Welcome back! I hope you had a refreshing wonderful summer break! I also hope you are relaxed, recharged and ready to start a new school year. Surrey Teachers’ Association welcomes and values your dedication to your students and to our profession.
As you are aware, we begin this year without a contract. Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions, so it really matters. When you take on multiple responsibilities and roles in the classroom, it’s not right that so many members still struggle to make ends meet. As you are painfully aware, inflation has significantly eroded the purchasing power of teachers’ salaries, especially early career teachers who may still have student loans to pay back. We hope that the current bargaining round changes the fact that BC teachers are the second lowest paid across Canada,
Given all that my friends, I’m asking you to prioritize yourself and your well-being. Take care of yourself this year by scheduling daily and weekly mental and physical health breaks. Just 20-30 minutes a day of time in nature can revitalize you. Prioritise your well-being by not taking on any extra tasks and by not over-extending yourself. As teachers we deeply love our jobs but unfortunately our workload does not love us back. Our job can leave us exhausted and absolutely drained by the end of the day, week, or year. Let’s ensure that this year is one where we recover and reconnect while appreciating each other. Remember to access the BCTF Wellness program if you need any support.
I would also like to acknowledge and extend sympathy to the people of Pakistan as they endure the impacts of unprecedented flooding and destruction. We extend condolences to all STA members who have family or friends affected by this disaster that is affecting over a third of the nation of Pakistan.
It continues to be a privilege to serve as your president and I eagerly look forward to meeting you during school visits or governance meetings this year.