Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jo's Ridiculist...

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a teacher.  I joined the Future Teacher's Club, and went out to some of the elementary schools and did "practice" teaching.  It was fun and I enjoyed it.  I thought teaching was one of the most noble professions a person could undertake.  I still do.  Some of my favourite teachers -- Mr. Chalmers, Mrs. Littleton, Mr. Atkinson -- made a deep impact on me, and opened doors for me that might otherwise have stayed closed.  Other teachers -- Mrs. Hutchison, Ms. Somerville -- made me realize that not all teachers love teaching.  For the most part, however, I still have a great respect for teachers.  They influence our lives in ways we cannot understand until we are older.  I often think of my teachers, and of something they said during the course of a lesson.

"Little girls! I am in the business of putting old heads on young shoulders, and all my pupils are the creme de la creme. Give me a girl at an impressionable age and she is mine for life."  ~~ Maggie Smith, "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie"

So, I was very disappointed to read the following article in our local newspaper three days ago:

"The cost of Vancouver teachers’ unlimited massage benefit soared to $1.62 million last year, contributing to the district's latest multimillion-dollar budget crisis. The Vancouver School Board confirmed teachers’ 2012 claims represented a 50 per cent increase over 2008, when they filed for $1.08 million worth of massages. Over the same period, the number of teachers actually decreased from 3,728 to 3,605.

Board spokesman Kurt Heinrich told CTV News that while the pricey job perk is paid for by the VSB, it was negotiated at the provincial level. “Any changes to it would have to be bargained by the BC Public School Employers Association,” Heinrich said in an email. “Unfortunately, the VSB has no control over this.” The board confirmed all claims are subject to the Pacific Blue Cross’ reasonable and customary limits, though the organization can only request a doctor’s note for massage claims after 24 visits in a calendar year. The claims must also be for registered massage treatments.

Gerry Kent of the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers Association defended the unlimited massage benefit, describing the work of an educator as “very stressful and challenging.” “I’m not privy to why they’re taking the therapy but I believe teachers who are taking these therapies are doing it to maintain their ability to go to work,” Kent said."

Massage therapy?  Really?  What happened to bringing the teacher an apple?

Ridiculous.

14 comments:

VioletSky said...

Really? You think this is ridiculous? I have several teachers as patients (and most of the boards here are not nearly so generous with their massage benefits) and hearing what their days are like, I have developed a whole new respect for their dedication to their profession. It is not an easy job dealing with so many little people, many of whom have difficulties in the classroom (ADHD etc) and often show little respect and not being able to discipline. and then there is the school board....

Leslie: said...

It does seem rather excessive, but most extended health policies do include 12 treatments annually, just like they include other things like physiotherapy, prescription medication, dental, semi-private hospital rooms, etc. So the teachers' plan is not out of the ordinary. Remember why I opted to retire "early" and I'd only put in 7 years in one place by the end of my "career". It is absolutely one of THE most stressful jobs anyone could ever imagine. I defy anyone to give it one day on the job - most would be gone by recess!

Jo said...

Well, I'm sure everyone thinks their job is the most stressful, and most of them are. Nurses are pretty stressed too, and there are folks in our office who have a very high burn out rate. I work for the government too, and part of my job is to compile and print 100s of reports every day. My printer broke and cannot be repaired, and the government told me they cannot afford to buy me a new one. So essentially I can't even have the tools to do my job. It has caused huge problems, and has had a domino effect throughout the province.

I need a massage. :-)

Linda Myers said...

I thought I would be a teacher, but six weeks of teaching in a newly integrated school in Georgia back in the early 70s - without the extra year of college required to obtain a teaching credential in my home state of California - convinced me I had the interest in helping people learn, but not the aptitude. I was so glad I hadn't spent the money on the extra year of education. Waited another 15 years to go back to college - became a computer person, which suited me much better.

Alicia said...

Jo, I agree with your followup comment. It's almost exactly what I was going to write. Everyone's job is filled with stress, but I would think the money being spent on massage therapy could be better spent on things that will benefit the children. And sure, you could argue that stress free teachers would be a huge benefit, but if teaching causes you so much stress that you need massage therapy, maybe you are in the wrong line of work.

Lorna said...

Every job has stresses, but teaching has a special kind of stress. For example, a woman selling Chanel cosmetics at Macy's might have to deal with a terrible customer, but she deals with the woman only once. A teacher must deal with problem children, make sure that the problem child *returns* to class the next day, contact the child's parents about the problem(s), and teach the child along with the rest of the class.

This is a semester-long effort and no good teacher can turn her back once the problem has happened. A teacher has to make sure that the problem child returns -- very unlike the person dealing with a customer once and is then done with him or her.

On top of all this, the teacher has a stack of papers to take home to read and correct as well as a set of lesson plans and quizzes/tests to produce,

I am now retired, but unless I am wrong, my school district does not allow for massages. If it had, I might have had some, but those massages don't last long. There would probably be a fixed number and once that's up, you're done.






Tom Sightings said...

I agree, in a perfect world EVERYONE would get a free massage after work. But who's going to pay for it?

Meantime, someone answer this one for me. When I was a kid, teachers were way underpaid and underappreciated, and from my experience a lot of them were ... let's say, eccentric. Today's teachers (based on what I read) seem better educated, better qualified, more professional, with more degrees. So why is it that our schools seem constantly to be in crisis, with hordes of kids not able to read up to grade level, or do even halfway complicated math problems?

(By the way, my own two kids got a great public education; but we lived in a top northeast. suburban school system.)

Lorna said...

@ Tom Sightings ~
Although I would possibly get a massage if one were offered to me (but my school district doesn't support massages or acupuncture), my over arcing concern would be the question you ask about who would be paying for those massages.

America is turning into an "I have this coming" society and there is no good that comes of this kind of mentality. Indeed, a lot of mischief gets played out with this attitude. -Lorna

Mac n' Janet said...

I'm a retired teacher and I was constantly amazed at things that went on in my district and how they wasted money. Yes teaching can be stressful, life's stressful.
Lots of great teachers out there, lots of whiny teachers.

Kathleen McCoy said...

When I first got licensed as a psychotherapist, I worked in a Workers Comp psychiatric clinic where people came in with emotional problems related to physical injuries incurred at work or work-related stress that made them unable to work for a time. Some of them were bogus, but most had lived through work experiences much more horrific than anything most of us ever see. Three of my patients actually died of their work-related injuries.

That said, teaching seems to be more stressful these days. Some of this may be due to kids coming into the classroom with different attitudes. Some seem not to have been taught manners and respect at home. And some have parents who defend them relentlessly, even when they're wrong.

When I was in school and a teacher sent a note home about a child's misbehavior, most parents took the kid to task and backed the teacher. Now too many parents blame the teacher for upsetting their little monster with such an outmoded concept as discipline. Obviously, not everyone is like that, but there are enough to add stress to a teacher's day.

One of my best friends recently retired as a special ed teacher at a public school in a very affluent area. She said that the parents there were so often outraged that they had a child who wasn't perfect by their standards and expected her to "fix" them and then got angry at her about their child's limitations. Needless to say, she was very happy to retire!

fiftyodd said...

Teaching in South Africa has become a nightmare for most teachers. Discipline has collapsed, parents are on drugs, children run wild, our teachers are verbally abused by the kids and sometimes face guns or knives. However, a budget allocated for massage would bring on incredulous laughter here.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Massage therapy? That's a new one on me. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

Carlos Ramos said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carlos Ramos said...

I disliked the Prime of Miss Jean Brody and the quote is only a few inches away from a similar Commie or socialist adage stating Give me your children and I have them for life - sort of like how Democrats keep blacks and now mexicans ( the illegal type) grovelling at the free lunch counter. Book learning does not prepare youth for life. Life skills and personal experience does. Kids need to join the service if they are not ready for college. Liberal teachers and teacher unions have done nothing other than harm over the last 40 -50 years that I have witnessed first hand. Teaching is like any profession, plan, prepare and follow through and one stays on top of things - I was in management before switching my career path - no escaping that stress and employment go hand in hand. All professions have their type of stressors.
But I have option to toss students out if I need to for three days at the level I teach but over 27 years of teaching collegiate level this generation is like this president - the worst! I pity them and our nation.