Sunday, April 14, 2019

Quiet Subversion

More and more these days, the topic of discussion around me seems to be compensation and fairness.  This week's blog post by Jennifer Gonzalez of Cult of Pedagogy is an interview with Angela Watson, founder of the 40-hour Teacher Workweek Club, and it's a good read (or podcast, if you prefer to listen).

Before the days of PBLA, I might have clucked my tongue, shaken my head, and thought, "Those poor overworked public school teachers!" Now I find myself nodding as I read along, agreeing with the proposed strategies, agreeing with statements such as the following:
We will work dozens of unpaid hours every week, we will make our materials from scratch, we will spend money from our own pay checks. We’ll neglect our health, our relationships, our home, even our own kids because we need to do whatever it takes for students.
Another idea from the interview that resonated with me was number three under "ways to push back." Actually, all the strategies named by Angela could also help us in our professional settings. If you have time, listen to or read the transcript of the interview and tell me what you think.

As for me and my professional world, it was an interesting week. Here is a list of just some of the loosely related things that happened to me or were observed by me recently:

  • Was asked by my supervisor if I would be willing to sit down for a mediated discussion with a student. I agreed to do so only if it could be done on paid time (i.e., not on my lunch hour nor after 3:00; that leaves my two 15-minute paid breaks).
  • Received a request from someone in another city. S/he is in need of copies of collective agreements in force at SPOs implementing PBLA. If you have one handy, send it my way and I will see that it reaches that person.
  • Heard a PBLA lead teacher say that s/he is way behind in his/her marking because his/her son/daughter has exams right now. Son/daughter has promised to do all the marking in a few more days, after midterms.
  • Learned of yet another person who is leaving the field because of PBLA.
What about you? What's happening in your world this week?


  1. If your friend knows the SPO names, it's pretty easy to google "the name of the institution collective agreement". E.g., "Red River College collective agreement".

    It's also an idea to connect with a union in your area. They have people on staff who do this kind of research.

    It's good to hear people are making moves in this direction. We all deserve fair compensation. Why should an instructor at a college make double or more for the same position? Good luck to you!

    1. Dear 10:18 PM,
      That is a very good tip. I myself don't know which schools are unionized, so I wouldn't know which names to Google. But perhaps someone will provide a few names and s/he can go from there. I'll pass that on. --KM

  2. Something must be said Right now in London, there's an organization (without giving too much away... it starts with a Y and ends with an A) who's been attracting our students. Every week we lose a few to them. Then they come back to us shortly thereafter and the reasons have been due to extremely easy tests and I quote "I learned nothing." One student received 7 assessments in 10 days and moved a benchmark! Another received 9 assessments in a month. She said she was completely overwhelmed. and don't get me started on the grading... the teacher used one test for both level 3 and 4:if the students got a certain percentage, they scored as a 4, if they got a lower percentage, they scored as a 3. What?!? That's not how WE TEACH LINC. Apparently there's been no pbla lead there. As a result of our students going back and forth, we had to shut down a class and lost a teacher. A heads up to this organization; prepare yourselves better for the next IRCC audit. you're putting all of our jobs in peril and I don't appreciate it.

    1. "A heads up to this organization; prepare yourselves better for the next IRCC audit. you're putting all of our jobs in peril and I don't appreciate it."

      Who needs the heads up?
      What audit?
      Where are jobs in peril?
      When will IRCC visit?
      How will you know they are coming?
      Why don't you appreciate it and what don't you appreciate?

      Who even talks like this?

  3. PBLA is stupid. This is what it's doing to ESL across the country. Try not to blame the teachers. PBLA (and the people who created it and continue to support it) has just messed everyone up and this story exemplifies just one thing that is wrong with it. (those teachers are kind of lucky they have no PBLA lead I think) It's an awful 'methodology' for learning /teaching a language and in my opinion has no redeeming qualities . Happy Earth Day this weekend! (BINDERS - PAPER - WASTE!!!)

  4. Prepare for an IRCC audit? geez. Who wrote this?

  5. Did the new guidelines help anyone? Will IRCC and CIC make employers back off? Will September be better? Will the government kill PBLA to save money?

  6. I have seen so much mediocrity passed off as class materials by teachers constantly scrambling to survive in a pbla world. And I am NOT blaming the teachers for this! I AM blaming the people who are ramming this massive pile of pbla down our throats! This is what happens when we must teach boring, boring, even silly topics and with no real curriculum, besides a fake one slapped together by an administrator. Much of the material I see (when subbing) is so bad, I can't imagine teaching it myself. I understand that teachers rarely give out their best materials, but a lot of it is simply terrible (often it is because teachers have found or borrowed materials which are not really suitable, but due to lack of time, they must use it-I understand! I've done that, too!). Pbla has destroyed quality as the poor teachers are always running around trying to get stuff to fill the time. So many of the topics are slapdash and silly because of this. This is what the fools who created this disaster have wrought. They are to blame for this colossal waste of time, energy, paper. Pbla has crushed the life out of teaching and when that happens, you get a lot of tripe and much less true. If teachers could teach using what they know as professionals, the quality would certainly be higher, as it was before this gobbledy-gook was foisted on us by people who don't know how to teach.

  7. PBLA is an example of mediocrity at its finest!

  8. PBLA has created jobs for certain people and businesses. They may include the first person(s) who introduced it, LED tea cheers, binder sellers, the printing companies and the delivery companies. Some of the material printed need to be updated, so more money needs to be spent.

    IRCC audits and unannounced visits have happened and are happening. For exactly what? The burden of accountability is on the shoulders of the tasks facilitators (formerly instructors).

    What about sitting and making so many tasks and marking them? There is no concern for our health as this sedentary lifestyle is taking over our lives and requires visits to family physicians. Doctors also get a share from PBLA!


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