Opening Statement



Sunday, 18 December 2011

A December Update + Summary


Here it is a week before Christmas. I'm not too heavily into the festive spirit of it yet outside of maintaining the Christmas decorations and decorum at this site. Such is the teaching life. School and union have been keeping me mighty busy. Oh well, there will be plenty of time for Christmas during the holidays ahead. For the juicy stuff you can scroll down 5 paragraphs. Otherwise with one week of classes to go until our two week break, let me provide a more complete mid December teacher and union update for you:


The Social Media and Confidentiality Agreement issue has certainly been a long hard fight! As of Wednesday's staff rep meeting it seems official. We heard that the two are not one and the same. Likewise it seems clear the Social Media Protocol will be thoroughly researched and developed by due process using a wide variety of resources and input. A revised Confidentiality Agreement is now available for signing as I have pointed out.There no longer seems to be an impossible to enforce stipulation that you must sign it before you leave the office or else. This much better acknowledges our members existing sense of professionalism in these matters, and of course our basic right to read it over carefully, and ask questions at your leisure and satisfaction before it is signed. Since there is no apparent emergency requiring us to act otherwise, I still remain very uncomfortable with the frequent, hurried, and immediate executive demands for this to implemented without all these considerations being taken into careful consideration first, during the last month or two.

We know what can happen when hastily half thought out and produced political initiatives are rush pushed through TSU without careful thought and deliberation. See my blog on "In School Voting: A Pig in a Poke?" [May Blog Archives]* for a good example. I don't think that's the type of future leadership our members will be seeking come our TSU spring executive election this spring. I certainly hope not. Hopefully we can all learn from past mistakes and avoid the mis-steps and chaos that will inevitably follow any such supposed politically motivated "strategic" thinking.


I know my blogsite remains controversial among some readers and most certainly at our executive table. I respect that and have volunteered to be involved in helping develop our unit's new Social Media protocol since I know it will apply to me too and I want it to be reasonable and constructive, so it will work. I encourage others who are active and experienced in using the many new forms of electronic communication so commonly used today, outside of TSU anyway, to also get involved. I still firmly believe this is a freedom of information issue. Politically speaking it's just plain good, transparent and responsible executive representation and accountability as your duly elected third VP too. See my "Blogspot Manifesto Revisited" [Nov. Blog Archives]* for a more indepth explanation.


My blogspot readership has certainly seen a big increase this fall. There have been about 900 reader visits here over the past four weeks alone. Most of the response has been overwhelmingly positive, but I appreciate the constructive criticism, and in fact have often taken it into account to make modifications to this site as need be. I certainly don't plan on going away anytime soon. TSU is not some secret society of castles and kings, nor can it go back to being like that with so many new and exciting means of communicating with each other available these days. So phooey on censorship or any efforts to that effect.


A tip for you: watch carefully at our socials and other various meetings. There are always a few grinchy people working the crowd over, whispering nasty gossip and making up tall tales about myself and a few of the other executive members past and present. No big secret! Quite frankly, it's been going on for almost four years. There's a newbie jumping on board the campaign now too.

The word is I need to be "removed". I'm not sure if this was to be carried out now or during the spring election as a part of some sort of "palace" coup right out of the backwards looking "kings" and "castles" type mindset but no matter. Supposedly I was going to be forced by the president to sign the original confidentiality agreement under the old terms at the TSU office or else. Tsk! Tsk! I wrote about this in my last "Social Media" blog. Anyway, it's easy to figure out who the culprits are, and what's been really going on with all these secret rumblings. 

Listen carefully! Who complains the most about me and about this blog? That would be a double standard! Seems some folks can dish it out but they can't take it, for sure! 

Also consider this: I myself don't hide, back stab, nor do I make things up about others or cry "poor me". Look around and listen carefully. Who does?

Remember, there's a TSU Presidential and a TSU executive election this spring. There will be a lot of members running for office. They are taking sides, and lining up their ducks. What's happening then? Go connect the dots yourself. Very intriguing. 

I know this is kind of negative. Most everybody always says to just ignore them, but I've had enough. Is that really a good way to deal with a bully? Or two or three or.............

In my Blogspot Manifesto, one of the questions I said I'd want to address is:

Can we increase member involvement and more good, positive, pro-active and forward moving union executive renewal over the years ahead on our present course? If so how? If not, why not?

I remain an optimist. There are a still lot of great people on executive doing a lot of great things for our members this year, but nonetheless it seems an especially poignant question to ask.


Leadership? Representation? Or simply personal ambition and naked self interest? You our members will decide in this spring's TSU election. That's what will decide where we go from here. If the present nonsense continues, for me, to be silent would be remiss....'nuff said!


On a much more positive note, here's a brief wrap-up of the committee work I've been helping facilitate as your TSU 3rd VP Executive liaison this fall:

Our Beginning Teacher's Committee [BTC] had a great pub at the Madison in late November. Attention is now turning to OECTA Provincial's BT conference in February. BTC is also working on a few more upcoming events including, among other things, the annual TSU Volleyball tournament, and perhaps a wine country bus coach trip. BTC remains an open committee, which means any TSU teacher 5 years or less at our board can sign up anytime. You have been doing so, and a lot of our plans still remain fluid and open to your increasing involvement and input. Great. BTC rocks!


Our Religious Affairs Committee [RAC] has an ambitious program which we had to fight pretty hard to maintain funding for on budget night this year. See "My Budget Notes [Nov. Blog Archive]*. Many of you came out to take a stand. We stopped and even partially reversed efforts to essentially cut RAF funding to provide more cash for beer at other committee events! Mind boggling! Many thanks to all our TSU members and supporters who spoke out on budget night to resolutely remind everyone to keep the emphasis on Catholic in our Oecta English Catholic Teachers Association Toronto Secondary Unit [OECTA TSU].


With our funding safely in place we look forward to some great social, political and religious RAC events this winter and spring. RAC plans to continue our work with the Respect Life Week Committee [RFL] and Right to Life [RTL] Toronto. Look for news on the annual student leadership conference and the Ottawa pro-life march. I know our support remains controversial in some quarters even though RACs life issues are quite certainly in keeping with the teachings of the Catholic church. My support for RAC's Pro-Life activities and stand was a key platform of my TSU re-election platform last spring. Please see my blog on "Respect Life!" [April Blog Archive]. I look forward to facilitating our RAC goal of rallying increased teacher, student and board support for Respect Life Week in this spring. You can also look forward to a continuation of our RAC Newman lectures, with a few very interesting new tie-ins. The religious cards and some more desktop frames for the BT's are going out for when you return back to class in January. Some of us are volunteering a few hours over the holidays to get the job finished for you. Please contact myself or your RAC chair, Mark Sherlock, if you can help out!


The Ad Hoc Special Education Committee [AHSE] has enjoyed increasing interest and involvement from Special Education teachers and department heads across our board this fall. A survey of your interest and concerns was carried out on survey monkey and is being summarised and prepared for our executive, Collective Bargaining Team, and you our members as I write. The switch over to a series of ongoing "Survey Monkey" studies is becoming key to a number of our TSU committees as an integral part of the research process this year. Yes, there is a huge segment of our unit that "get" the new technology. We've had some delays as we switch gears, and broaden our efforts via Survey Monkey but I believe the effort will prove invaluable in the years ahead despite any growing pains we might be experiencing right now. Hooray for high tech social media!

We will be inviting the Special Education Superintendents to meet with our members after Christmas again to discuss your interests, concerns, and exchange information.This proved a very popular activity last year for both the school board and union members who joined in. More info to follow.


I'm sure we were all pleased to receive Safe Schools Superintendent Rory McGuckin's email announcement  about the new jointly developed TSU and TCDSB Discipline Incident Reporting forms. I also helped work previously on our Joint Safe Schools Committee for two years with the initiative. For more info, please see my blog "Our Joint Safe Schools and Joint Professional Development Committees Work For You" [May Blog Archives].* It did take time to nail down, and I'm glad this year's committee finally got the job done. It shows what can be accomplished when our teachers union and school board work together, as we do on our many joint committees such as Joint Professional Development [JPD], Joint Health and Safety [JHS] and Joint Work Related committees. TSU and the TCDSB are no doubt very leading edge in successfully developing these very important co-operative, consultation and implementation committee initiatives for the good of our students, our teachers and our schools. I know a lot of my foreign readers have taken interest in this. It is certainly another cause for celebration this Christmas season.


Friday night was our [JCM] James Cardinal McGuigan Catholic Secondary Schools staff Christmas party. Our Special Education department shared two tables. We laughed and partied throughout dinner and into the evening with our many school colleagues. It felt so good just to engage in lively chatter and joke around knowing Christmas is just around the corner at last. I am sure all our TSU teachers will share a great sigh of relief next Friday as we head home from a job well done on the teacher front lines.There is so much to do now at home! A nice week off after New Years should greatly compensate for the mad rush! I am sure we all look forward to more of the joy, satisfaction and challenges of teaching and union work once we've had some downtime to catch our breath. Whew!

PS: Sorry about writing the acronyms out in full if you know them all ready. They are necessary for all my readers to understand.

*= My blog archives link is located at the very end of this blog column for your perusal.



No comments:

Post a comment

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!

Communist Girls ARE More Fun!
See below ...

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Girls Are More Fun #1

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls are More Fun #2

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Grrrls Are More Fun #3

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Communist Girls Are More Fun #4

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?

Art at the Paris Louvre: What does it mean?!?
A careful analytical study!

Help! I Have No Arms!

Help! I Have No Arms!
Please scratch my back.

I can't find my underwear!.

I can't find my underwear!.
Have you seen them!

Weee! I can fly!

Weee! I can fly!
Look! I can crawl thru walls!

I have a headache!

I have a headache!
And a broken nose.

I have a square hole in my bum!

I have a square hole in my bum!

Here try this, it's very good!

Here try this, it's very good!
No. You have a bird face.

I have an ugly baby!

I have an ugly baby!
No I'm not!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!

Let's save all our money + buy pants!
OK but I need a new hand too!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

Oh no! I got something in my eye!

You don't look well.

You don't look well.
No. My head hurts +I have a sore chest.

Would you like a bun?

Would you like a bun?

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!

Chichen-Itza: Lost Maya City of Ruins!
The Temple of Kukulkan!

Gotta love it!

Gotta love it!
Truly amazing!

Under Reconstruction!

Under Reconstruction!

Temples + Snakes!

Temples + Snakes!

The Snake!

The Snake!
It runs the length of the ball field!