Editorial: Teachers

Modern classroom are complex places with many different kinds of students

BY all accounts we’re well past the days (if, indeed, they ever existed) of classrooms in which every student gave the teacher an apple every morning and where learning took place in a calm environment so that each young charge came away equipped with a common body of skills and knowledge.

Instead the modern classroom is a roiling mass of humanity made up of young people of varying social and economic backgrounds, abilities and capabilities. And forget the apple – some students may not even have had breakfast.

It’s all about, to use the cliche phrase, “class size and composition” in which substantial numbers of students have what are called Individual Education Plans or customized learning blueprints requiring specific and detailed attention.

Being a parent of two or three children is a life-long challenge. Being responsible for several dozen widely different young people is an equal, and perhaps greater, challenge.

If the B.C. Teachers’ Federation is to have any measure of success in its ongoing contract battle with the province, it’s here where it can gain public support. While there might not be much appetite among the public to support the kind of wage increases wanted by teachers, especially from those taxpayers already earning less than they do, their union can improve its odds by connecting the public to the human side of education.