Class size important to education

Parents need to advocate for their children's education by lobbying trustees

Editor:

I was in Grade 4 when I realized that I wanted to be a teacher. After 40 years of teaching I am feeling the most discouraged I have ever felt in my career.

An intermediate class today will have 28 to 30 students. Of those 30, eight or more students will have academic skills which are two or three years behind the grade level they have been assigned to, another four or more students will need counseling, and yet another four or more will have special needs due to autism, tourettes syndrome, attention disorders, severe behaviour needs, chronic health problems and a host of other problems. There are gifted children and children working at grade level who need and deserve attention too.

Many times teachers have taken political action to improve conditions in their classrooms. The government responded with Bill 33 which removed the teachers’ ability to negotiate class size and composition. The court has ruled that this bill was illegal but the government has yet to take any corrective action.

Support teachers such as; speech and language specialists, behaviour specialists, counselors, learning assistance teachers, educational assistants, etc. have been cut drastically. The number of educational assistants, who support the teacher directly in the classroom, has been cut in half at our school. Teachers and students are struggling!

I will not give up support for my students! I have never ever in my career felt so disrespected by my employer.

Parents, you need to advocate for your children. Ask your school trustees and principals why they are approving classes that are unacceptable. I am!

Carol Minchin

Ladysmith