The other day I was chatting with a very apt student teacher in our staff room. She was very passionate about her choice of careers and one could feel she had a positive presence. In short, she was going to be a loved and respected teacher who will make a difference in the lives of the students lucky enough to work with her.
I was saddened when she informed me that she was looking for work in either Alberta or Ontario.
Her crippling student debt, the current high cost of living and low teacher wages were the determining factors. In fact, the tipping point was the 0, 0, & 0 wage mandate handed to teachers by the Minister of Education and the current Liberal government.
Sadly, this was not the first young teacher to tell me this. It is becoming a common refrain.
B.C. teachers remain the fourth lowest paid teachers in Canada with an annual wage discrepancy of $15,261 in Ontario and $21,001 in Alberta.
All the while, real estate, food, heating and electricity prices keep climbing at six per cent or more annually.
I am not surprised that many of our finest new B.C. university grads will never teach in our education system.
It is ironic that while our tax dollars are helping to pay for post secondary education the Liberal government’s acrimonious stand against teachers is driving them away.
Yet still I hear, “if you don’t like it here . . . go to Alberta.”
Gutting our education system seems a very short-sighted way of jump starting our economy.
I believe it is our duty to maintain the highest standards in our public schools. Therefore, paying creative and informed teachers to help students become good citizens and lifetime learners would seem a necessary investment.
I hope Albertans thrive with the boon of great new teachers emigrating from B.C.
I must confess, if I was saddled with a $40,000 student loan and embarking on a new career an extra $21,000 per year would be mighty tempting.
Brent Applegath, Vernon