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#RadicalBulletinBoards: THIS Is Ford Nation's Concern?

Updated on April 9, 2019
Christina St-Jean profile image

I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.

It Depends What Ford Nation Means By "Radical," I Suppose

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Teachers Don't Have The Time To Use The Bathroom, Let Alone "Radicalize" Kids

It's time that Ontario Premier Doug Ford step into an actual classroom and see what's really going on.

Instead of focusing on such issues as whether tailgate parties should be legalized, or whether the Ontario logo, which some say look like three people in a hot tub, should be altered, he should perhaps take the time with as many of his party members as he possibly can muster and see what's happening in Ontario schools.

I was absolutely stunned this morning when I read that Doug Ford was convinced that teachers are radicalizing students through posting anti-government posters on bulletin boards. Really? He really thinks that's what's happening in Ontario's classes?

Between reporting attendance, contacting parents either through email or through phone calls, meetings, engaging students in critical thinking activities, testing, and extra-curricular activities, I can assure you that today's teachers barely have time to use the facilities before the end of the day.

There have been many teachers who come to work with steaming coffee or tea, only to have it sit ignored on their desks while they deal with countless student questions, ensuring that students are on task, discussing students and their achievement or lack thereof with parents, administrators and guidance counselors (if not student success teams), and just general disciplinary issues that crop up. There's also the mental health challenges students are facing on an increasing basis which are only made worse by the knowledge that there's a government in power that puts greater importance on rebranding Ontario and not so much importance on citizen health and education.

Through it all, educators have to put on a positive outlook in order to get their job - teaching the curriculum while ensuring these students grow into positive, productive members of society - done. There are kids throughout every school with learning and developmental challenges of various levels, and these also have to be considered while educators are trying to get students through the day and feeling productive.

The notion that educators even have the time to radicalize kids is preposterous at best, insulting at worst.

For starters, particularly at the upper elementary and high school levels, kids very much have their own minds, and kids are far more aware of what's going on around them than they ever were in previous generations. They are for the most part fully aware of what's happening in the world around them and want to do something to make a difference so they get the education they deserve with the support they deserve.

Teachers don't have to do any "radicalizing," as Doug Ford might suggest. Between the various social media platforms, students are very much aware of the future that's staring them in the face of a Ford government. Teachers are, in fact, continuing to do their jobs in spite of the potential of what could happen. Teachers are engaging students in their classes, encouraging them to use the learning tools at their disposal, such as asking them to reframe the problem if they don't necessarily understand it, or encouraging careful, critical thought into the issues in any one of a number of the classes they attend.

Educators are continuing to engage students in extra-curricular activities, encouraging them to grow and develop interests in any one of a number of activities ranging from track to flag football to anime club to yearbook. That's how we develop strong, well-rounded personalities; we allow them to be active participants in their own learning and grow in their thought processes without telling them how they should think.

Doug Ford's apparent suggestion that there are radical bulletin boards in Ontario classrooms suggests that schools don't serve the educational purpose for which they are designed, but are designed to indoctrinate kids. That's not what the education system is about, and Ford's suggestion that educators are using the students as pawns and are trying to implant in them certain ideas or beliefs is simply ludicrous.

Kids are simply too aware of what's happening around them to allow that to happen in the first place.

While I understand that Ford and his government are probably a bit surprised by the pushback they are receiving about the countless cuts they are planning on making to both education and health care, this is supposed to be a government of adults. Trying to state that educators are radicalizing students is discrediting both the education profession and kids themselves.

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