Currently Reading: Be Not Far From Me

Today while travelling to and from the picket lines, I will be reading Be Not Far From Me by Mindy McGinnis. I absolutely loved her previous novel, Heroine, and look forward to reading this one.

I have chosen the novel for two reasons: the synopsis interest me; and the physical paperback is light. (No, i cannot leave it behind as I need to travel with a book to pass the time 😊)

What are you currently reading?

Β© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Weekend Coffee Share: A Strange Week

If we were having coffee, I would admire the falling snow with you that I see through the window. I enjoy it when the snow falls as the world seems to be quiet and at peace. In a little while, I will need to go out and do my weekly grocery shopping and I will enjoy the walk because not much snow has fallen and I will not struggle too much with the shopping cart. Yesterday sidewalks were cleared so walking is made a little easier.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the week was strange because I taught for only three days of the week. On Thursday and Friday, the elementary teachers in Ontario, Canada walked out of the classrooms to protest the changes that the government are proposing to public education. Yesterday I posted a summary of my experience which you can read here.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I planned and wrote yesterday’s post early in the morning. However I was having some issues with uploading my photos I managed to publish quite late in the day so many of you will have missed my summary. For some reason, the comments weren’t open – which I have now rectified. I love having the comments open on my posts as conversation is what I enjoy most about blogging.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on Wednesday after school I went to a teacher’s evening at the textile museum. We were given a tour of their new textile exhibit which features the printing on fabric in the past by the indigenous peoples in Canada. I enjoy these evenings as they are informative and I enjoy seeing the creativity of people when they work with fabric. My intention is to work on a post this week so that I can share with you some of my favourite pieces.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend I am recovering from being outside in the cold (and the below 0c temperatures) for 4 hours two days in a row. My throat is scratchy and I am coughing. I am trying to recover quickly as the upcoming week brings with it more picketing – unless the government moves towards the bargaining table. We do not have any hopes though that this will happen.

If we were having coffee, I wish you a wonderful day and the best week.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Β© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and the Weekend Coffee Share)

Grateful for Admin Support

As you all know, on Monday the teachers in our school board walked out of the classroom and walked a picket line in front of the various schools. (If you missed my post, it is here.) At the start of our 3 hour stint in -18c temperatures, our school principal came out and offered us baked goods. In addition, she told us that she had organised a gift card at the coffee shop down the road and that we were to each grab a hot coffee on her and the vice-principal.

Midway during our time picketing in the freezing cold (literally), the VP came out to encourage us. She spoke to each person in our group, showing her support for what we were doing. In addition, the office staff and support staff also came out during their break to show solidarity.

On Monday was the second time I have participated in a strike since teaching here in this country. And this time round the support from the admin staff is incredible and not what I expected. It makes things a little easier because the heads of the school do have more work when we are participating in strike action. The show of their support helps to create a positive atmosphere in the school.

This week I am grateful for the support of the admin staff at the school where I work. It certainly helps when we all foresee a long road ahead.

What are you grateful for this week? Leave a comment or a link to your post below.

Β© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

Walking the Picket Line

Yesterday my colleagues and I participated in the fourth phase of our ongoing strike by withdrawing full services. The day dawned with the frigid temperatures of -18c but we were determined to stand up for what we believe is important.

Our bodies constantly moving to keep warm, we gathered together in front of the school where we teach. The school is not at full capacity, so the group was small. However, we cheered one another on as our bodies got used to being out in the extreme cold. As someone mentioned, it was a little like yard duty – but for an extended period of time.

I am proud to be working as a teacher for our school board. I know that we have an important job to do – a job that some in our society do not appreciate. However, the parents at our school are very supportive and understanding. They realise that the reason we are standing up to the government and the cuts they want to enforce is for the good of their children, our students.

A few parents brought their children over to show them that yesterday was not just a day away from school; these parents had explained to the children what it is we are fighting for. Two of our students yesterday morning walked the picket line with us to experience strike action. Definitely a learning moment.

It is not often that we were able to catch the sunlight and stand in its warmth. Our neighbourhood has been changing over the last few years as condos are sprouting up in its streets. We became sun seekers, searching for any spot in which to stand. Sunlight was rare, though, and we walked up and down a section of the street to keep ourselves warm (especially our feet!).

We are hoping that the government ministers see the light (did you see what I did there Becky πŸ˜€ ) – but we do not have any hope that they will. Today the secondary schools are going on their third walkout and, thankfully, the temperatures have risen by 15c. Hopefully the next time we walk out of our classrooms for the strike action, it won’t be so cold.

Have you walked the picket line?

Β© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Becky’sΒ Square Challenge.)

Weekend Coffee Share: A Little Catch-Up

If we were having coffee, I would greet you with a big smile as it has been a while since we have had coffee. I have no excuse for my lack of commitment except to say that the weekends have, for the last month or so, been a time when I have avoided any computer screens. I have instead been journaling and enjoying the creative process that this activity brings. This coming week, I will share a little of what I have done with you. It is a relaxing activity and one that reminds me of the hours I spent as a teenager drawing and practising my calligraphy.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that since our last chat I have been on a break from school as well as celebrated Christmas in the warm climate of the Dominican Republic. I am still sporting browner skin but the memory of the warm sun on my skin seems like a memory. Instead it has been cold in the city I live with icy winds, sleet, and snow.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am back in my routine at school – the deadlines very quickly make a person feel as if a vacation hasn’t happened! On Friday we had a PA day on which we wrote report cards. As we are currently in strike action mode, we are not expected to spend hours crafting comments and inputting these into the system. Instead, we are recording grades on a class list. It makes for a less stressful and time-consuming experience.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that negotiations with the government have stalled and they are not negotiating in good faith. Up until today, we kept our fingers crossed that the situation would change. Alas, nothing has so we will walk out tomorrow. All schools in my school board will be closed and the teachers will be walking the picket line. Tomorrow is forecast to feel like -20c so I do not think it will be a pleasant experience! However, it is important for us to show solidarity and I am sure all of my colleagues will be with me in front of our school standing up for what is important.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I plan to spend some time reading this afternoon. For some reason, I am feeling tired this afternoon and will take the time to relax.

What would you tell me if we were having coffee?

Β© Colline Kook-Chun, 2020

(This post is linked to Eclectic Ali and theΒ Weekend Coffee Share)

Strike Action

Stop Bill 115

It is taking away our democratic right

They say.

Bill 115.

No discussion.

No negotiation.

A direct command to do as we say.

It is undermining our democratic society

They say.

A society that others have fought for

And died for.

They are undermining our professionalism

They say.

Reducing our pay.

Not acknowledging our experience.

Silencing our voices.

It is time to take action:

To fight back against those

Who wish to dictate our actions.

Strike vote.

Solidarity.

Work to Rule.

Strike Action.

Fight against tyranny.

With democracy?

No choice given.

No divide and conquer.

Fight tyranny withΒ dictatorship.

They take away our democratic right

I say.

Our ability to make professional choices.

To make our individual voices be heard.

What are your thoughts on strike action?

Β© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012