Extra credit

You only realize just how much extra teachers do when they stop doing it

The grad fashion shows have pushed on, as will next week’s Premiere Performance. But they are only a few of the remaining extra-curricular activities in School District 69 (Qualicum) that will actually happen now that teachers are withdrawing their volunteer services.

Across the province, unionized teachers are putting an end to extra-curricular activities, as they do battle with the province over labour issues and back-to-work legislation.

It’s an escalation of job action that saw teachers withhold most report cards this school year.

In this district, teachers are having mixed reactions to the job action. On one hand, some feel it’s necessary in their fight to be heard and have their demands met.

On the other, for many teachers, the job goes beyond the classroom and extends into the art room or the soccer field. A student’s development as a person — and the growth of their potential to succeed — cannot be confined to a room.

Certainly, the teachers who lament the loss of extra-curricular service are having mixed feelings, especially when it comes to a students they’ve worked with for months possibly losing out on some amazing opportunities.

Which could very well be the point of the job action. It’s high-profile, with graduation around the corner and in this district, big class trips and sporting events now either in jeopardy or cancelled outright. The union is making a point about how much more teachers do — and are sometimes expected to do — in our schools.

No matter what side of the debate you fall, many teachers must be credited for their dedication to students, both in class and in theatres, gyms and much more. They volunteer countless hours to provide students with those extras that can make school life a lot better. If nothing else, the B.C. teachers’ job action is making us realize we should not take this for granted. Even if you disagree with their position in their labour negotiations, you gotta admit a lot of teachers do so much more than teach.

— editorial by Steven Heywood