Celebration: Still Smiling

Thank you to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and the Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I have realized that this celebration is an important way I find balance and calm. I treasure this #celebratelu community.

celebrate link up

So . . . I have mentioned it a few times on this blog in the last few weeks but contract negotiations between the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation (our teacher’s union) and B.C. Public School Employer’s Association (bargaining on behalf to the government) continue to escalate in numerous terrible ways. I wake up in the morning and think, “Is this just a really bad dream?” But no, it isn’t. My job, that I love, has all kinds of outside things attached to it that are awful. Like an impending full scale strike, weekly rotating strikes across the province, being locked out for recess/lunch and needing to be off school property by 3:45 p.m (and not arriving before 8:15 a.m.) and the very delightful, 10% deduction from our daily rate of pay that was deemed legal by the Labour Relations Board this week. Much media is quite biased but this piece gives details of the history of bargaining between the Liberal government and teachers.

This letter from a parent is pretty powerful:  Beware the power of Mama Bears Oh the power of parent voice!

Last week, I was not coping well with all of this. This week, somehow, I am still smiling. And this is what I celebrate. All of the little moments that I hang on to that allow me to keep smiling. All of the moments that honour the classroom community that we have created over the year. I may only be paid 90% of my salary each day, our three weeks left of school might suddenly only become one, financially I may not know how we are going to manage (my husband is a teacher too) but all of these little moments are mine. And I hold on tight to them.

Sharing a few here . . .

Thanks to the wonderful Miriam who works with me, we get to participate in outside yoga as part of our Physical Education program each week!

Celebration: somehow smiling

We have a room full of readers. Passionate, skilled readers who love nothing better than time to read!

Celebration: somehow smiling

There is much math joy!

Celebration: somehow smiling

Happiness over a shared experience like a soccer clinic hosted by high school students can be seen on these exhausted, proud faces on the bus ride home.

Celebration: somehow smiling

We are a class that helps each other. No asking often. Just stepping up. With smiles.

Celebration: somehow smiling

These are my moments. I celebrate how much I love being a teacher.



22 thoughts on “Celebration: Still Smiling

  1. Oh Carrie, I feel your pain and fear in this post, but also your sense of spirit that heals all those who are also feeling the same.

    I was re-categorizing some books yesterday and reread one that fits you perfectly today.
    The Table Where The Rich People Sit, of which I’m sure you know.

    You are rich, beyond measure with your children you teach, the friends of yours who teach along side you and your husband, of who shares your feelings. Dig this book up and be reminded of this.

    You already know this though. . .

    Thoughts go out to you and those who also are enduring this situation.

    Shari 🙂

    • I do know that book Shari – may have to pull it out next week and read it again to myself. I do feel rich in so many ways – but I really fear for the state of our education system. Our students deserve the very best.

  2. Ooph. This one hits me in the gut. How much we pour into our teaching lives and these beautiful people who will be our future leaders and community members. How little people understand the education process. I am so sorry friend that you find yourself in this position. I love that you are finding the joy anyway. It’s like that cloudy day when the sun streams rays through the clouds anyway. Hugs to you from Maine.

    • I will take those hugs Kimberley. Much appreciated. I am doing my very best to be positive. I adore my class and it is terrible to not be with them once a week. Sigh. Also worried that our year could be over prematurely if a full scale strike happens. Mostly worried though about our government’s perspective on public education and what that means for all of our futures.

  3. I’ve been following your news since you first shared of this dispute, but thanks also for that beautiful letter. I hope those mama bears do rise up, Carrie. I love seeing the pictures & know that this is always what fulfills teachers, yet they still need to eat, & still need smaller classes so that they do their best for each child. Sending as many positive thoughts your way as I can!

    • Oh yes, Mama Bears are powerful – I hope more speak out. It is crazy that even though I am a Mama myself, my voice doesn’t count because I am also a teacher. Well doesn’t count for those that don’t get it. Thanks for all of your wishes Linda. Thankful for my family and our resolve to weather this – it is worrisome with daily cuts to wages and losses on strike days with both of us being teachers. But we passionately believe in the public education system.

  4. Carrie I am so sorry this is happening to you and your students. This kind of thing hangs over us and it is so painful. I love how you found joy in your students and teaching in spite of it. I hope this is resolved soon.

  5. I’m glad you are still finding positives to hold onto in the middle of this struggle. I’m so glad that you all are able to still keep your classroom community strong.

  6. WOW Carrie! My Momma Bear was getting very riled up while reading your post and that powerful letter. I cannot even imagine what you all are going through. It is incomprehensible to me that you need to leave school during lunch and recess. Your attitude is amazing. I truly hope everything works out very soon. Keep smiling 🙂

    • Thanks Gigi. Sitting on the sidewalk at lunch feels pretty ridiculous. It’s awful to have to shoo children out because we are not allowed to work with them. Don’t get me started . . . But yes, it certainly does awaken the Mama Bear inside of all of us.

  7. Thanks for sharing that letter–I read it yesterday after you shared it on Twitter. I love seeing parents get involved and speak out. I feel like that’s the only way the things that need to change here in education will change too (the mania for testing, for instance). What a terrible situation for teachers–and for children. They certainly don’t need for two weeks of their school year to be denied to them or to have their teachers out of the classroom and out of the school. Absurd! I love seeing the glimpse into your classroom–can’t think of anything better than a room full of passionate readers!

    • It is such a powerful letter and I was very moved by it. Parent voice means so much. It is crazy that my parent voice is meaningless because I am also a teacher and therefore considered “biased” but as a parent, future grandparent, I sure want things to remain protected in public education. Thanks for your comments Elisabeth – all of the support means a lot to me. And it was such a pleasure to share all that is happy in my room!

  8. It is difficult to imagine a marvelous solution to this situation, yet one can’t give up hope. Celebrating your students and their learning armors you against all the negative surrounding you. I wish you resilience.

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