It is Labour Day Monday evening. A day very much like Christmas Eve. Children eagerly anticipate tomorrow morning and adults frantically try to prepare for a huge day… the first day of the school year.
I sit here watching Milos Raonic at the US Open tennis tournament with a sense of sadness. After two months of summer holidays and the hope that the BCTF and BCPSEA would put to an end the labour unrest that marred May and June, no deal was reached and thus we will not have a regular first day of school tomorrow morning. This is extremely frustrating for parents and students, and equally disappointing for all of us who work in the education system. I know your teachers are upset that they are not working, doing the important job of helping fantastically talented young people learn.
I have just come to Matthew McNair Secondary School after 9 years at J.N. Burnett Secondary School, and I am very much looking forward to working with all of the students, parents and staff. I have heard great things about the school and am eager to meet the people that make up this community. To provide a little background of who I am, I have worked for 22 years in the Richmond School District, at R.C. Palmer, Steveston and Burnett as a Physical Education, English and Math teacher, then Vice Principal and most recently as Principal. The delay to the start of the school year is not the way I wanted to introduce myself, but the year will start at some point, and I want you all to feel comfortable coming to speak with me and asking me questions. I am excited to hear and learn all about McNair.
I would like to welcome all the students back to school after what I am sure was an enjoyable summer. The weather was as good as any summer I can recall, and our province is among the most beautiful places in the world when the sun is shining. I hope you were able to enjoy it! I also encourage you to remain curious, get involved, meet new people, set some goals for yourself and help each other this year. How about a pep talk?!
It remains an unsettling time for all involved in education as the negotiations for a new teacher contract continue. I remain optimistic that a fair, negotiated deal can be reached, and am hopeful because I believe in the important work our teachers do.
We will keep you apprised of any new developments. There will be a resolution to the dispute eventually, and we will get information to you as soon as we have it. You will be advised when and how the school year will start.
Again, welcome back and I am very much looking forward to working with all of you!
Once we get started, I want each of you to have a great year!!!