ETFO wants schools closed on days when school buses are cancelled

The Elementary Teachers Federation doesn't want teachers putting their lives at risk, getting to schools if roads are in rough shape

At least one public school board in Ontario already does this, but now the Elementary Teachers Federation has jumped on board.

It has approved a resolution recommending that, whenever a school board cancels buses because of bad winter weather, the schools also be closed so teachers don't have to put their lives at risk in the process of getting to school.

The resolution at the union's annual convention here in Toronto was put forward by Marg MacFarlane, the president of the Halton branch. The Star quotes her as saying "No one's looking for days off, but we want the same measure of concern for teachers as students, and if it's not safe for buses, teachers shouldn't be made to try to come to school either."

Rob Smolenaars is with the same Halton local and he points out that during a big storm February 5th, the Halton public schools were kept open but the regular meeting of the Halton Board of Education was cancelled that night because the roads weren't safe. He also points out that, on that same day, a teacher in Peterborough was killed in a car crash on her way to work.

The teacher in question was Carolynn Collins, a Grade 6 teacher in Norwood. At 6:45 that morning on her way to school, her vehicle went out of control and slammed into a utility truck head-on.

This policy is already in place in the Hamilton-Wentworth school board.

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  1. AbbyW posted on 08/14/2014 08:35 AM
    Good idea provided the teachers don't get paid for that day.
    1. Karl Burgin posted on 08/15/2014 03:43 PM
      @AbbyW ...and pigs will fly the day they agree to not getting paid on their day, I mean "legitimate" danger day.

      Wouldn't it be nice if we all could have that option.
  2. SophieK_1215 posted on 08/14/2014 08:59 AM
    Where I grew up, in Washington State, if we had a "snow day" (cancellation) we went an extra day to make it up at the end of the school year. Is it that way in Ontario? Is the school year a specific number of days? Are "snow days'" made up or is the school year shorter if there's a bad winter?
    1. JudyB_3523 posted on 08/14/2014 10:27 AM
      @SophieK_1215 It's not like this here in Ontario, but I wish it were. As it is though, our students attend school right to the end of June, so if days were added on, it would slip into July and I don't see a lot of parents liking that.
  3. LaurenH_7953 posted on 08/14/2014 09:02 AM
    This makes perfect sense to have the teachers stay at home. I worked for a co-op in Newmarket and whenever the buses were cancelled I did not have to go to work because of safety factors. The less vehicles on the road the better. If the schools are closed, maybe some of the parents will stay at home too and keep everyone safe. Nothing is that vital for one day
    1. AndrewB_4506 posted on 08/14/2014 09:35 AM
      @LaurenH_7953 Why not pass provincial legislation that all workers must stay home if the buses are cancelled? If it's dangerous out, why save just teacher's lives? Wouldn't we want to save the lives of say physicians and hydro workers as well? Or are they a little less important?
    2. Mlj posted on 08/14/2014 10:07 AM
      @LaurenH_7953 On " snow days" very few kids are at school, obviously. A teacher may have 2 or 3 kids, or none whatsoever.....regardless, they can't run a normal classroom and teach regular lessons. What makes sense is to have students work at home doing lessons that their teachers have prepared, on line.
    3. ErinH_2997 posted on 08/14/2014 07:34 PM
      @AndrewB_4506 No teacher I know would have a problem with that, and they're certainly not less important, but it's not within ETFO's scope to ask for changes to provincial legislation outside of the teaching profession. They're asking for a change to their own working conditions because that's what unions do. If the idea gains traction with the public, other unions and other groups of workers can start asking for the same thing.
  4. pb posted on 08/14/2014 09:19 AM
    Ok, here's an idea. How about we use the school buses as a social barometer and if the school buses don't run everybody has to stay home. Make it illegal to work if buses are not running. No point risking everybody's lives, teachers lives are not any more important than the guy who plows the roads! :) Great idea teachers!
  5. Angry Bill posted on 08/14/2014 09:55 AM
    Well, number one, if school buses are cancelled, everyone else still has to go to work. So who stays home with the kids? That means their parents need to burn a vacation day, while teachers do not.. but they still get paid regardless.

    City buses still run. But school buses can't? Granted, school bus drivers aren't as well trained as city bus drivers. But still.

    Missing one day at school isn't the end of the world... Our public school system teaches nothing of much value during any one given day, anyway. Just look at how many "PD" days teachers take, nowadays. So the issue here is that parents are left scrambling to explain to their bosses why they can't be productive that day, and need to stay home. Businesses aren't charities, or socialist tax payer funded institutions like schools are. It's easy to SAY that businesses can take a hit. Especially if you're sitting within a tax payer funded institution that pays you regardless if you show up or not.
    1. Mlj posted on 08/14/2014 10:10 AM
      @Angry Bill Teachers don't take PD day's. What are you talking about?
  6. SophieK_1215 posted on 08/14/2014 10:08 AM
    I'd really appreciate an answer to this, so I'm re-posting.

    Where I grew up, in Washington State, if we had a "snow day" (cancellation) we went an extra day to make it up at the end of the school year. Is it that way in Ontario? Is the school year a specific number of days? Are "snow days'" made up or is the school year shorter if there's a bad winter? -
    1. MartinD_9677 posted on 08/14/2014 10:39 AM
      @SophieK_1215 I teach 5th Grade for the public school board in Toronto. There are 188 school days in a school year. They don't make them up in the summer, I trust because students often make summer plans. In my practice I could lose a couple of school days and it wouldn't negatively effect the students. I could modify my program slightly by having students review some concepts for homework or II could make up some time by delivering material though lecture instead of collaborative learning for a couple of lessons. Given that I only see my students for 270 minutes per day there are ways to make up for those 270 lost minutes.
  7. BrentW posted on 08/14/2014 10:10 AM
    This is yet another way that the public service unions are out of touch with everyday life. The teachers (for now only the teahcers) are wanting to get yet another day off becuase they don't want to be on the roads. What about all the other people who don't have that option.

    If we all took a snow day, what would be accomplished - NOTHING. We would not have any commerce, any production, not revenue created, no tax revenue generated. Let's realize that we live in a climate that does have severe weather and live accordingly. If you need to be a better driver, take driver training.

    Enough of this mushy crap and that we all need to be under a heavy coating of bubble wrap. As a society let's do what is right. And that includes standing up to these unions who are out of touch with what is truly happening outside of their world. Instead of trying to hold parents and their children hostage to get their way, work with us - the ones who help to pay your salary, benefits and pension
    1. ErinH_2997 posted on 08/14/2014 07:48 PM
      @BrentW But things already grind to a halt when the weather is bad enough for a snow day. It's not like they're called on a whim - there's rarely more than one per year and many years recently have had none at all. Is it really worth this level of vitriol for people concerned about their safety for one day every other year?

      If the buses are cancelled, most parents already don't send their children to school - someone is found who can look after them if the parents have to go to work, but many parents find a way to work from home or take a day off. It's a hardship for some, but it's more of a hardship to lose a family member to their car spinning out on the ice because they tried to go to work on a snow day.
  8. MichaelR_1683 posted on 08/14/2014 10:32 AM
    FIRE ALL THE TEACHERS. There are enough new teachers waiting to get a job that won't complain about all these little issues...
    1. Penny55 posted on 08/14/2014 11:26 AM
      @MichaelR_1683 As a new teacher I can say you are absolutely right. It is disgraceful what some of these teachers are trying to get away with. I know teachers work hard I see it first hand, but they need to stay grounded to reality
    2. Jack posted on 08/14/2014 12:09 PM
      @Penny55 You sound like your union hasn't beaten the work ethic out of you yet; that's good, don't let them. Check out the LabourWatch website, and find out how to decertify the union from the inside.

      You could be the one to finally bring honesty and accountability back to teaching, and make it so that teachers are rewarded based on performance and not based on seniority.
    3. Penny55 posted on 08/14/2014 12:16 PM
      @Jack Please don't misinterpret my message, I do not support a change to an American style system, nor do I support right to work legislation.I just think teachers need to wake up take a look around and appreciate what they have.
    4. MartinD_9677 posted on 08/14/2014 12:17 PM
      @MichaelR_1683 But don't fire Penny55 or I please.
      Michael, I think that you will find that a lot of the Elementary Teachers in Ontario don't agree with the idea (I don't). It was Marg MacFarlane who brought forward the resolution. You can't paint all teachers with the same brush.
  9. CynthiaT_3 posted on 08/14/2014 10:43 AM
    Does this mean the "parents" of these children do not have to go to work either? How many companies would allow this, unless of course, they are unionized? The average person would be docked their pay or it would be taken from their vacation time.
  10. Cosmo posted on 08/14/2014 10:44 AM
    @Angry Bill how dare you say we do nothing on any given day? Your arrogance and ignorance just sickens me. I am so tired of the lack of respect that is given to my profession. You people think that our job is a walk in the park and our unions are too strong. Let me remind you of the fact that the majority of teachers are women and not too long ago a woman's place was in the home even in my profession. Our union fought hard in long to ensure that women and men had rights in the work place. And thanks to those gains you have reaped the rewards of our battles. But yet you sit there and berate us, chastise us and humiliate us! Disgusting bunch of ingrates! We educate your young and we instil in them a sense of pride in the community and their country. Don't you dare start your comparisons. Why the heck should teachers end up in a school sitting there taking in the kids of parents who can't be bothered to do the right thing and keep them home on a dangerous day. Do you know how many parents will bring in their kids and go home and watch TV? Too many to count. In my board a fellow colleague was killed on the way to work during a dangerous storm. Let me guess, that was OK right because she's a teacher and teachers are treated like lepers nowadays. Stop judging my profession as if we're a bunch of crooked child haters who whine to much and start seeing us for the hard-working professionals we really are. We don't have to justify anything to you. If you want to know what we do then come and spend some time in our classrooms. See if you can keep up with our work. Perhaps it would humble you and open up your eyes to the truth.
    1. AbbyW posted on 08/14/2014 11:56 AM
      @Cosmo The lack of respect isn't towards your profession, it's towards the unionized pigs at the trough and further, to those teachers who are more concerned with their union tactics than teaching kids. From my experience and those of my children in school the teachers that were the absolute best were the ones who were focused on doing a great job with their kids. The worst teachers, the ones who didn't deserve to teach our kids, were the ones constantly sticking to the union mantra.

      You want respect, stop screwing the taxpayers. There's no hate-on for teachers in private schools, so it's obviously not the profession that's the problem.

      Those of us paying YOUR salaries, pensions, etc. etc. etc. are sick and tired of governments prostituting themselves with OUR money to appease union pigs.

      When your pay scale is the same as the private sector that's when the bashing will stop.

      Since you used the example of a teacher dying driving in a snowstorm, what about the examples of kids getting hurt during your piggish union strikes when parents were forced to take time off work? How many kids might have gotten hurt because they were home (perhaps alone) thanks to your strikes?

      Your crocodile tears aren't moving us!
    2. Jack posted on 08/14/2014 12:11 PM
      @Cosmo Decertify your union and quit using extortion to force the taxpayers to give you perks and pay raises we can't afford. Once the thugs who run your unions and protect the worst teachers are gone, you'll see good teachers getting the respect they deserve.
    3. Cosmo posted on 08/14/2014 12:20 PM
      @AbbyW Unionized pigs!!!! Wow! That just says everything about you. You're obviously a very bitter person with little knowledge about unions. You soak up the media and corporate backlash against unions because it feeds your black little soul. Angry much? You pay for my salary, pension, etc. etc. ? What a moron? Truly out of touch with reality. I pay a great deal of taxes and I pay into my pension etc. etc.!!!!! Hilarious! I would like to look at your T4 slip from last year and we can compare who paid what. And then you can do the same thing with every bloody whiner on this site and we can see who bloody hell pays for things in our society. The middle class that's who baby! Including me and other teachers. Sitting at the trough? How insulting! We decided to strike because it's our constitutional right. If you don't like the constitution then petition to get it re-written. In the meantime, me and my unionized pig buddies will continue to stand up for democratic rights and principles. You and your supporters can got back to working in the mills, schools and industries during the Industrial Era since you love corporations so much. And while you're at it you can ensure that women and children can become slaves again. Won't that be a dream come true for corporations? Now I'm gonna cry my crocodile tears for you!
    4. Stephen posted on 08/14/2014 12:37 PM
      @Cosmo Who do you think pays for your salary if not the private sector tax payer? Whatever you pay in taxes or what you purchase, your expenditures are just recycling the private sector workers tax dollars, you are paid with. Your income does not create any new tax revenue, your income is actually a burden on the tax system. It is not just the middle class that pays for the public sector salaries, I am saddened that a teacher doesn't understand basis economics, the private sector tax payer no matter which class pays for the public sector salaries and benefits, even if you contribute your $1 for every $5 from the private sector worker that $1 still comes from the private sector tax payer. Your arrogance and lack of knowledge is astounding.
    5. AbbyW posted on 08/14/2014 01:38 PM
      @Cosmo You are a model union hack, drumming out the mantra of 100 years ago when unions worked to improve working conditions. We all know that unions played an important role then, so get your head out of the 1930s and into the 21st century.

      Listening to your crap about slaves, industrial era, etc. suggests you're the type of teacher parents should be afraid of. You obviously don't have an intelligent argument to make so you rely on fear-mongering, which only further weakens your argument.

      The middle class are the ones most screwed by unions like yours. The poor don't pay taxes and the rich make too much to care, but I guess you don't know much about economics either.

      Telling Penny to stop placating those of us opposed to your nonsense is another union tactic of silencing criticism. Learn that in the union too? What about Penny's democratic right, or doesn't that apply to those members opposing their unions?

      Thanks though for being the poster boy of public unions. You've done a great job!
    6. AbbyW posted on 08/14/2014 01:41 PM
      @Stephen Your points are all dead-on. I pity Cosmo's students. Hope they won't foster yet another generation of pigs at the trough.
    7. AbbyW posted on 08/14/2014 02:01 PM
      @Cosmo I just thought of a comment a police officer made to me several years ago, and it's equally relevant to teachers. At one time police weren't paid nearly as well as they are today so one really had to want that career to go into it. Today police are paid extremely well which is great except that it also attracts candidates that are only doing it for the money, not the love of the job.
    8. Stephen posted on 08/14/2014 04:12 PM
      @Stephen Further to Cosmo's uneducated rant, you also need to be aware that it requires 2.5 private sector workers contributing their tax dollars to pay for a single public sector worker's salary based on an example of an annual salary of $50K for the public sector worker. Because of the bloated, over paid public sector the private sector is struggling to maintain let alone grow the Ontario economy. This massive burden is not shared by you in the public sector it is caused by you in the public sector. I truly believe that you owe all private sector workers an apology for your ignorance and disrespect, these people feed you and your expensive benefits, without any option to say no!
    9. Zork posted on 08/14/2014 04:33 PM
      @Cosmo Wow..such anger Cosmo.
      You are so typical of the "oh woe is me" attitude of a minority (thankfully) of teaching professionals.
      Stop with the "we educate your young" rhetoric...of course you do...that's your JOB.
      And stop complaining about the minority of parents who try to take advantage of you...there are people in EVERY workforce who will be taken advantage of by a select few.
      You should learn to be a better and more tolerant person, and stop with the whining anytime someone has an opinion that doesn't mesh with your own.
      I thank my lucky stars that my children haven't had to put up with any holier-than-thou teachers like you.
    10. BM_5172 posted on 08/15/2014 11:02 AM
      @Cosmo Issue at hand aside for a brief moment. @Cosmo, have you read your spelling and grammar? I would NEVER want my kids taught by you! Shake my head. Therein lies the biggest issue of them all!
    11. Angry Bill posted on 08/20/2014 04:09 PM
      @Cosmo Sorry for responding so late, Cosmo. I haven't been back to this topic until now.

      I've read the responses of the other two teachers here, Penny and Martin, and I find them to be very reasonable, likeable people. Good teachers.

      I went back and read my original comment that got you foaming at the mouth, and frankly, I think that even by my standards, my comment wasn't that incendiary. The replies to your comment were far more so than my original comment.

      Regardless, I'll address some, though not all, of your comments. Others have already beaten the issue before me. First, let's talk about my lack of respect for the profession, and my lack of understanding of how much work you do, or what happens in your classroom. I've been through our public school system. I've been in your classroom. I've been in many, many more classrooms than most people here. I went to a different school every year until grade 8. Sometimes I went to 2 different schools in the same school year. We moved a lot. Near as I can figure, my parents were skipping out on the rent. Who knows.

      So, I am perhaps better qualified than most to give a good performance review of just how good our public school system is, having been to a few different ones.

      Most of my teachers were women, even back in the '60s and '70s. Some were men. A couple of my teachers were good. Most, I have to say, were not good. In my experience, that is. Maybe I just suck at lotteries. I don't know. These teachers took a perverse delight in belittling kids, and being sarcastic, overbearing, and downright ignorant. I remember a particular grade 6 teacher who was never satisfied until he had humiliated me so much that I was reduced to tears.

      All in all, any education I have is in SPITE of teachers in the public school system, not because of them. Other than the couple of good teachers I mentioned above. Thank God I loved to read books, having been driven to become an introvert because of these teachers. They were my only escape. As a kid, I read about 100 books a year. My first paperback novel at age 7. Off I went from there.

      So by all means, continue to allow my arrogance and ignorance to sicken you. Teachers like you got to me first and gave me the attitude I have.
    12. Cosmo posted on 08/20/2014 10:02 PM
      @Angry Bill Angry Bill I am very sorry about your experiences in school. I was born in Spain in the 1960s and I too had many a horrible experience in school. When I came to Canada things didn't improve much. I quit high school three times and I finally completed it when I was nineteen. It was my grade 11-12 photography teacher that had the biggest impact on my education. I was 15 when I was on my own so I had to struggle through much of my teens. Teachers were not very sympathetic to my situation. I didn't talk about my family life either because I didn't want to use it as an excuse. I worked many jobs and completed my schooling. I moved on to university and paid for it while working in a variety of jobs. I have worked in restaurants, cleaning (residential & commercial), and self-employed photographer/artist. I was 35 when I went to teacher's college. My daughter was just born and it was a tough road. I wasn't treated very nicely in teacher's college either. Not much understanding for my situation. But I did it! I completed my schooling and I had to get out there and get a job. I have never really fit the mold of the average teacher. I know that I have a very unique perspective and I bring my life experience to my job. I know I sounded angry Bill. But can you really blame me? Did you read the horrible comments that were made. They sicken me! I know how hard I have worked for what I have and I don't take anything I have for granted, nothing! I am proud of my hard work and I know I do my best for society and for my students. What really gets my dander up is when I read the teacher troll's comments. These people are so ignorant about my profession and they are very bitter indeed. Teachers have become the scapegoats of both the media and political parties in the last decade. The truth of the matter is that you and I are not that different from each other. We are workers. I believe in jobs with dignity and justice for all. What's good for teachers is good for all of us. No worker should be risking their lives to go to work especially when the police tells the public to stay off the road because it's too dangerous. Teacher, doctor, machinist, secretary or server, no matter the tittle, we are all human beings and our lives are worth more than that risk. That's my belief system anyway. Last year during our brutal winter, a grade 7 boy at my school fell down in the school yard and fractured his leg in three places. A parent suffered similar injuries. A teacher fractured her arm going from her portable to the school with her class. All three of these people suffered. There is no need to risk these types of injuries. That's my union's point of view and it's also mine. Please stop seeing my union as mob of unionized pigs. We are parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Our loved ones should not have to suffer without us. Something worth fighting for.
    13. AbbyW posted on 08/20/2014 10:31 PM
      @Cosmo Don't misrepresent our comments as being against all teachers or the profession. You know the group our comments refer to. You mentioned you come from Spain. Spain is a fiscal disaster partly thanks to public unions piggish attitude.

      Those of us that are fiscally responsible don't want to see Ontario go down that suicidal road. The Liberals have prostituted themselves with our money to kiss your union's ass and that of other public unions. Ontario's debt has increased 89% in 6 years, a frightening fact, yet your union went on strike hurting school kids.

      Pigs is the simplest and most appropriate description for unions as yours.
    14. Cosmo posted on 08/20/2014 10:58 PM
      @AbbyW Abby Spain is in a fiscal disaster because manufacturing is no longer at the heart of the economy. Good paying unionized jobs were taken from the people and given to the Chinese, among other Asian countries. You're such an ignorant person. My grandfather was a foreman in a shoe factory. My uncle owned a shoe factory. Christ people like you have their heads up their butts.

      We walked off the job because the government passed a law that was unconstitutional and they forced a contract on us without bargaining. Get your facts straight lady! No kids suffered. The were happy to have the day off! Just like any other kid would. So please shut up once and for all! You and the rest of your Hudak loving buddies should pack it in just like he did. Have some dignity and give it up already! The people have spoken, and they certainly didn't choose your backward tea party political views. Thank God for that!

      If you have it your way everyone of us will be paid minimum wage. There was a time not so long a go that the biggest employer in North America was Ford and workers made the equivalent of $50 per/hour. The middle class was built on these foundations. Today the biggest employer in North America is Walmart paying minimum wages. Not a living wage of course, but a poverty wage. So get off my back and go do something about the grave situation that corporations have left our world in. The biggest welfare queens on the planet are corporations. They are the ones that receive the largest breaks and pay the lowest taxes. Many countries in this world have progressive views about education and wages (Finland, Sweden). We have much to learn from these countries.
  11. Penny55 posted on 08/14/2014 11:15 AM
    As a teacher I can say this is absolutely ridiculous. I am appalled to see how out of touch some of my counterparts are. Everyone has to go to work when it snows, it is Canada, that's reality. Here's an idea live closer to work if you don't want to drive in the snow. I have tons of teachers at my school constantly complaining about their drive in to work. Even though their drive is about half an hour. But heaven forbid they lived in the same community as the school.
    Teachers have emergency days they can use if ever they do believe it is unsafe to use it if you need it... But to close the school down is a bit much.
    1. Suz58 posted on 08/14/2014 11:31 AM
      @Penny55 You must be one of the good teachers Penny. I am so tired of teachers being so defensive about their performance. You bring up a very good point, like any of us, if we feel unsafe on the roads, by all means, don't chance it as everyone's comfort level is different while driving in snowstorms.
      If children are able to make it to school, it would be a good time to use that time wisely for extra studying or beefing up on subjects that they find challenging.
      I don't like the idea of students making it to school only to sit and watch movies or play games. This lends to the idea that Teachers are babysitters which should not be the case.
    2. AbbyW posted on 08/14/2014 11:58 AM
      @Penny55 If i had to guess, you'd be one of the teachers that kids love and that kids will remember years later, unlike your colleague Cosmo. Thank you for your common sense and decent comments.
    3. Cosmo posted on 08/14/2014 12:26 PM
      @Penny55 Yes, Penny is a model teacher. She's a true team player. I wonder if that mentality would work out well in any other team Penny? Please quit placating these people they feed off it. You have a right to your opinion but don't do it at the expense of your colleagues. You don't love children any more than I do or any other teacher for that matter. Teaching is not about loving children, it's about loving to teach children. Get that right! We're not saints or martyrs. We're not Mother Theresa or Florence Nightingale! We're human beings and we bring into teaching a variety of styles and world views. It's bad enough when the public berates us Penny must you join in with the biggest paddle? Disappointing.
    4. Penny55 posted on 08/14/2014 02:27 PM
      @Cosmo You and this article are part of the reason people disrespect teachers.
    5. Zork posted on 08/14/2014 04:26 PM
      @Penny55 Absolute truth in that statement Penny55.
      Cosmo ought to pick a different vocation if she can't do anything but whine about her working conditions and her "woe is me" attitude.
      I respect true and good teachers. The ones who knew what they were getting into when they joined the profession and take their jobs the rest of us in the private sector.
    6. Suz58 posted on 08/14/2014 04:40 PM
      @Penny55 Penny, don't let the small mind of Cosmo get you down or get to you.
      Just reading your comments above reminds me of a teacher I had in Grade five. I am now 56 and called her last year just to say Thank you for the impact she had on my life.

      We need more like you, that go with what you believe and not just following the status quo.

      And no matter what Cosmo says, it is about loving children, what you do and walking the walk with your head held high. Students learn by example and need more like you.
    7. Cosmo posted on 08/14/2014 07:50 PM
      @Suz58 Funny, when a teacher stands up against the union/teacher bashers they automatically shame the teacher into submission. Well not me!!! It will take more than a few small-minded fools to stop my rant. I will rail against the likes of you any day because it's your mentality that continues to bring down every working person in this country and the rest of this world. God forbid that the working class should flouring and continue to grow. Furthermore, why should our children go into the workforce and make good money and have benefits? No! They should grovel and then get paid minimum wage at three different jobs no less! No rights, no standards, no FUTURE! Losers! Do you understand that you're the reason why we're going backwards in this country? You bash workers that are willing to stand up against the private sector abusers that continue to rape the environment and the working class. I will always stand up against corporatism and capitalism. They are evil forces that must be abolished. So sue me! As far my teaching abilities are concerned, I ROCK! Do you know why? Because I teach my kids to question, to enquire, to problem solve. I don't force feed them crap and standardized tests to please the likes of you. I teach them to be decent human beings with brains of their own. Wouldn't it be cool if I taught your precious children? We teachers may be different but our core is always the same. We are not easily pushed around or demoralized by mobs. And for my finale I shall quote the late Robin William in Dead Poet Society: “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”
    8. Suz58 posted on 08/15/2014 07:53 AM
      @Cosmo Hate to break this to you Cosmo, although that is a wonderful quote to a wonderful movie! Words can influence the world but it is actions that change it!

      You sound very defensive about your teaching abilities.

      Like most children these days, many of them have the idea that just because they go to school, they are above working for a living. Think they can start at the top.

      I am of the opinion that there should be NO unions in professions that deal directly with people....nursing homes, teachers, working with individuals with disabilities. The only ones left confused is the students, patients and clients.

      All too often, when there is a strike, it is over money. Some, not all teachers act like they are saviours because they deal with children all day. If you didn't want to, you should have gone into something else.

      Teachers today, do not hold a candle to the commitment of teachers in the past. Don't get me wrong, not all, but many.
    9. AbbyW posted on 08/15/2014 09:28 AM
      @Cosmo WOW! So you're against corporatism and capitalism; good for you. Who created the clothes you wear, the food you eat, where you live, your household goods, and everything else you consume? Oh, you forgot that corporatism and capitalism were behind all those things you enjoy.

      That bloated pension you're going to receive; do you have the slightest clue how that money is invested? It's invested in private companies as well as public markets. THAT'S CORPORATISM AND CAPITALISM which you're against. I guess you'll be refunding your pension when you receive it.

      You're lucky you live in a country where you can reap all the benefits of corporatism and capitalism while protesting against it. Fortunately most people, including kids, can see your kind for who you are.

      You and your kind are hypocrites of the worst kind. The people your piggishness hurts the most are the middle class you claim to support. They have to work harder and harder to support your ever-growing demands on taxpayers.
    10. Suz58 posted on 08/15/2014 10:30 AM
      @Cosmo You are so sadly mistaken Cosmo!
      Unions had a place years ago but, there is no reason to have them today! I have had to be in a couple of unions in my past jobs...what I learned...they support the LAZY! These whiny lazy fools that have a common expression of..." That's not my job!"

      When any supporting sector that deals directly with people goes on strike, who do you think suffers? The schools are loaded with students going to school for their teachers certificate and when they get done...there are no jobs. Why, because the unions protect the likes of you and protect your job and the teachers that do not deserve to have any impact on our children what so ever!
      I tutor kids part time. I see the results of your teaching methods all the time! I have seen first hand where kids are pushed through to the next grade, just because the teacher does not want to deal with that student again.
      My kids are in their thirties and I live alone and still pay school taxes, so don't tell me I don't have a right to voice an opinion or know what I am talking about.
      Remember, I am the one tutoring the poor kids that their so called teacher that did not do their job.
      It is attitudes like yours that are creating a generation of up and coming no minds like yourself!

      If you can't walk the talk you should be out on your ass but I guess that is the reason you love your union!
    11. Stephen posted on 08/15/2014 01:28 PM
      @Cosmo Your ego aside, your comment demonstrates why you cannot be a good teacher let alone an excellent teacher and more importantly why you should not be allowed to teach young people. You completely ignore facts and rant on hyperbole, your comment proves you believe your opinion even when the raw facts and logic belie your opinion. You can hate capitalism and the corporate private sector all you want, but you are then hating those that pay your salary and unearned pensions. Again you either ignore or simply do not understand who is the provider of the income you earn seemingly in error. You clearly have not earned the right to comment intelligently nor have you earned the right to express your opinion with students. If you deviate from the established curriculum you should be removed from your assignment. You are one of the leeches on the back of the real tax payer.
    12. Karl Burgin posted on 08/15/2014 03:47 PM
      @Cosmo Why are you yelling at me.... :(

      I'm just kidding there, but seriously, are you this angry when you teach kids in the classroom
  12. Jack posted on 08/14/2014 12:06 PM
    To any teachers reading these comments: Your unions are dragging your entire profession's reputation through the mud. The tactics they use to obtain their demands are deplorable, and would be grounds for criminal charges of extortion and intimidation if they didn't have the word "union" to hide behind. Furthermore, their complete lack of regard for the taxpayer's ability to cover the ever-inflating cost of the union is pushing our province closer and closer to financial meltdown.

    You still have a chance to stop this. Visit the Labourwatch website; there you'll find detailed instructions and the forms you'll need to decertify your union, to bring honesty and accountability back to your entire profession, and to put an end to people scowling at you when they find out you're a teacher.
  13. SarahH_2263 posted on 08/14/2014 01:52 PM
    I live in the snow belt and we have a number of snow days each year in our school board. The weather can also vary significantly even 10 mins drive down the road. The rule in our board is that you go to the closest school if you can't make it to your school. I live about 30 mins drive out of my school board, and feel quite badly when I am not at work because it means my colleagues are covering my classes for me. I have driven through horrible weather, pregnant and with a 4 year old in my vehicle, to get to work. My colleagues then say, "What are you doing here?!?!" I am not sure what the answer is, but it would help if things were the same for everyone.
    1. AbbyW posted on 08/14/2014 01:56 PM
      @SarahH_2263 Your students are lucky to have such a dedicated teacher.
  14. SophieK_1215 posted on 08/14/2014 02:49 PM
    On air and through this thread I see/hear a lot of parents "wouldn't like it" if the kids had to go a couple extra days in June to make up the snow days.

    Is school about education or daycare/baby sitting? I think some of these parents don't really care about their kids education as much as getting to the cottage.
    1. MartinD_9677 posted on 08/14/2014 03:48 PM
      @SophieK_1215 Sophie, I think that school is about both education and daycare. I am an elementary school teacher for the public board in Toronto. While I see myself as an educator, I recognize that society sees us as a daycare service and I am fine with that. While we are teaching, the parents and guardians of our students can go out and work. I think that is the issue here. If the school closes down for a snow day, what do the parents of our students do for child care?
      It makes sense to stop school bus service on certain days because the buses can't start in extreme cold and the slower traffic on snow days would cause young children to be stranded for longer on the sidewalk waiting for their school bus. It doesn't make sense to close schools on the same days because elementary schools are placed in residential spaces. The majority of students live within 1.6 km of their school and they can walk to school, and then their parents don't have to worry about child care.
      As for making up for a lost day, that can be done by changing the way I teach. I could deliver material though lecture instead of collaborative learning for a couple of days, for example. In my practice I have students who have to miss a day of school because of a funeral or illness and I can get them caught up. It is the same with a snow day. The students who are able to come to school get a bit of enrichment or review and the material that would have been covered that day is covered over the next week, just in a different way.
  15. MarionC_1772 posted on 08/14/2014 04:50 PM
    I am a crossing guard. On days when busses are cancelled alot of kids end up walking to school. I have seen kids that are falling down on ice covered sidewalks , the roads quite often have been salted and the kids in the busses would probably be safer than the ones walking. Other areas I have worked have had no kids on no bus days yet I had to drive on bad roads almost having an accident myself.
    One teacher told me that on bad days teachers are suppose to go to the nearest school to them not neccessarily the one they teach at. That way there are teachers to watch over the kids that may show up. The idea is that alot of teachers may be able to walk to a school and not have to drive.
  16. KristinaK posted on 08/14/2014 06:00 PM
    I am a teacher. I'd put that in italics but can't seem to do so. I had a couple awful white knuckle drives to work this year. They were scary drives and there were a number of cars in the ditch along the way. Consequently I had no students that day. I would assume this horrible winter is why our union is seeking school closure.
    My union bargains, that's their job. This year we were asked to tell the union where we had concerns. I remember mentioning crazy 'snow day' drives in. Does that mean my life is more valuable than my husband's, who has to work no matter what? Absolutely not! Does that mean our concerns will be heard and school's will be closed when busses aren't running, highly unlikely. Does that mean I have no right to bargain with my employer about working conditions and be respected while doing so...apparently?!
    We do live in a day and age where everyone is entitled to bargain with their employers about working conditions. Many do it privately but some professions are by default more transparent. I am not offended when a friend tells me they have health benefits after retirement...good for them and their ability to get that compensation for their work.
    1. KristinaK posted on 08/14/2014 06:03 PM
      @KristinaK 'schools', not 'school's'...sorry, I am ashamed
  17. JanineD posted on 08/14/2014 08:56 PM
    Some Important related issues not mentioned in this article are listed below. (FYI, I keep my kids home on bus days and hire the teenager next door to babysit. Her parents won't drive her in either. If the schools were closed, more people might be able to use this handy solution for child care, due to more teens being available).

    1 - If it's not safe for kids to be driven to school in a school bus (which you need extra driver training to drive), is it safe for them to be driven to school in a car?
    2 - What if the roads are really bad and teachers who try to get there can't make it or arrive several hours late (say, because they got stuck and had to wait for a tow-truck)? Will there be enough staff there to keep my kids safe?
    3 - If the teachers are scrambling just to keep my kids supervised (and often this happens) then what sort of learning is going on anyways?

    I see a lot of teacher bashing here, frankly, but the article didn't say the teachers wanted these to be paid days off, only that the schools be closed. Maybe they intend to work out a deal that they would spend the day planning lessons, doing paperwork, calling & emailing parents for impromptu interviews? That's part of their jobs, after all, so they have to be paid for it. Alternatively, maybe they would agree to extend the school year or take unpaid days to help reduce or deficit - did anybody bother to ask them about it?
  18. JanineD posted on 08/14/2014 09:02 PM
    Our education system has so many REAL problems to deal with (crumbling infrastructure, insufficient special education resources, poverty/inequity, bullying, etc.) and THIS is what you choose to report on?
  19. taraf_6982 posted on 08/15/2014 10:14 AM
    I wish I could miss work because its snowing....In Ontario....Where it snows at a minimum a quarter of the year.
    1. AbbyW posted on 08/15/2014 10:22 AM
      @taraf_6982 Join a public service union.
  20. SusanG_6311 posted on 08/15/2014 02:27 PM
    Forgive me if this has already been said but I believe I heard that only 12% of children are bussed. Maybe it should only impact those schools and teachers can 'work' at the closest school they live to.
  21. Ernie posted on 08/17/2014 02:58 PM
    The issue is that there really are and should be 2 litmus tests for when it is unsafe for busses to operate vs when it is unsafe for anyone to be on the roads.

    In the last 10 years, the litmus test for busses has been going too far towards staying off the roads. But its possible that bus insurance rates play a role in that issue.

    Applying the same standard to all workers including teachers is ridiculous. I am not saying that there should not be days when teachers stay home, but in my opinion, extreme cold does not qualify,

    Remember that kids often have to stand out in the cold waiting for their busses. Teachers driving cars dont do that either.
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