What follows is a critically important and powerful political action that the local is asking all members to engage in over the course of the week of February 8 to 12. In light of the PDSB’s refusal to meet the requests from January 11 of the five unions representing board educators, the local is urging members to follow the instructions below to send a short and concise letter to PDSB Supervisor Bruce Rodrigues, PDSB Trustees, and Education Minister Stephen Lecce.
This action is an opportunity for all members to convey their experience during this pandemic to the board and amplify their voice – and it will be powerful and impactful if it’s completed by a supermajority of members. Stewards and Alternates, with the help of a few other key members in each work site, will be engaging directly (one-to-one) with every member in your worksite to encourage the completion of this action. We have the potential to send a truly powerful message when we bring the voices of our more than 7,000 members to bear.
Follow the instructions below to send your letter to the PDSB.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MEMBERS:
1. Copy and paste the form text below into the body of an email message from your non-board email account. Feel free to modify and adjust the message provided to suit your needs and to capture what you want to convey.
2. Address the message to PDSB Supervisor Bruce Rodrigues (To: email@example.com).
3. Copy (Cc:) the message to:
- The full slate of PDSB Trustees (you can copy and paste the following string of email addresses into the Cc: field: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
- The local, by using firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Education Minister Stephen Lecce (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org).
4. The subject of your message can be ‘Demonstrate leadership for staff and students’, or something else of your choosing that connects to the messaging in your letter.
5. Let your work site Steward know once you have sent your letter.
6. Encourage your co-workers to send a letter as well. This is intended to be an easy, but powerful, majority action. Collectively, we want and need the board to hear from every single member about how important these considerations are for this system.
Dear Supervisor Rodrigues,
As a teacher, I’m often asked how I’m doing. I’ll answer that I’m ok, but the truth is that I am not. Teachers are not okay. As someone who chose this profession to offer the best learning outcomes and to build community with my students, the current situation is taking its toll. Current working and learning conditions have created an environment that doesn’t centre mental health and wellness. Staff and students are suffering.
How can educators and students continue to successfully meet pre-pandemic expectations as if nothing has changed, when everything has changed?
The board’s direction that we continue to meet all curriculum expectations while simultaneously taking care of the social-emotional needs of our students as we navigate this unprecedented time is unrealistic, and it’s made worse by insufficient resources and technology. I want to do right by my students and I need the support of my employer to do that.
Developmentally appropriate expectations for synchronous instruction, reduced class sizes, and reasonable curricular expectations would allow me to focus more of my time and energy where it needs to be right now – checking in with my students and providing a deep and meaningful sense of community for the sake of their well-being.
I am also deeply concerned about the health and safety of those in schools – particularly as many of us prepare to head back into work sites on February 16. Additional safety measures need to be implemented, including providing educators with higher-grade PPE (including, but not limited to, ASTM-Level 3 masks, medical-grade goggles, medical-grade gowns), making masking mandatory for all students, enhancing cleaning protocols, improving physical distancing, providing plexiglass barriers where physical distancing cannot be maintained, instituting and ensuring cohorting for students and staff, and ensuring comprehensive daily screening.
The Ministry and board have the ability to provide a healthier and safer environment for teaching and learning.
We need you to step up. Students, families, and board staff deserve to be well and safe.
PETL Member and PDSB Teacher