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Embrace any chance to talk politics

January 14, 2020 Jason Schilling

Reflecting on the winter holiday break that recently passed, I’m reminded that this time of year is an excellent way to catch up with people beyond their social media posts while also requiring a fair amount of running around.

While I was grocery shopping, I ran into several colleagues who had lots to say about developments in public education in the last six months. At first, they were a bit apprehensive to ask me about it since they figured I might want a break from talking politics. Nope.

At the gym, I encountered a former student who had questions about some things he had heard. “Do you mind?” he asked. If you knew my Grade 7 language arts teacher, she would have told you that I never stop talking, so nope, I did not mind at all.

One evening during the break, I had my neighbours over for supper and the conversation inevitably turned to politics. My neighbour broached the conversation by saying, “I am sure you are tired of talking about this right now, but….” I had to laugh, for two reasons, the first being, that talking politics is sort of my job right now, and second, I will never tire of talking about topics that I am passionate about.

When talking politics with people, I preface my comments with the idea that I do not really care about the initials of the party in power. What I do care about is policy that supports our students and their classrooms and that doesn’t erode public education.

As we start the new year, it is important that we embrace conversations about politics and education issues, especially when there are misrepresentations swirling about. There are people who are hoping teachers will be too busy or too shy to talk about issues that affect education, but it is important that we discuss the impacts of government decisions on our classrooms with our colleagues, friends, family and neighbours. Although it may take a little time out of our day, it is essential for teachers and the ATA to hold the government accountable for its educational decisions, one conversation at a time.

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