Plotnikoff column – Students remain heart of issue

Column from local student Elena Plotnikoff from the May 28 Grand Forks Gazette.

Politics can be such a chaotic subject that their combination with education is best not to extend beyond a social studies classroom. Yet, these two conflicting subjects have once again come to a head. The history between the provincial government and the British Columbia Teachers’ Federation tells a tale of a long fought war for a purpose which is too often forgotten, the welfare of the students.

What sort of example is being set for the students? They are being shown that conflicts cannot be resolved through talking reasonably, that instead bouncing accusations around is a suitable strategy. Every action of the clash between these opposing groups is meant to help the students but true intentions are being lost.

There are a lot of disparities between small school districts, such as our own, and the ones representing massive schools in other parts of this province. The need for certain resources varies and specific issues differ in priority. Classrooms are more crowded in areas with more students and the amount of students with special considerations is also increased. While these issues are present in much smaller numbers in our region, their existence is still problematic.

In my observations, there is a direct relation between the size of a classroom and the effectiveness in which a student can learn. The more students occupying a classroom, the thinner teachers must stretch themselves to attend to all of their needs. In my educational experience, teachers are very talented and resourceful people but they can only do so much with what they are given.

These actions are hindering the students’ capability to learn.  In these final weeks the coursework is piling up and any missed class time puts students at a major disadvantage. For classes with mandatory provincial exams, every hour of learning counts and missing days can make the difference between a student failing and a student passing.

I do not know who is at the fault of all of the problems, I think many students do not—what we care about are the solutions.  One can spend all day pointing fingers, placing the blame on any certain group or person. What it comes down to is these actions are negatively impacting students.

I care about the teachers, they have done more for me personally than the government has and therefore I feel a more direct loyalty to them. I want them to receive fair pay; I want them to be given the supplies necessary to properly do their jobs, and for their hard work to be noticed. Also, more selfishly, I want to learn. I want to go to school and learn what I need to before my exams, I want to be able to attend the prom that the grad executive put so much time and effort into planning, I want my little sister to be able to go on her year-end field trip that she is so excited for, and finally, I want to end my high school experience with the teachers that have guided me throughout.

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