Mascoe: Here's the reality inside Ontario classrooms

"Ask any teacher where they would rather be and they will tell you in class with their students. I have been a teacher for more than 20 years. It’s a job I love and I am paid well for what I do. However, what the public may not know is how much my job description has changed."

Teaching used to be our sole responsibility. Now teachers act as babysitters, security guards, social workers, life coaches and educators.

I have personally witnessed teachers who have performed deeds well beyond their job description. One colleague would make an extra lunch for a student who arrived daily without one. Teachers often pay for supplies out of their own pocket. My colleagues run fundraisers to help students participate in activities their parents can’t afford. My wife and I became legal guardians to a student who was a ward of the CAS. People claim that teachers are on strike for the money. If that were true, we would be in the classroom, not on the street losing money.

I have read arguments that claim class size has no effect on student performance. That is a misleading statement. Years ago, I taught in Singapore, and had a class of 42. My students were completely homogenous; all were in the academic stream. The Ministry of Education enforced a strict code of conduct. Classroom management was never an issue. Unfortunately, that’s the opposite of what’s happening in Ontario classrooms today.

Over the years, I have experienced a combination of students who have learning disabilities; have never been to school; are illiterate; have ADHD; are profoundly deaf; have oppositional defiance disorder; have autism; suffer malnutrition; are victims of sexual assault; or have fetal alcohol syndrome. Also, because a no-fail policy has been implemented in order to not hurt student self-esteem, I have students in the same class whose academic abilities are years apart.

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Written by Patrick Mascoe
The London Free Press
March 2, 2020
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Contributed by the Here For Students Staff
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