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Burnaby teachers disheartened by prospect of full strike

Teachers walk the picket line in front of Burnaby South secondary school in the latest round of rotating strikes that affected 22 school districts around the province on Wednesday. The walkout could become full-blown strike as early as Monday after teachers voted 86 per cent in favour of escalating their job action. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
Teachers walk the picket line in front of Burnaby South secondary school in the latest round of rotating strikes that affected 22 school districts around the province on Wednesday. The walkout could become full-blown strike as early as Monday after teachers voted 86 per cent in favour of escalating their job action.
— image credit: MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER

Burnaby teachers disheartened by prospect of full strike

The morning after their union voted 86 per cent in favour of escalating job action to a full strike, teachers walking the picket line at Burnaby South secondary school Wednesday were disheartened, discouraged and disillusioned.

Burnaby teachers and those from 21 other school districts, along with CUPE support workers, were off the job on Wednesday in the latest round of day-long rotating strikes that have moved around the province for the past two weeks.

But the result of the strike vote means those walkouts could become indefinite as early as Monday.

That's not good news for Colin Chow, a counsellor at South.

"We don't want to be on strike," said Chow. "But we have to support our kids by taking the hard decisions."

Chow said a full strike would have minimal effect on graduating students, as most post-secondary schools will make allowances for their situation. But younger students in need of extra guidance to help them get their marks up or select their courses for the next school year could be at risk, he said.

"It's going to set some kids back," said Chow.

Mimosa Bryant, one of a clutch of english teachers chatting in the sunshine, said, "We're pretty sick to our stomach."

"It's exceptionally difficult," chimed in Shelley Dube.

Steve Balnave, who teaches english and ESL, said he was frustrated.

"There's a certain amount of anxiety," he said. "We want our kids to do well. We're trying to meet the needs of our students."

Achieving that has been made particularly hard by the government's partial lockout that prevents teachers and counsellors from assisting students before or after classes or during breaks, said Chow.

That's normally when he does most of his counselling. But with the lockout, he said he has to take kids out of class to talk to them.

"It's hurting their education," he said.

 

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