750k per year practice. Not many people are qualified to do what he does. The only difference with teachers is that everyone was a student, so they think they know something about the job, or, even more laughable, that they could do it just as well as I do. They don’t. They couldn’t. No argument required.

  230. Michele permalink*
    May 27, 2011 7:31 pm

    Attending conferences and taking classes are optional extras.

    I’m not paid extra for reading that I do at home or on weekends. When I was a salaried employee, I earned the same salary for doing my job regardless of how much time it takes me to do that job.

    Teachers earn a salary. If you believe that you are only really paid for working 8:45 to 3:45 with a one hour lunch, then you are paid very, very well on an hourly basis and all of the other work is “extra.” If you recognize that you are actually paid a salary with the requirement that you be in the school from 8:45 to 3:45 and that work outside of that time frame can be done at school or elsewhere, then you have a nice salary for ten months of work with lots of benefits and lots of freedom to choose where and when you do at least some of your work.

    As for what people with four year degrees make, that’s rather irrelevant. Some people have four year degrees in incredibly useless fields and others have chosen fields which lead to low-wage jobs. I know people with social work degrees who make much less than a teacher. I also know people with no college degree who make much more. Income is not proportional to educational status.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 27, 2011 9:29 pm

      Michele, I try to respect your statements for being at least an honest perspective, but you’re beginning to seem obtuse. There are all kinds of studies that you can read that clearly state that people with a college degree – in anything – earn on average over $1 million more in their lifetimes than someone with only a high school diploma. Being able to state an exception to any rule doesn’t mean that the rule is wrong.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 27, 2011 9:48 pm

      Yes, I know that on average people with college degrees make more than people without college degrees. My point is that a specific level of education does not guarantee a specific level of education. I have heard teachers say “I have a four-year degree and nurses have a four-year degree so I should make the same income as a nurse.” That is now how it works.

      Income is not directly proportional to number of years of education.

      That’s my point.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 27, 2011 9:50 pm

      By the way, I’ve tried to not personally attack or denigrate any teachers in this discussion.
      Couldn’t you do the same? Or did you think that I was too obtuse to realize that “obtuse” was just a polite way to call me stupid?

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 27, 2011 11:39 pm

      Michele,

      you are taking my comments out of context. I am replying to people who are breaking my hourly wage down into days and hours that they believe I work. I understand I work under a salaried contract, I am just arguing that my day does not begin at 9 and end at 3:30, so please do not break my hourly wage down accordingly (no you, the person making the original comment).

      Also in regards to 4 year degrees, I was replying to someone who was comparing my wage to average Saskatchewan wages. I was only asking that if she as going to compare, to please compare me to someone with a similar education…I do not believe it is fair to compare me to a waitress. I also do not think it is fair to compare me to a surgeon. Both require different levels of education, expertise, and skill set.

    • natasha permalink
      May 28, 2011 10:11 am

      @ sick of it all
      yes age doesn’t matter. I guess I don’t acknowledge ignorant comments from someone that, because of their age, does not have the experience to chime in. That is why we don’t let children vote.
      Angry student can have an opinion about their experience at school, friends, family, and their part time job. When angry student enters the real world of being responsible for more than themselves (bills and providing for others) than I will take his/her opinion more seriously.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 28, 2011 11:10 am

      Sorry, Michele

      I didn’t say you are stupid, nor did I intend to imply it. I am a very linear thinker, and you haven’t provided any reason or evidence to suggest that you aren’t both bright and educated; therefore, I don’t believe otherwise. You are, however, stubborn in your opinion, and I find it to be somewhat “obtuse,” as in blind or insensitve, to simply deny fact and refute opinion without providing any compelling reason to do so.

      Frustration and exasperation intended, but not insult.

  231. Ryan permalink
    May 28, 2011 11:33 am

    Here is the STF information release. Since the words “fair” and “reasonable” have come up over and over, make your own judgments.

    https://www.stf.sk.ca/portal.jsp?Sy3uQUnbK9L2RmSZs02CjV+Oqh1Nw+R5YuFR4dwVCfic=F

    • Michele permalink*
      May 28, 2011 11:40 pm

      Thank you for that link.

      So, after reading it, I see that the government offer of 5.5% over 3 years would maintain purchasing power. Basically, the government offer is a cost of living increase which seems reasonable. The other 10+% that the STF is asking for is to move Saskatchewan teachers above Manitoba and closer to Alberta. Correct?

    • Ryan permalink
      May 29, 2011 11:14 am

      You are correct regarding the intent, Michele. In truth, the 5.5% will not cover cost of living increases, which are already 3.14% for 2010, and expected to be similar for 2011 and 2012. This means that the government’s offer of 5.5% will not cover the expected change in CPI of 9.4%; however, to both reposition salary and maintain purchasing power would require about 20% over three years. It’s too much, and the bargaining committee understands that. Therefore, it has set its priority on the salary adjustment. That’s the competitive part.

      As for fair and reasonable, I think the numbers do speak for themselves. I also believe that it would be difficult for a government to agree to 16.3% after being so inflexible about 5.5% for so long. That’s why teachers have left a standing offer for binding arbitration, with the exact information you have seen being the core of a STF package for an arbitration committee to examine. If the two bargaining committees can’t decide what is fair and reasonable, let someone with no investment in either side decide what should be done. I still don’t see the problem with that.

  232. student permalink
    May 28, 2011 12:11 pm

    Natasha,

    The last time I checked it wasn’t YOUR graduation being cancelled and as far as you saying I have no idea what real life expenses are like, you’re dead wrong. As someone who has been a chair user my whole life, I know how expensive it is to live on top of the cost of all my therapies and equipment. Thank you for being another person who TOTALLY devalues the opinions of students because your older and have more “expertise”.

  233. settle it permalink
    May 28, 2011 9:43 pm

    Student, I do believe the way things are set right now graduations are safe. IF teachers are planning it, then parents can take over the planning. Teachers are going back to the classroom which means you will be able to write your exams. In some areas the ceremony itself is already promised to carry on. In others parents may have to take over. Either way, graduations can still happen. Maybe you’re in an area where parents will need to finish things I don’t know.

    Any high school I’ve dealt with as a student or as a parent had parents and grade 12 students do the vast majority of planning and prep.. ceremonies would go on with or without the teachers’ involvement.

  234. Lenora permalink
    May 29, 2011 11:14 am

    Question? I have heard from a teacher that the STF (which is made up of teachers…or am I wrong about this?), will be paid for all striking days? That leaves the vast majority of teachers without compensation on strike days. Is this true?
    The teacher whom I spoke with is very upset with this and can not afford anymore strike days. I hope the STF is aware that this person may not be the only teacher out there with this dilemma.
    Also as far as binding abritation goes, there is usually a hefty price tag that goes along with that. I know for a fact that it will cost millions of dollars and is dependant on the number of members in the union or federation. I hope that if it ends up there it is not coming out of my tax paying dollars.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 29, 2011 1:08 pm

      the STF consists of teachers, principals,school psychologists, school counselors and head office consultants and coordinators (if I am missing anyone, please correct me). The STF does not include EA’s, caretakers, superintendents or directors.

      We are not paid for days we are striking, these are days without pay (and yes, my pay check this month was dismal!). After a contact is agreed upon and negotiation are over, there is a POSSIBILITY teachers could be compensated for a portion of these strike days. there is a possibility there will be no compensation whatsoever. We were made aware of this before voting for sanctions and 95% of STF members still voted yes. This sends a message that we are up for a fight because it is necessary–we are willing to lose pay over it.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 29, 2011 4:17 pm

      I’m curious. How could missing three days make your check “dismal”?

      Just off the top of my head, three days is approximately 15% of a monthly check or 1.5% of the annual salary.

    • Ryan permalink
      May 29, 2011 3:11 pm

      Lenora, I’m sure that if your teacher friend were to call the STF, he or she would quickly be able to learn as much as any teacher participating in this blog could tell you. That being said, there have only been three strike days, and there is no current plan for more.

      It is unfortunate that your friend, who receives a very hefty paycheque for what is really very little work has not learned to budget to the point where three days without pay aren’t overly worrisome. Or, perhaps teachers are not quite so well off as some people would like to lead us to believe.

      The STF uses a small percentage of our monthly fees as part of a growing contingency fund for days like these. In thirty years, no one has needed a day of strike pay. It is likely that such a contingency fund could cover three days strike pay, if necessary; however, there is no guarantee, either stated or implied, that this will be the case. Teachers may have to suck it up.

      As for tax dollars, I don’t know the cost of arbitration, though if you know what it is for a fact, I’d appreciate it if you would provide a link or resource that indicates the exact cost. A $1 million price tag would cost each taxpayer about $1.50, so as a taxpayer myself, I’d consider it money well spent to have teachers back doing what they’ve done for years. Either way, you should realize that strike days by teachers save the government about $4 million per ($12 million total). I’m pretty sure that would pay any arbitration board and then some.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 29, 2011 5:22 pm

      yes Michele,

      It was difficult to lose 15% of my paycheck, but worth every penny.
      I am not rich, I have a mortgage, student loans and I have only been teaching for 4 years, so I am no where near the top of the pay scale. Honestly, it was tough to give up 3 days of pay.

    • Lenora permalink
      May 29, 2011 5:59 pm

      Sorry I do not have any links to provide you. My facts come from what another union paid out to have binding abritation done. That particular union represented just over 300 workers. The abritation bill came to just over $2 million. I believe it was the union that paid for it but I am not clear on that (it was at their request that abritation be done). If that is the case then to represent 12 000 teachers could become costly quickly. If the govenment agrees to it then I worry about who will pay for it. I don’t think that $1.50 per tax payer would be an appropriate number, it could be higher. If it was to be paid by the STF then that could mean that your federation fees could be depleted or your fees will be going up.
      Although the teacher that I talked to is kind and dedicated and worth every penny that she gets….I still cannot see how a 16.3% increase will make teachers better educators (as I perceive it, it will not change the way they teach or work). I agree with an article that was posted in the Clark’s Crossing Gazette by Colin Craig. “K-12 reform worth a look.” Sorry I do not have a link but it was published in February this year. You could probably call the gazette to get a link or ask for that particular viewpoint.

    • Michele permalink*
      May 29, 2011 6:08 pm

      Fair enough but “dismal” made it sound much worse.

    • lenora permalink
      May 31, 2011 11:37 pm

      I finally figured out how to get the link for the author of the article “k-12 reform worth a look”. http://taxpayer.com/saskatchewan/real-truth-about-education-costs-saskatchewan

    • lenora permalink
      May 31, 2011 11:44 pm

      Sorry that wasn’t the link that I was hoping for. His article goes into more depth then his video. Nonetheless, he makes a good argument and raises some questions that I have touched on before regarding how better spent our education dollars should be.

  235. May 29, 2011 12:13 pm

    To the students who are commenting, please understand that there are people who are listening to you and I must say, you all are very intelligent and I respect your opinions. There are different forms of intelligence and you don’t need a university degree to be intelligent. Some people are not socially intelligent and they have numerous degrees and years of schooling. Also don’t feel you have to justify yourself in this conversation. It doesn’t matter how much you make or what level of formal education you have or how old you are. Unfortunately, some people have to justify themselves all the time in order to feel more important or better than everyone else.
    Last week an employee of ours got reprimanded for being negative and affecting others in the workplace and he was also not doing his job (lazy). If this does not change he will be gone, not moved to another place, he will be looking for another job. Now, how many times can that happen when people (teachers) are in a union? I have been in some schools where unfortunately the principals did not feel they could not do the same because the teachers were protected by the union. Now thankfully, not all schools are like this, but understand that there are schools that are.
    Also on a side note, I have asked teachers to take extra courses, classes on anti-bullying (there is bullying even on this blog). It is hard to get teachers to upgrade or to take extra classes unless it is on school days. I have been trying as this is important in our ever changing world. For the few that have taken the classes/conferences Thank You…we have to start somewhere. I upgrade myself all the time. It is out of my own pocket and my personal time because continual learning is so important.
    These are just my own comments and areas that I would like to see corrected. I must say that I have seen some wonderful teachers who really deserve more money. I have also been at an inner city school and most of the teachers were very caring and deserving and they needed more support to help them so they did not get burned out. I hope this gets settled soon in a fair and timely manner.

    • Lenora permalink
      May 29, 2011 6:03 pm

      Very well said!

    • sick of it all permalink
      May 30, 2011 11:08 am

      I agree – the bullying on this blog and many more is REALLY sad! What are the so called “ADULTS” teaching the youth these days. I think students have every right to state their opinion without being judged by their age! This strike affects them just as much! I have 3 teenage nephews that I think are amazing men and are all in high-school – I respect their idea’s and opinions over many adults these days!

      This is sad to see so many events canceled at the end of the year and I feel for the Grade 12’s (Grad Ceremonies) or the athletes needing to compete for Scholarships…doesn’t this just seem like it’s taking forever!

      So the Government is dumb I agree – STF is not so smart either (they really need to take a good look at their leaders) – maybe could they not meet in the middle somewhere along the way….really it’s not that hard to figure out. Yes Saskatchewan is doing well but do we have A LOT of unions looking for their piece of the pie and after that’s finished where does this leave our province again!

      This is my last comment as I feel this blog is turning into a teacher venting page and believe me I’ve heard enough from my kids from school!! Shame on the teacher’s that are talking about this during class time and YES I have talked to my school about this!!

      Hopefully this is settled so this BLOG can just go away!!!

  236. settle it permalink
    May 30, 2011 2:24 pm

    sick of it all you are right. I agree that the STF needs to take a serious look at their leader(s). While I support teachers 100% I do not agree at all with the way this has been handled. Their first move never should have been striking. They HAVE to know that the wage demand was going to appear to be ridiculous and cost them support. It doesn’t matter what sort of facts they present, they aren’t going to sell their numbers to anyone who doesn’t already support it. On the flip side though, the government has to know that continued refusal to bargain with however many different unions isn’t smart, either.

  237. Student permalink
    May 30, 2011 9:01 pm

    Apparently students in my high school are striking tomorrow…no joke!

    • settle it permalink
      May 30, 2011 9:29 pm

      why? I thought the big issue last week was loss of class time?

    • Michele permalink*
      May 30, 2011 9:47 pm

      That’s ridiculous.

      What do they hope to accomplish by refusing to attend school?

    • Student permalink
      May 30, 2011 10:43 pm

      I thought i heard the reason was people are mad about graduation and teachers now not being able to attend and help out. As far as I know we are one of the few schools that have students doing this. Apparently CTV has been notified about it so there may be more details on the Regina news tomorrow, I think their holding a rally tomorrow too, Ive been invited a bunch of times today but i dont think im gonna go..

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 31, 2011 8:29 am

      you will have your graduation, it will just have to be parents taking over for the teacher’s duties. if you have no willing parents to do this for you, then I’m sorry

      or, some schools are moving the ceremony to school hours (if they are not already in school hours), so you will have the ceremony portion at 1:00 or something rather than at 7:00. the after grad portion is usually planned/run mostly by parents (at least in most schools) with some teachers joining in to help supervise. this will just mean parents will have to replace the teacher’s role in this area.

      If you are in a school where parents do not help therefore teachers have stepped up to take the role of the parent in graduation because they care that you actually get a grad, maybe it will force your community to rethink their involvement in student activities. For the most part, however, I think parents are more than willing to step up and help for one night (possibly a few more planning nights preceding the event) because they genuinely care that their kids get a grad. If you are concerned, I suggest you talk with your parents/parents of friends to see what they are going to do to ensure grad happens. Chances are there is already a plan in action.

      I know in my school (elementary) for our grade 8 farewell which was scheduled to be in the evening, we have put it to a vote. Do the students want this during school hours instead, and therefore plans can continue as usual, only the time will be changed, or do they want parents to run it in the evening, which might mean some minor changes based on the parents’ ideas and no teacher involvement. They voted yesterday and I did not hear what the outcome was, but either way its all going to work out.

  238. tricia permalink
    May 30, 2011 9:43 pm

    Enjoy your posts Michelle, you tell it like it is. Teachers get back to work, you are acting like spoiled children and not setting a good example for students. You whine, complain, and when you don’t get your way you STRIKE, grow up already. You chose this profession and should realize that you work a 5.5 hr. day, get approx. 10 days off at Christmas, 10 days off at Easter, and a week off for Feb. break, as well as 7 weeks in the summer, it shouldn’t hurt you to have to do a few extra hours of prep work each day that you do work. Oh but then you also have early dismissals; therefore, you can do prep work then.
    Teachers you are overpaid now, stop asking for more, if you feel other provinces pay better then move there. Hope the parents step in and organize the graduations, most teachers don’t want to participate in graduation ceremonies anyway. Also hope that if teachers strike they are not paid strike pay. Would be too bad if the teachers aren’t able to take away jobs from others (construction, park workers, etc.) this summer, as that as what many do. Get to work teachers. We are tired of your b***g.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 30, 2011 10:12 pm

      you want teachers to work more, yet you don’t want them to take summer jobs away from people…which is it?

    • r.e. permalink
      May 30, 2011 10:36 pm

      tricia,

      Good teachers do put in at minimum a 7.5 hour day, with little to no lunch break or coffee breaks during the day. I don’t begrudge them a raise somewhere in the 3% a year range. I would also be very supportive of teachers taking a stand and saying that due to the increased workload and requirements of the classroom that they need to focus their energies on supporting classroom instruction.

      If parents, and community associations want to run those after school programs they can search out volunteers, who may in fact be teachers, but it should not be an expectation on either side.

      At present there is an implicit message that teachers do all this volunteer work and should be compensated for it. I want teachers to focus on their #1 job. If that means that some kids don’t get to play volleyball it is regrettable, but they will be able to read, think, and comprehend the world around them. In the long run much more important.

  239. settle it permalink
    May 31, 2011 9:54 am

    Umm Tricia re-read your post. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Work more, you’re paid enough, but don’t take summer jobs away from other people. LOL.. sure!

    At any rate people, things are back to normal for the time being. Mediation has been agreed to. So now.. where ARE the government’s priorities? Three days missed did NOTHING. But threaten the fun stuff (exams were happening, students were in no danger of losing their year) and WOW.. all of a sudden a mediator is brought in.

    • saskteacher permalink
      May 31, 2011 10:00 am

      yup, during this mediation process the teachers have removed all job action. business as usual. track meets will go on, grads will be unaffected, fieldtrips will happen, teachers can again work with students during lunch/after school etc. If the government does not agree to the mediators proposal (which is not binding—this is different from binding arbitration in that the meditor makes a proposal and both parties have the right to accept or refuse), if this is not agreed to, I imagine job action will happen again.

  240. settle it permalink
    May 31, 2011 10:09 am

    Yeah, I can see it going almost nowhere quite honestly. Conciliation was tried earlier and didn’t accomplish much. Maybe what is canceled will stay canceled to avoid confusion. I guess we’ll wait and see.

  241. settle it permalink
    May 31, 2011 10:10 am

    Oh.. and a note to the STF? Pull extra-curricular FIRST next time!

  242. May 31, 2011 6:31 pm

    If students want to protest what is going on I fully support it. Don’t take sides, but listen and educate yourselves on unions and realize that they are becoming a profitable business and then take into consideration the people that work for them and how they are affected. This may be a great way to learn something new!
    I love when people speak out and protest in our capitalist society. It is one thing to sit back and complain but it is another to stand up and voice your opinion for what you believe in and then learn from it. Figure out what is really behind this walk-out and listen to what everyone has to say. Why is it that the students are the people that are suffering? Is that because they have no voice yet? That is oppressive. Why is this happening just before school ends? There are always reasons behind this and many of them we don’t really know of, we just hear what the media tells us or shows us and we all know how unbiased the media is…don’t we? (That is a joke)

  243. settle it permalink
    May 31, 2011 7:56 pm

    WHY is it happening before school ends? Well because, the non-negotiating has been happening for almost a year. It could have waited until September, but that would have affected the fall activities instead of the spring activities. It could have happened mid-winter but that would have affected things too.. like first semester finals. The school year is busy, something would be affected no matter when job action happened.

    On this blog you have teachers giving you facts from their side so no you don’t have to rely just on the media.

    Students are the ones suffering because teachers teach students. Students have a voice, and as you can see they are using it. When HSAS strikes, patients suffer. When Canada Post strikes, customers suffer. That’s just kind of how it works. I’m glad though that some students are educating themselves on the issues. Yes, learn how the process works and in this case.. how it sometimes doesn’t work.

  244. June 1, 2011 12:08 pm

    I’d like to go a little deeper and get everyone to ask the questions as to why. I’d like the students to always question what happens. That’s just kind of how it works doesn’t give an answer. There are motives and reasons why and when , mostly political and economic…that’s all. Then form your own opinions.

    • Michele permalink*
      June 1, 2011 1:33 pm

      Why are the teachers asking for so much?
      Why do the teachers feel that they are underpaid?
      Why did the teachers wait until the end of the year to take job action?

    • saskteacher permalink
      June 1, 2011 6:20 pm

      Michele,
      Why are the teachers asking for so much?
      Because we want to pay the bills, because we feel we deserve it, because we want to attract qualified individuals to the profession, and because we have been receiving less and less as CPI goes up and each raise does not match cost of living

      Why do we feel underpaid?
      Because we are paid less than our western counterparts, because the government has initiated many new mandates in the past 5-10 years that have made our job significantly more time consuming, and because we should at least be paid on par with average Saskatchewanians with similar education.

      Why wait until the end of the year?
      We didn’t have much of a choice. There is a process to follow in bargaining as outlined int he Education Act (1995). In May 2010 our contract ended and we began bargaining. Halfway through the year talks broke down and both parties realized the other was not willing to compromise. Then we entered into conciliation for 9 meetings. when this broke in March we held a strike vote. It took about 2 weeks to inform members of the vote, vote, and count votes. In mid april we found that 95% of teachers supported sanctions if necessary. We gave the government a little more than 2 weeks to put something together and invite us back to the table to avoid sanctions, they did not. We took sanctions for one day in may (ONE Day!), then gave the government another opportunity, they came back with 0.5% more (the amount they saved from not paying us for the strike day)…the rest I think we are all familiar with. as you can see it is a process that never intended to be drawn out until the end of the year, a process we are expected to follow as mandated by the government. we did not choose the end of the year.

      You have disagreed with me on a number of these items before, I expect you will disagree again, however you asked…so I answered.

    • Angry Student permalink
      June 1, 2011 8:47 pm

      Why do you think you should be paid the same as Alberta? Alberta has a higher cost of living than Saskatchewan and also, because they are paying their teachers more, they are laying off more teachers. If you want to be paid the same as Alberta teachers, say goodbye to your coworkers, because either you or them will be laid off.

    • saskteacher permalink
      June 1, 2011 9:59 pm

      Angry student
      If you look at what teachers are asking for, we are asking to split the difference between Manitoba and Alberta wages, never once asked to be paid as much as Alberta teachers. And the cost of living in Saskatoon and Regina is now comparable to Alberta. And the reason Alberta is laying off teachers has nothing to do with wage increases, this has been a hiring practice in Alberta for decades: over hire and then layoff. Calgary and Edmonton school boards were at our Saskatoon career fair heavily recruiting teachers this year, don’t be fooled.

  245. lenora permalink
    June 1, 2011 1:31 pm

    Ok. I think this is the right link to the article “k-12 reform worth a look”.

    http://taxpayer.com/saskatchewan/sk-k-12-reform-worth-look

    It is an interesting perspective.

  246. June 1, 2011 3:47 pm

    Check this article out…Canada spends more on Prisons than schools. Written April 10, 2011 by Hazel Trego. Just google it.

    It is written that Canada already spends twenty times more per inmate than per student annually, but Conservatives want to spend even more on prisons…now does that make sense? Pretty interesting!

  247. Parent 007 permalink
    June 1, 2011 8:38 pm

    It scares me to know that some of these teachers are teaching our children and do not even know how to us spell check (spellcheck.net) or to even proof read their work before posting. If this is the work of an educated person with a masters degree maybe you are getting paid for what you put into your work.

    • saskteacher permalink
      June 1, 2011 10:02 pm

      I don’t consider these message boards work. If you honestly believe teachers don’t put in hard work to teach, you have obviously not involved yourself in your child’s school on a regular basis. The parents who are actively involved in their child’s education at my school never hesitate to thank us for our hard work. You are really being petty pointing out spelling mistakes…do you honestly believe it has anything to do with the negotiations?

    • Ryan permalink
      June 2, 2011 12:42 am

      Parent 007,

      Thank you for sharing your concern regarding the literary competency of teachers who post on this blog. I wonder whether you used spellcheck.net to edit your own post; if so, it was obviously not up to the task of noticing that you replaced the word “use” with the correctly spelled word “us”. It also failed to inform you that although “proof” and “read” are spelled correctly, the word you intended to use is “proofread”. Further, it probably could have told you how to correctly spell the word “comma”, but apparently cannot demonstrate when to use one as part of proper punctuation; though each of your two sentences warrant the use of at least one comma, none have been included.

      Like you, I am very scared. It scares me to “know” that some editors of others’ blogs are unaware that redundant prepositions may to cause confusion in some readers and to amusement in others. In addition, it is absolutely terrifying to know that some people are unable or unwilling to use an apostrophe to demonstrate possession; of course, not everyone has a master’s degree, so perhaps it is forgivable under certain conditions.

      Regards,
      Your fifth grade teacher

    • Michele permalink*
      June 2, 2011 4:55 pm

      I have to admit that I have been shocked by the abysmal grammar and spelling skills demonstrated by teachers who have commented on this post and others. The same errors appear in notes sent home from school. It is rather disappointing. I want my children to learn the rules of written communication and to value following those rules to communicate effectively and accurately.

      I’ll probably write a post about it at some other time. Does this topic have anything to do with negotiations? Not directly but it does seem related to merit pay or at least the impression of whether raises are merited.

    • saskteacher permalink
      June 2, 2011 8:22 pm

      Do you honestly believe the best teacher for your child is the one who spells the best? That is how you would measure a great teacher?

    • Michele permalink*
      June 2, 2011 11:09 pm

      I expect all teachers to be able to spell and use proper punctuation. That’s a minimum expectation not a measurement of quality. Actually, I expect everyone to do this but that expectation is obviously unrealistic.

    • Ryan permalink
      June 2, 2011 9:59 pm

      People want teachers to be able to communicate effectively and correctly. That is fair enough. Even more importantly, they want their children to complete their education with strong communication skills themselves. I certainly try to help them accomplish such, and I succeed better than most. Perhaps all of the parents here will be as successful in providing what *I* want.

      I want your kids to arrive at school well-fed and well-rested. I want them to focus more on healthy eating than on snacking. I want them to feel as though they are safe, loved and valued at home. I want them to get regular exercise and limit television and video game time. I want them to complete their home work to the best of their ability, and with a minimum of scaffolding. I want them to treat others with respect. I want them to avoid unnecessary and unwelcome foul language when speaking to their elders. I want them to find that it is very difficult to appropriate alcohol as a minor and illegal drugs at any time. I want them to be humble, grateful, modest and polite. I want them to connect self-esteem first with effort and earning, secondly with accomplishment, and least of all with material possessions. I want them to support others and celebrate differences. I want them to avoid spreading gossip and engaging in rumour-mongering. I want them to avoid premature exposure to mature themes (did you know that an average Canadian child witnesses over 13000 violent and graphic deaths on TV before age 15? Ask your kids, if you don’t know, what is being referred to by a dirty Sanchez or a rusty trombone or a rainbow party. Or look it up – but realize that your average 12 year old doesn’t have to.)

      I want parents to raise their kids to be better than they were. How’re you doing?

      This thread started out as an interest in teacher sanctions and potential job actions. Having gone through that material, and accomplishing little, it has devolved into nothing more than attack and defend. Let me assure parents that for every complaint about or bit of dirt you think you have on your child’s teacher, your child’s teacher has a complaint about and a bit of dirt on you.

      Despite my feverish self-aggrandizement and back-patting, I like and appreciate my students, and I know they come from sincere and interested parents. Like me, every one of those parents has strengths, weaknesses and faults. Some are more obvious than others. But enough with the finger pointing and tongue clucking. Either you support the home team or you don’t. You don’t have to agree with every decision that is made. You don’t have to lower your expectations. You don’t have to remain quiet when something bothers you. Just please remember:

      They are your children.
      They are my students.
      They are our kids.
      If they lack anything, it is the fault of both of us.

    • Michele permalink*
      June 2, 2011 11:11 pm

      You collect “dirt” on the parents of your students?

    • saskteacher permalink
      June 3, 2011 8:28 am

      I think Ryan’s message is obvious, and if all you could take away from it was to twist his words into portraying him as a teacher who “collects dirt” on parents, then you are being very petty. I think you caught the main message but are instead choosing to be snide to make some sort of point.
      Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. If a teacher is kind, nurturing, and helps your child to achieve success, however makes a few spelling mistakes here and there…I would say you have it pretty good. If spelling is not your main complaint (and I’m guessing its not-but rather something petty you’ve decided to hold on to to add to your argument that you do not respect teachers), I would suggest you pick your battles and approach your child’s teacher or administration with your complaint (or rather positive solution) that will actually influence your child’s education experience.

    • saskteacher permalink
      June 3, 2011 8:42 am

      I suggest then, that you contact the College of Education and petition that it be a requirement for all teacher candidates in the college to sign up for a spelling and grammar class. To make this work however, you’ll have to remove one of the other courses from the list.

      Perhaps teachers shouldn’t learn how to adapt and modify for students with disabilities. Or perhaps they should skip one of subject areas where they learn to teach within the province’s curriculum. No? Those are too important? Lets remove the class on assessment–teachers don’t really need to know how to properly determine what their students have learned and how to reflect on what can be done to ensure the content was taught effectively. If this is honestly a battle you want to fight, I suggest you fight it.

      Or, maybe we should have teachers take this class in addition to the current requirements to teach as set out by the government. But then we’ll have to pay them more. Oh wait, you have a problem with that too.

      I have read some other posts of yours on your blog and a few things have become clear to me. 1. You are a complainer with no drive to be a part of a solution to your complaints. 2. You have a very negative outlook on life and take every opportunity to put a negative spin on what other people are posting. 3. You are self righteous. You point the finger at everyone around you without ever looking at yourself.

      I do not take your posts personally, nor do I give them any merit. My only motivation for responding to anything you have to say is in hopes that a neutral onlooker to this blog will not just read what you have to say and take your word for it, but rather they would be presented with both sides. My side actually contains facts as I am actually a part of the teaching profession and the bargaining process.

  248. settle it permalink
    June 2, 2011 1:13 pm

    *applauds Ryan’s response*

    I’ve grown tired of repeatedly answering the “why’s” of this contract dispute. Those questions have been asked and answered so many times.

    Teachers are back in the classroom. All of the important extra curricular activities that can be reinstated have been yet parents are still complaining.

    I was told last night by two different people to not expect this to be finished before fall. Not because the teachers don’t want it settled (remember that pesky binding arbitration request? That would end this whole thing.) It won’t be finished until fall because the government wants to be able to say “look what we did!” while they are campaigning.

    • Michele permalink*
      June 3, 2011 7:44 pm

      And I’ve heard that the teachers want to drag this out as long as possible so that they can say “Look what the evil SaskParty did to us!” while they campaign for the NDP.

  249. lenora permalink
    June 3, 2011 1:56 pm

    saskteacher: if you are so unhappy with this blog why are you still on here? It seems to me that you like a good agrument as much as the next person.

    • lenora permalink
      June 3, 2011 2:00 pm

      I also see that Michele has posted facts as well. She too is trying to give the “neutral onlooker” another perspective just like you are.

    • Michele permalink*
      June 3, 2011 7:42 pm

      Thanks, Lenora. I was going to suggest the same thing.

      Perhaps saskteacher isn’t aware that this is my blog?

    • saskteacher permalink
      June 5, 2011 8:11 pm

      Lenora,
      As I mentioned in my post, the only reason I am on this blog is to settle some of the misinformation on here. I don’t want people to read Michele’s posts and think that is actually what is happening in the teacher’s bargaining.

  250. June 3, 2011 9:24 pm

    I have been reading many articles about merit pay for teachers and this is an interesting thought. Maybe a movement for that may work. Good teachers would get paid more, and the not so good teachers would not.

    http://www.globecampus.ca/…/should-canada-offer-merit-pay-to-teachers/

  251. r.e. permalink
    June 3, 2011 10:46 pm

    It would be interesting to see just how many teachers would support the STF if they had to re certify it every five years?

    I know a number of teachers who were basically bullied into this job action. The voted for sanctions, and were quite prepared that the first step would be removal of volunteer services – I’m not going to get into the whole volunteer services being part of the contract talk here – Many of them feel betrayed by their representatives and like in any other union bullied by the passionate minority into silence.

  252. Ryan permalink
    June 3, 2011 11:12 pm

    Hi Michele,

    Although it wasn’t made to me directly, I’ve decided to take you up on your offer not to post here anymore. I feel like this thread has become something different from what I signed up for. Unfortunately, I can’t find the way to unsubscribe to follow up comments in my email. If you can do this for me, I would appreciate it.

    • Michele permalink*
      June 4, 2011 12:41 am

      Sorry but I can’t cancel your subscription to comments from this post. You’ll just have to delete them without reading.

      I’ve thought about closing comments but I’ve never done that on a post before and I don’t want to start here.

    • Ryan permalink
      June 4, 2011 2:02 am

      The ability to unsubscribe was built in to the notification – as soon as you replied, it became apparent. I did enjoy the initial thread of conversation. I also found the responses from many posters to be very interesting, albeit based primarily in opinion. But at the end, the argument looping, bickering without resolution, and unwillingness to see things from someone else’s point of view made the debate tedious and spiteful. I know that I allowed myself to go down that path more than once, and I that’s not who I am or want to be, anonymous or not.

      I hope that when this issue is laid to rest, that everyone here can live with the result. I, for one, look forward to it one way or the other.

  253. settle it permalink
    June 4, 2011 11:22 am

    Michelle IF the teachers were the only group with contract issues, what you heard might have some credence. Look at the big picture, this government is not willing to do much in the way of negotiating.

    We will see what the mediator can do. I won’t be reading anymore comments until the mediation is finished. Individual opinions really don’t matter. This is between the government and the STF. There’s always the option of contacting various government representatives and/or the STF if anyone would like to truly make their thoughts known in a more meaningful way. I’ve already done that.

    Ryan I think the only way to stop the e-mails now would be to have them marked as spam in your e-mail options.

  254. Michele permalink*
    June 4, 2011 1:41 pm

    Did it occur to you that all of the contract negotiations have political overtones?

  255. June 4, 2011 6:16 pm

    A blog on unions would be very interesting because unions are quite political and of course capitalistic and they use group dynamics in a very effective way. They are not supposed to be political but just look at SGEU and how they are campaigning against Brad Wall. Now I am not saying Brad Wall is the greatest; however, they are not supposed to take sides.
    On a side note, a not so good teacher is not coming back to our school next year, and I am very happy about that. I did consider moving my children to a different school because of the teacher.

  256. Michele permalink*
    June 4, 2011 8:05 pm

    Unions are more socialistic than democratic.

  257. BLAAAAH permalink
    July 2, 2011 1:30 pm

    Ive read some words against medicating students and I have siblings with disabilities I have a little brother with autism who now needs to go to a special school because one teacher wasnt properly trained on how to handle a child with autism and made the mistake of grabbing both of his hands and then he stabbed her in the eye brow with a pencil and he is a very happy boy he just needs extra help and the special needs assistant or what ever her fancy job title was, just never showed up for her job so he was always with a new substitute about 3 out of 5 days a week.(If you know anything about autistic people they need a schedule in their life and you shouldnt make a lot of changes to it if their low functioning.) So theold teacher he had was a lousy teacher who doesnt even deserve to be paid mininum wage the special school he currently goes too, all 6 teachers in that class for the 6 kids they have in the classroom deserve the %12 raise in fact they deserve more since personally I did take the time to volunteer in the classroom in fact I took a month and I see how students can be those kids alone was a hand full but since im only talking about one specific class think of when your children dont listen to you or dont listen to the babysitter when you go out or the horrible acting children down the street you dont want your kids to hang out with because of their attitudes and maybe you dont use the words horrible but lets be clear you have faced kids you dont like and then think of the teachers with 30 of them 6 hours a day 5 times a week and even more because of after school activities and they have to deal with it.

    But yes the strike did effect my family this year in fact a horrible teacher effected my little sister this year because my sister has ADHD and ODD and talks a thousand words a second the teacher sent her home almost everyday even when she was medicated just because she had the excuse get rid of her and she ended up failing I had my youngest sister bullied by 5 little girls who took pens or sharpened pencils and stabbed her at recess with them and she still has some marks from 2 months ago and her teacher only said the kids are just being kids those little girls also beat her up after school with 2 sitting on her and 3 beating on her and the teacher still said tthe kids are just being kids. so I understand that some teachers deserve the raise but I also know that some people do jion teaching just to get those benefits Im only in high school and more than half my teachers are yes deserve to be picketed like michelle said because it isnt as hard as all you teachers make it out to be I took the time and yes I know you deserve the raise but you deserve it because your all mostly just babysitters and you can say we teach students and take all this extra time but if thats true why is it that my lil sis going in grade 7 can still barely read or spell or tell time and got sent home almost every day right in the morning before classes started everything she learns from reading is from at home all of the teachers she has had dont want to fail her because they dont want to deal with her again.

    My opinions are very spread apart yes teachers deserve the raise since babysitting is hard work but a lot of them just need a slap outside the head and get told to get out because they do crap all for anybody dont tell me your all dedicated and dont have time for your family, youd have that with any job.

  258. settle it permalink
    July 13, 2011 8:37 am

    Just an update if anyone is interested in facts:

    The mediator’s report recommended the 5.5% increase, plus market adjustments of varying percentages depending on years of service. The report also recommended reducing the time to “top out” on the salary scale from 15 years of service down to 11 years. Both sides appear to be satisfied with the recommendations. It’s a combination of what each side wanted. The government’s offer of 5.5% plus a couple of things the STF was asking for. Seems fair to me.

    BLAAH, there are good and bad in every profession. A regular classroom teacher is not trained to handle a special needs student. If the assistant wasn’t around or not properly trained that isn’t the teacher’s issue. If the teacher was away then there were reasons for it, whether anyone believes it or not a teacher can’t just “not show up” for whatever reason. As for the bullying, someone needed to go over the teacher’s head if the issue wasn’t being dealt with. Parents need to advocate for their kids when there are issues like this. A lot of schools are still way, way behind the times on the issue of bullying and only pay lip service to dealing with it. It’s sickening. Take them to task for their lack of action.

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