When Teachers strike it is the kids who lose out

empty yard

There has been a lot of talk about the Ontario Elementary school Teachers striking. The talks feel like they have been going on forever (to me). This school year should have been an exciting one for us. After all three of my children have approached major school milestones in their schooling. One started Junior kindergarten and one started high school. However for me as a parent and my children, it seems to be one big disappointment after another.

It all started with parent teacher interviews in the Fall. After setting up Open house and interviews many schools I know of cancelled this night leaving parents a bit upset.

Teachers in our schools are not doing phone calls, meetings or sports or any other extra curricular activities with the children after the teaching hours. This means big let downs for students. Let me tell you about our story.

My son who was very popular in his previous school started grade nine this year. His school was in an area that’s boundaries sent the graduating classes to 3 different high schools. This means he and only 3 others from his school came to his new high school.  Within weeks of him starting grade nine, my husband and I got concerned, He was sad and not the social kid we knew. Not knowing anyone he had been spending his lunch hour in the library killing time alone. He was intimidated by the big school and all the kids he did not know. Grade nine is not easy (in case you forgot) For him, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. He was looking forward to basketball season. He knew he was good and this would be his opportunity to meet like minded students and make some friends.

After 2 weeks of try-outs and a commitment from my hubs and I to drive the 25 minutes each way to pick him up he made the team. This meant new shoes ($150) and a time commitment from him and us. 2 practices a week and 2 games. The games were an hour away each time. After two weeks of this we get a notice that basketball is cancelled due to strike. The coach as committed to the kids as he is can not chance a fine of $500 a day for going against this. My son has now gone back to spending his lunches alone instead of hanging with his basketball peeps. With basketball we saw a change. we saw our son the way we know him. Happy and active. Now he is just sad. His teammates are sad as well. The kids are the ones missing out. And I almost forgot, we are still waiting for our activity money to be refunded of $75 due to cancellation.

Basketball is not the only way we have been noticing changing due to the strike.

Our school principal (for the younger 2) is the supervisor on the school yard, not the teachers. Hot lunch has been cancelled and we are expecting a refund. When and if I want to speak to my children’s teachers, I have to do so during school hours. For them they are in class so this is not convenient and for me, often I need to discuss something after my children come home and “fill me in” on the day.

We are waiting for our day. Our day that our school has the walk out. Right now it is rolling out throughout the province. Being a work from home mom, I do not need to worry about childcare, but many parents do.

The kids have also told me they are not singing or doing a play this year for the holidays. So memories of our daughters first year performance are non existent.

The news is reporting students doing their own walk out to support teachers. The walk outs I know of personally are not in support but in frustration. The kids want the union to know what a pain I the butt it is. They want the world to see how it messes everyone up to walk out. I support teachers, I really do. However the only ones who seem to be effected by this are the kids.

5 FAQs about the strike  www.cbc.ca

As a mom I am mad and sad. I want my children to have happy memories of school. Hopefully this dispute is over quickly. In the meantime, I am left answering questions about strikes and the Union to my children. Teachers are needed in the community, in our life. This is hard and really not fair for anyone involved. What about the kids who do not have parents to ask questions to? What about the kids who need the sports and music in their lives to feel they fit in?

For up to date info regarding the Ontario Elementary Teachers strike you can view their site here

I think I would almost prefer a full strike and walk out. Get it done and over. Give the powers above the choice to make an agreement or not. This leaving everyone in limbo thing just sucks. I am just happy this did not happen last year when DD was graduating. As Prom too has been cancelled. 🙁

How is this affecting you and your children?



  1. Oh, Kim – I have tears in my eyes reading about your son:(

    We had our strike day yesterday. I am not supporting the teachers on this one, and I always have in the past. The province is in the toilet and so many have made concessions. I expect everyone has to make those same sacrifices. That said, I don't support the government either. They are both using children as pawns and it is completely unacceptable

    I am the daughter of 2 teachers, so I grew up thinking teachers were "gods". I never disrespected a teacher while I was a student and never as a parent either. However, as a parent, I have come to realize not all teachers are created equally. Not all teachers are there for the love of children. Some are there for 6 hour work days and two month summer vacations. I say move over and let the teachers who want to be there in.

    It is high time that students are put first. Both sides need to figure something out. Seriously,these children are the future and they need to remember that!
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    • Thanks Pam. We have had the pleasure of having some of the BEST teachers ever in our lives but also some that really were and are crap. Most teachers know what is important and are as saddened as us about this. I just really really hope this ends quickly

  2. Oh this is so daunting! I hesitate to have an opinion. Right now we pay for private school for DD as its her last year b4 Grade 1. I see now the difference btwn paying & public. But next year that may change for us.

    I don’t really know enough of the teacher’s side to be angry. I do know that I get a pay raise every year and I just learned of mine. So I’m pretty thankful of the ability to get that. I don’t think I’d like it much if someone took that ability away.

    Again, I just don’t know enough. Great post Kim & good job at tackling this touchy subject!

  3. Oh Kim!!!!
    I agree with you 100% and I feel for the children. We never had a strike in back in my days…the 80's. I wonder when things started to go wrong or is it mostly an Ontarion thing for so many strikes to happen. I'm from Manitoba originally.
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  4. I am so sorry to hear this. I don't have any children so personally it is not effecting me – but indirectly it is – because when the children suffer we all suffer. As the children are our future. High School can be a very hard transition trying to deal with peer pressure, changing hormones and so forth. Being able to do what he loves to do must be very hard on your son. But with your love and guidance he will get through this… It shouldn't be like this… The children shouldn't suffer.
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  5. Right now, the strike hasn't hit us here. We have received a letter saying we may be given 72 hrs notice should one happen. Most of the friends I have here are teachers and though some don't agree with everything that is going on, their hands are tied. One said that she is only allowed to be in school 30 min before and 30 min after (apart from teaching hours). No field trips, no anything else. It really is a touchy subject for parents, teachers, and the kids.

    This is a great post, Kim. Lots of food for thought.
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  6. This is so heartbreaking reading about your son and how it's not only affecting him but other kids as well. High scool can be so intimidating as it is, and this surely isn't helping. Poor guy! I hope the teachers sort it out soon…for the kids sake!
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  7. I have send you a dm about this because I don't want to start a debate on here. Well written post, GingerMommy! It shows just how all of this is truly affecting the children. It's sad!
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  8. I know it's so frustrating. I went to school to become a teacher and I have paid close attention to the news surrounding this strike. My friends who are music teachers (in Ontario) are really upset because they can't have rehearsals after school hours. And if they DO hold rehearsals, they could risk being fined $500. Ridiculous. It's the kids that are missing out. I haven't gotten a report card for either of my girls, holiday concerts are actually happening but happening during the day and if the TDSB DOES go out on strike, we have a couple options on how it can turn out. A) Both girls out on the same day. (doubtful since they're in different areas of the city) B) Bloorview teachers opt to stay in because they're secondary to the TDSB. C) If the TDSB strikes and bloorview doesn't, we lose bus service for Jillian. It's frustrating all around. I'm quite glad that I'm still at home and I'm not scrambling to find childcare.

  9. Ugh… such a tough spot. While I'm not near you facing this, it's always there, every year talked about no matter where you are. My brother is a teacher and I can hear it in his voice when it gets brought up… But you're right… in the end, no matter what the reason, it's the kids caught in the middle and lose out!
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  10. Kim – I'm so sad for your son! Now, even more than before, I feel that this strike is hurting the kids the most. I know that a lot of the teacher feel that their hands are tied…stuck between a rock (their union) and a hard place (the government). There are so many factors at play. The Unions should be allowed to bargain with the boards like they have in the past, but now the government have come in like a big bully and said "you play by our rules". The teachers are stuck with a wage freeze (tho most seem to be okay with that) and have been restricted to working only school hours. Then even those teachers who would continue with the after-school stuff, can't because their unions are being bullies too. In the end the students and families are screwed.

    I bet your son is not alone. There are more like him out there. I just want this whole thing to be over with.
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  11. I know this is effecting the children but I am still supporting the teachers 100%. I am so sorry it is effecting the kids because that just sucks.
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  12. This is so hard. I can see arguments on both sides, but you are right, the ones really suffering now are the kids, and that is just not fair. The adults should start acting like adults and settle this, not let it keep dragging on.

  13. this is really heart breaking, I don't really 'get' a lot of this strike. Our festive feast was cancelled and it is during school hours. I do see the teachers trying hard to make things right in my JK son's class but where it really makes a difference is with kids like yours who depend on the sports to connect with other kids. it really is sad all around and its the kids missing out. You made m realize it's the whole family being affected as well, all that money you've put out and the time you sacrificed to make sure your son could do his activities wasted. this has to end.

  14. That is really sad. I agree it definitely isn't helping anyone – least of all the children.

  15. Okay, this is just horrible.. I am sad to say I knew nothing of this going on and it saddens me a great deal… thanks for the post

  16. Maple Leaf Mommy says

    Well said. My heart goes out to your son. It's has very little effecton my daughter's school year so far, thankfully. Though I was really disappointed when they cancelled meet the teacher night.

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