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Those Bloody Teachers Seem to Go on Strike Every Year


Schools, Politics and Other Stuff

 

The teachers are on strike again? It seems as if they go on strike every year and make our kids lose school days.

Actually, they don’t. Never mentioned, in headline or media, is that since 2001, B.C.’s Liberal government has caused the loss of many more school days than the B.C.T.F ever could.

One media outlet, not untypically, screamed;

“3 strikes, 14 school days lost since 1995, because of the B.C.T.F., one of B.C.’s most “militant” unions.”

While it’s true that teacher strikes resulted in the loss of 14 school days since 1995, such headlines are inexcusably misleading and inflammatory.

Teachers had the right to strike from 1987 to 2002 when the government declared Education an Essential service, outlawed strikes, and removed working conditions from the collective bargaining process.

Ten of the 14 aforementioned 
lost school days resulted from a single strike in 2005, a strike in response to…

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considering a walk out – you in?


The Blahgg Blog

In light of the imposed strife affecting our education system, I’m thinking maybe I should walk out too. You in?

Not for a moment do I begrudge the teachers or the school district. I mean, seriously, who would trade places?

While I might bemoan my own work day, I wouldn’t consider switching it for the challenges and importance of a class of kindergarten kids. If I were their teacher, it would be all we could do to manage to get our shoes off in time for recess to put them back on time before the bell rang to call everyone back inside. Everyone should have a go at that. Don’t get me started on lunch and the opening of yogourt tubes and granola bars. The fact that I would be mandated to teach the alphabet, the days of the week, the months of the year, the numbers and do it all without a nap…

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One Year Gift


I once had a gift

It was stolen from me.

A year ago it was returned.

Gratitude fills me.

How precious are the ones we love

My deepest hope is this,

To enjoy my gift.

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Looking for Myself


As a “human becoming” I often ask myself who I am right now.  The answer differs from day-to-day, even hour to hour.

A lot of people use the term “wearing a different hat” when they talk about the different roles they play.  We all have different hats; some just have more of them.  I remember reading “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” to my classes when I was a teacher.  The hats got more and more ornate as he tried to remove them.  Something like that happens to us.  We take on a role, say the role of teacher.  We then find we aren’t just teaching but we’re also supervising a student teacher, so we have another hat on top of the teacher hat.  But we might have to address a group of educators or parents about something we’re doing with our class, so we wear the hat of public speaker, and so on.

Through writing this blog, which bears my heart to all and sundry, I want to share all aspects of my self with anyone interested.  In this way I remove the hats one at a time until the real me is revealed.  Perhaps I’ll be able to see myself under all these hats.  I’m a human becoming.  I hope to discover just who I am becoming some day.

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Scare on a Ferry


We had a big scare yesterday.  On the ferry going to Swartz Bay, my husband passed out.  I thought of dialing 9-1-1 but knew that was pointless right away, so then I got out of the car and went looking for someone to tell a ferry worker to announce that we needed a doctor.  The sensible-looking man I selected just happened to be a doctor!  He examined my husband, who had come around again, took his pulse, and said I should take him to an emergency clinic.  My husband and I switched places and when the ferry arrived, we drove to the Saanich Peninsula Hospital where the response was quick.  In no time at all he was on a bed with sticky bits and wires all over him, attached to a monitor that measured his heart beats, oxygen level, and pulse, and took his blood pressure every so often.  He was seen by a delightful nurse and a serious doctor, given blood tests, and released four hours later.  We learned never to skip breakfast, especially after too few hours of sleep.  This is something we’re going to have to deal with every time we take the 7:00 am ferry.  We will.

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Author or Writer – re-posted


I’m re-posting this because it’s an on-going question, one that my colleagues keep asking and which has not been answered to my satisfaction.  In truth, I don’t care what you call me.  What I do is write.

Recently, I’ve been wondering if as someone who has and is writing original novels, some of which I’ve published, as paperbacks and as e-books, I’m a writer or an author.  I’ve also had poems, articles and short stories published in magazines and books.

I’ve been reading other people’s blogs where the question, “Am I an author, a writer, both, or neither?” is being discussed.

The arguments appear to fall into two camps: one camp bases the nomenclature on content and the other bases it on publishing.  Camp 1 says, if you write, you’re a writer.  If the writing is your  own idea, originating with you, then you’re its author.  If the writing is about someone else or about their ideas, you’re a writer.  Camp 2 says if you write, you’re a writer.  If your writing is published, you’re an author.

But Camp 2 can be broken down into Camp 2A, which says that you must publish a book, not a story or poem, to be called an author, and Camp 2B which states that the publisher must be a recognized publishing house; you can’t self-publish or be an indie publisher, otherwise you’re a writer but not an author.

The Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary makes it difficult to distinguish between author and writer.  It defines an author as “the writer of a literary work (as a book)” and a writer as “one that writes.

So far, I’m not clear about e-books and which camp you’re in if you consider an e-book a published book.

I would love to hear your opinion.

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Your Voice Haunts Me: Remembering Doreen Kimura Part 4


You laughed often and enthusiastically.  You loved silliness and got giggly quite easily.  Sometimes when you and our mother got together, a laugh-fest would erupt, and Mum would laugh so hard she’d shed tears.

You listened to opera, folk music, and rock-and-roll, and knew the words and music to every song, and could even sing in German and Ukrainian.   We sang Christmas Carols every December, in English and German.  You sang the hymns in Gammy’s old hymnal.   You could sing anything until that neck operation robbed you of your beautiful singing voice.

You had to speak a lot in your work as a professor.  You had very clear enunciation, which I’m sure your students were grateful for.  I confess I used to love watching you talk because of the way you moved your mouth.  You spoke with as much care as you did everything else.  And I could always tell if you were relaxed, worried, annoyed or bored by the way you used your voice.

I hope your voice will go on haunting me.  I miss it and I miss you.

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Life Doesn’t Make Sense: Remembering Doreen Kimura Part 3


She had so much to live for.

Doreen had reached the summit in her field of research.  But she was still asking questions she wanted answers to.  She would have followed another line of research had she lived.  I can’t remember what it was.  She told me, but because I’m not a scientist, I forget what it was.  Maybe it had to do with her interest in evolution.

Speaking of evolution, what sense can I make of our human evolution?  In order to accommodate our big heads, our mothers deliver us at an acutely dependent stage of development; our big brains have survival value. We learn and learn, explore and create, grow intellectually, until we die.  Death does not seem like a sensible end to creatures with all that brain development.

Doreen enjoyed life.  She had one of the liveliest intellects of anyone I ever knew. Her body, however, fell apart and no longer supported her.

I have no answer.  I’m not sure I even have a question.  But she should have lived longer, much, much longer.  I can’t make sense of any of this.  Can you?

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Petunia among the Roses: Remembering Doreen Kimura Part 2


“Did you attend SFU for graduate school or your undergraduate years?” the woman asked. 

 

I guess 99% of the attendees at Doreen’s memorial were either professors or had PhDs.  With my measly MA I was definitely a petunia among roses.  And though my tribute was well-received, I managed to give the wrong title of her most famous book.  I know.  I’m sort of dopey.

All the speakers, except her daughter and I, were used to giving lectures, and her daughter is a performer so she was completely at ease, too.  Again, I think I was the only one who read my address.  Everyone else gave their talks from memory.

But the day wasn’t about me.  It was about Doreen, and whatever my shortcomings, they in no way took from the esteem in which she is held.  She was brilliant.  She was funny.  She was dedicated.  She was generous.  All these attributes and more were revealed and expanded upon.

One aspect of her life that people recalled with pleasure was her ability to give successful parties, whether get-togethers for the lab or tasteful dinner parties.  She spent hours and hours preparing everything to perfection.  One story involved a dinner party where one of the guests began to expound on a controversial topic.  Doreen tried to turn the conversation, but at last had to inform her guest that he was becoming “tedious.”  She enjoyed a good argument as much as anyone, but this person was being rude and her other guests were being made to feel uncomfortable.  She had to intervene.

I could never give a party like Doreen did.  I don’t have the stamina it takes to carry out all the preparation involved.  I’d lose interest or get distracted.  I guess that’s why I’ve remained a petunia among roses.

But though Doreen’s friends were all roses, I doubt if anyone of them had the beauty and fragrance that my sister had.

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Truth in Science: Remembering Doreen Kimura Part 1


“I saw her today at the reception

A glass of wine in her hand.”

 

That’s what was playing as I sat out on the balcony, my sister Doreen’s memorial reception starting up around me. “Doreen, here’s to you,” I said to her memory, then raised my glass and drank.

I knew her as my big sister, my mentor, my friend. Other people knew her in their own way. Their tributes revealed several different facets of her personality.

I think my question, “What do you hold sacred?” And her answer, “Truth,” gave the true colour of her character. She told me she loved data, I guess because it revealed another little piece of the Truth. She was always searching for more and more of this. If the data didn’t support something, neither could she.

Some of her former grad students called her “Dragon Lady.” She was fierce when fighting for Truth in science. Someone said she did not suffer fools gladly. If you were her grad student, you had a moral obligation to serve Truth, and to do that she expected rigorous research, clear writing, and fearless defense of what the data revealed. And they loved her. When she committed to them she stood by and supported them, through good times and bad.

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