'I'm worried about my future': Ongoing labour dispute concerns incoming teachers
LONDON, ONT. -- His dream is to become a high school teacher, but second-year teacher candidate Patrick Morris says it's been worrisome for him and fellow students as they watch the labour dispute between the province and teachers unfold.
"I don’t have a single social gathering with my friends that doesn’t have a discussion surrounding what is it going to be like five years from now for us."
Morris, who is also president of Western’s Education Student Council, says he’s starting to hear that students no longer want to teach in Ontario.
“More and more there are inquiries of, 'Oh can I teach abroad? What avenues do I have to follow so I can teach in another province?'”
A lecturer at Althouse College, Bill Tucker says the current labour dispute has been a discussion amongst staff and students.
“It's definitely been a topic of conversation amongst teacher candidates,” says Tucker. “They are worried about their future, they are worried about the impacts and they are worried about hiring and job prospects.”
He adds students are also worried about the ‘do more with less’ teaching landscape.
“How do you work with those students who are on IEPs? How do you work with students who need that social interaction with an instructor? How do you work with students who also may need enrichment opportunities?”
Meanwhile members of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) were back on the picket lines Thursday, for the second time in a week, in what they say is a fight for their students' futures.
“We know this is a challenge for the community and a challenge for people particularly with kids and we really appreciate that,” says Craig Smith, ETFO president for the Thames Valley District School Board.
“The fight is a big one and parents and teachers want one thing, we want a good education system for our kids now and for the future, and that’s why we are here.”
First province-wide walkout an escalation in job action
Thursday's walkout was the second day off this week for local public elementary school students amid stalled contract talks.
Another province-wide strike is planned for Feb. 11 with each board also walking out for a second day next week.
ETFO members at the Avon Maitland, Lambton Kent and Thames Valley boards will hold another one-day strike on Monday, Feb. 10.
The union had said that it would ramp up its rotating strikes if no deal was reached last Friday.
- With files from The Canadian Press