The strike’s impact on us students

I am a Grade 10 student at Ballenas Secondary in Parksville. I wrote this letter to the B.C. government but I wanted to share it with you.

  • Jun. 3, 2014 7:00 p.m.

My name is Ginny Lefeaux, and I am a Grade 10 student at Ballenas Secondary in Parksville. I wrote this letter to the B.C. government but I wanted to share it with your readers.

I am an active gymnast and an excellent student. Now I realize that you, the government, must be receiving tons of angry letters from parents, teachers, support staff and the community scolding you for cutting teacher’s salaries and canceling recesses. The purpose of this letter isn’t to harass you to raise the salaries, or make miracles; it’s purely to show how much you are affecting us.

In just two years, I will be graduating, and universities will start looking at my marks in just a few short months. This year, I am required by you to write three provincial exams, counting for 20 per cent of my final grade. Tell me, how am I supposed to do well on my finals if I can’t ask for extra help at lunchtime?

Sometimes, I will have early choir practice and I almost always have gymnastics after school, so there goes before and after school help. What happens on strike days, where we are supposed to have class, and yet our teachers are so fed up with the current situation that they have to protest? Well, we fall even further behind, causing even more homework, and even less learning. And how on earth are teachers supposed to do all their marking and prep in just an hour and a half? I guess they have to do prep in-class, spending precious helping and teaching time grading tests and photocopying. I also tutor at the local elementary school and no recess for them has really affected them. Trust me, would you like to supervise 30 kids who have so much energy and no time to let it out or even get a good snack?

My teachers are the ones who have got me through to this point, and I support them 100 per cent. Their request for smaller class sizes, more support staff and less budget cuts is nowhere near unreasonable. To put it in perspective, my class alone had 33 kids at one point, and four with IEP’s. In a 80-minute math class, 30 minutes is spent teaching while the other 50 minutes is spent working on our own.

That means that the teacher can only spend 90 seconds helping each kid, which is now even less because of the marking and prep teachers have to do in-class. Our school is falling apart because you won’t provide us with more funding due to declining registration in our district. Because of this, my school has no honours or AP classes, no textiles program, very limited sports facilities and severely outdated technology.

Our generation has been said to be “The Leaders of Tomorrow.” How are we supposed to lead if we are constantly being stuck in the middle of all of this, with not enough resources to get us through? How will I get into university with low provincial exam scores because I couldn’t get help? And please, how are the younger kids going to be leaders in our community and of the world if they can’t be provided with the resources and support to get them there? Please take this into consideration, as it is you who is shaping the mould for generations to come. I hope my letter left an impression, and really did show how much your decisions are affecting us.

Ginny Lefeaux

Parksville

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