It’s funny that Dailypost’s suggestion for today was about teachers and the impact (positive or negative) that they’ve made on one’s life. You are probably living in a cave without wi-fi or a TV if you are living in Ontario right now and are unaware about the massive protest action that teachers are taking.

Long story short: teachers have been without a contract for months and months, and the Ontario government just recently passed a bill that forced a contract on teachers, limiting, among other things, their ability to bank sick days. The contract imposed, teachers can no longer strike, so they’ll do the best kind of protest they can do under the circumstances- work to rule. So no extracurriculars for most students, unless they’re part of the Catholic school board.

I’m not going to talk too much longer about this, but my opinion is as follows: I’m at a loss as to whose side I should be on. On the one hand, the government is setting a fairly chilling precedent for any future major contract negotiations. Labour unions have had a long, difficult battle over the last few decades to be as recognized as they are now. The later 1800s and early 1900s were a really bad time for unions in Canada, as the Winnipeg General Strike can attest to. Strikes were often quashed by government forces with violence.

But on the other hand, I’m through feeling sympathy for the teachers. Banking sick days is an archaic practice and more and more businesses are getting rid of them. Worst is that students are caught in the middle of all of this chaos—they’re being punished for something they’ve had nothing to do with.

But anyways, I do want to talk about a few amazing teachers I’ve had over the years:

  • Ms. Papp-Sanford (Grade Seven, Language Arts/History/Geography/Drama): I was fortunate to be in her class as in grade seven I was initially placed in a non-band class by accident (I was supposed to be playing the clarinet). Ms. Papp taught me so much about the world and was probably responsible for shaping my worldview now- she always knew how to make jokes but at the same time took things very seriously and got angry at people who slacked off. I still try and say hi to her if I’m near my old middle school, though that doesn’t really happen anymore since I’m about to wrap up university.
  • Ms. Deveau, nee Maxwell (Grade Eight, Language Arts/History/Geography): I was blessed to have a very young and brilliant teacher for my grade eight year. She never, ever yelled but managed to keep everyone under control simply by being understanding.
  • Mr. Beairsto (Grade Eleven, World Religions): I only had him for one course, but I’ll still remember so much of the studying I did under him. He travelled the world and was thus extremely wise. He taught the entire course with barely a reference to a textbook and taught the various theologies hilariously (ie. talking about two Biblical figures meeting at a Starbucks). He was also the one who inspired me to stray away from my goal to become a teacher and into journalism—he told me I was too smart to be a teacher.
  • Mr. Arthur (Drama, grades Ten through Twelve): I almost think of him less as a teacher and more of a really good friend (though I did learn quite a bit from him). Completely understanding, down-to-earth. I tend to see him at least once a year along with some other people who were in my grade twelve drama class.

So teachers definitely can make a difference in one’s lives. I don’t know where I’d be without those four teachers I just mentioned.


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