Dear Ms. Barnett:
This night, the night before the first day back at school, was always like Christmas Eve in our family. As one of four children growing up in Vancouver, we were always excited about the first day in a new grade.
This feeling carried over into my teaching career as well. By this time, almost 11 p.m. on Labour Day Monday, I would have made my lunch, set out my new outfit, checked and rechecked the alarm clock, and turned off my bedside light.
But sleep never came immediately. As I lay in the darkened room, the clock quietly ticking towards midnight, I reviewed all the work I’d done in the previous weeks to set up my classroom for my incoming students. While I wouldn’t know the children’s names yet, I could imagine their faces and would try to anticipate their needs.
There is no doubt that teaching was more than a job for me. I came into the career later than most but it made me even more certain of my choice. Each year I taught I learned more from my students than I could have expected. Teaching was a gift that I will always treasure.
Tonight, again, I don’t sleep. Although I am now retired my mind is on my colleagues who long to be greeting their students tomorrow, not walking a picket line.
My mind is on the children of B.C. who long to meet their new teacher, not face a new babysitter. My mind is on their parents who long to send their child off to a new grade, not fret about childcare.
My mind is on your government whose actions — indeed inactions — are difficult to understand at best and frightening at worst.
What is the purpose of delaying a settlement with teachers? What does your government gain? Are you trying to turn public sentiment against teachers? To what end? Are you trying to save money that is so desperately needed in schools? To what end?
Will you speak out on behalf of the children? Will you ask your leader, Christy Clark, to settle this strike now?
Please show your constituents in Cariboo Chilcotin that you will stand up for them.
Once you were elected you assumed the responsibility to speak up on behalf of all your constituents, not just those who voted for you. Please speak up for the children in Cariboo Chilcotin.
As my clock ticks towards midnight I sense the clock is also ticking for our children and for public education in B.C. What will you do to help?