Dear Christy Clark: As a teacher, your TV commercials move me

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Vancouver teacher Rand Webber penned the following open letter to Premier Christy Clark:

      20 March 2012

      Dear Christy,

      I feel that I can call you Christy, because of the folksy, down-home appeal you exude on TV and radio. You’re like our very own Sarah Palin, dropping your g’s and just being one of the great unwashed; just goin’ out there and gettin’ it done! Of course I’ve also heard you talk like a real adult, mostly when you’re annoyed or talking with your fellow politicos, or both.

      Whichever version of the Premier you are, I just want to thank you so much, because as a teacher, I’m delighted every time I see one of your BC Education Plan commercials on TV; and no, as a tax payer, I don’t mind paying for them in the least. I get particularly excited about the ones that ensure me that professional development days will now really be for professional development. Halleluiah say I! Finally. My colleagues and I have been wasting so much time in this regard.

      Recently we have been using Pro-Ds to support our main school goal, which is writing. We helped one teacher develop a writing continuum, which ensured that we were all on the same page as a staff, and it also helped us bring parents on board with the writing process. We used Pro-Ds to attend workshops with experts in this and many other fields, and we brought in presenters ourselves, to help us in areas such as adapting technology for learning disabled students. We also used the days to collaborate and share our own expertise with each other. Lately a lot of this collaboration has been about ways to incorporate the new Smart Boards and scanners you bought us into our 21st century teaching. Oh wait, you didn’t buy those for the school, the parents did! My bad.

      So unfulfilled am I with this huge void in my professional development, I frequently enroll in courses during the summer and after school. They include computer technology and French, and I pay for them myself, or use the vouchers I earn for mentoring student teachers. Some of us at school even gather together in pedagogical book clubs, and we meet to share ideas at lunch or after 3:01. I’m in two clubs right now. I just feel so dirty.

      You can see why I’m so delighted to have you take over our Pro-Ds. I know this is an especially hot-button topic for you, after all the notoriety that one high school garnered last year with their team-building day, and all that wasteful foosball playing. I have to admit that our school engaged in a similar team-building morning several years ago, but it was just in the neighbourhood park and there was no foosball. We also didn’t find it that useful, and probably wouldn’t do it again. But obviously you can’t take that chance. If there’s one thing government hates it’s waste! (Quick question: how much is the HST payback to your buddy Stephen Harper going to cost taxpayers?)

      So rein us in like naughty children Christy, and bring on your professional development! You and your government have such a wealth of knowledge to draw from and impart to us. Here is just a sample of the subjects you could provide:

      1.Ethics. I know that my own MLA, Kash Heed, has had a lot of time on his hands since he had to step down as Solicitor General for election “irregularities.” He could teach us about the history of robo-calling! If not, I also know that Harry Bloy is very recently available, and could help us find that delicate distinction between “not illegal, but wrong.”

      2.The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You could come yourself, Christy, and explain how it doesn’t apply to teachers, and how we are not entitled to a truly independent mediated process with our contract “negotiations.”

      3.The Free Enterprise System. I know this one is really dear to you Christy, as you try and consolidate the far-right vote in this province (just remind them that the only thing liberal about you is your party name!), and I personally don’t mind being used as your whipping boy to get you re-elected. After all, that’s your number one job! You could help me find ways to explain to my students that this just isn’t a good economic time for them to be expecting more financial investment in public schools. This is a tough one, because back in 2002, during a financial boom in the province, you still found it necessary to impose Bills 27/28, which effectively raised the number of students in classrooms and lowered the amount of support for ESL students and students with special needs. Help me find ways to tell them that there is never a good time to properly invest in public education. Maybe we could tell them that if their parents really cared about them, they would enroll them in a private school, like you did. The bonus there is that they’ll score better in the all-important FSA tests, because there will be no pesky ESL and special needs students to pull their scores down! (I asked my principal last year if we could limit access at our school to only the “best and the brightest,” to get our scores up, but she said no, we had to take everyone. So unfair!) But I digress. Basically I need you to come to my school and remind me that there needs to be lots of money available to promote corporate investment in BC, and that public education needs to stop getting in the way of this. I saw you on the news a few months ago saying that our classrooms were stuck in the 1950s, which surprised me a bit. Now I see that you are way ahead of that, firmly entrenched in the Reagan-era trickle-down economics of the 1980s. Remind me again how that worked out.

      4.Spin. This could be really beneficial, because you and George Abbott could come in and conduct a real spin class for teachers, you know, with the stationary bikes, to promote health (think of the photo-op Christy!), at the same time you explain to us how to decipher the political spin you’re using to promote the benefits of Bill 22. My personal favourite is the $165 million investment you’re currently touting. It sounds so awesome, and as long as you don’t talk about how many years that’s spread over, or how little money it really means for individual districts, schools, classrooms or students, you score major points. Better still if you never let it be known how many hundreds of millions you’ve already saved off the backs of BC students by decreasing support since 2002! Keep on spinnin’ Christy!

      Now that I don’t have to bother thinking about my own professional development, I will certainly be able to have more students in my class! I understand that George himself has said that it’s just as easy to have 60 students in the class. And with your generous offer to give me bonus pay for every extra child over 30, I could pay off my mortgage a lot faster! Even though my spoil-sport union says that it’s unethical to make a financial gain for offering an inferior learning environment. Hopefully they’ll change their minds after they attend your Ethics Pro-D!

      Do you know what would really help me to teach a huge class, Christy? Someone like your new media handler, Sara MacIntyre, another gift from your buddy Harper, along with the HST (have I mentioned the HST already?!). She could stand by my desk and screen students, to keep them from asking me annoying questions; maybe she could reserve access for only the best and the brightest? The only problem is, who would I bill for her services? Who are you billing Christy?

      There’s so much I can learn from you Christy. I can’t wait to get back to my classroom on Monday, to start the cooling off period that Bill 22 so thoughtfully supplies to us naughty teachers, along with our fake mediated process. Not that I need to cool off. We’ve got a Pro-D coming up soon, and our school needs to set goals for next year. I can’t wait to find out what you’ve got in store for us Christy! You and me are just gonna’ git ‘er done!

      Yours truly,

      Rand Webber, Vancouver Teacher



      S Taylor

      Mar 22, 2012 at 11:59am



      Mar 22, 2012 at 12:27pm

      Thank you!

      troylana manson

      Mar 22, 2012 at 12:51pm

      OMG....laughed so hard, this is awesome! Creative writing 101 = +A

      out at night

      Mar 22, 2012 at 1:30pm

      Several bulls-eye points, and yes Bill 22 is egregious and just totally wrong.

      But again this appears to be one of those good teachers who doesn't want to say out loud (especially during a showdown with the gov) that there are lots and lots of other teachers who are simply doing a lousy job. Teachers would have a lot more support from the general public if the good ones would out the bad. unfortunately when we hear them say, "Excuse me, but we are doing an EXCELLENT job, thank you very much!" it just rings hollow.

      None of this means I don't support y'all 100%, but honest self-assessment never seemd to be in the vocabulary of the teachers union I was once a member of.


      Mar 22, 2012 at 1:40pm

      That is so true. LMAO I wonder if Christy will give the classes a session on how to become a politian so they to can become full of B/S and have a nice wage along with a gold plated pension.


      Mar 22, 2012 at 1:51pm

      I love sarcasm! I love how it makes such glaringly obvious points that are sometimes missed in well-intentioned, factual reports. Thank you so much for giving words to my disillusion and disappointment. I really used to love this job but now I don't feel like anyone "public" gives a care how much time and energy we spend doing this job- and not for the love of money, that is for sure! Thank you, once again.

      Keep it Real

      Mar 22, 2012 at 2:05pm

      Absolutely bang on. The BC Liberals should be ashamed of themselves. i cant wait for the next election when we can send Cristy and her goon squad packing...


      Mar 22, 2012 at 2:10pm

      You are AWESOME Rand! :)


      Mar 22, 2012 at 2:30pm

      More sucking and blowing from another overpaid, underperforming clown. The only thing the teachers and the BCTF care about is less work for more pay. Anything else they say is just BS.


      Mar 22, 2012 at 2:49pm

      Rand, you make some good points and it seems you are a very conscientious teacher but there are many out there who don't use Pro-D days for anything more than organizing their classrooms or playing golf because they are golf coaches. You are probably an elementary school teacher because the high school teachers seem to be the worst.