Attendance Management Update
OSSTF will meet with the Management team on February 4th. Continue to follow the advice of the Federation office and call for support and frequently check your Outlook emails for Updates.
Lisa Gretzky Gives The Education Minister a Failing Grade
The Premier of Ontario asked the Minister of Education for an update on how she is administering the Education Portfolio. https://www.ontario.ca/page/mandate-letter-progress-education
Here is Lisa’s response to Liz Sandals Mandate Letter Response-to-Mandate-Letter-PDF
Personally, I think Lisa’s letter is a far better reflection of the current status of Education.
How to Talk to Your Administrator
I often hear that members are too afraid to address issues with the administrators and would rather work in terrible working conditions than address the issue or call the Federation office for support. Some of us “Don’t want to ruffle feathers” or “rock the boat” however bringing your concerns forward to your administration goes a long way in addressing workplace issues and reducing workplace stress and keeping the professional lines of communication open.
A majority of workplace issues can be resolved just by having a conversation. Here are steps and advice to addressing workplace issues.
As always OSSTF will provide support and advice. We must be informed when issues are not dealt with in a timely manner, if there is a violation of the Collective Agreement, if there is a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act or an unwillingness to take your concerns seriously.
Ask for time
Send your principal an email and let them know that you would like some time to discuss your issue. One of the best ways of receiving a response is written communication with your administrator. Written documentation also provides evidence that you have informally attempted to address your concern with your administrator.
Be Solution Oriented
When speaking up to your administration, resist pointing out problems until you’ve thought through a possible solution. (Understanding this may not always be possible, but administrators may be more apt to deal with an issue if the resolution is prepared for them in advance). For example,
“There are some inequities in the supervision schedule with Educational Support Staff. and here are some possible ways that the supervision schedule will work and we would be in compliance with the collective agreement”. or
” The issue of workplace violence has been happening more frequently, I think we need additional assistance and support from the Joint Health and Safety committee”
Even if your principal doesn’t have the power to effect the change you’re proposing, you must still propose it to them first. We work in a multi-layered organization it is always advisable to bring the idea to your immediate supervisor be presented to them first for their input.
Remember There’s No ‘I’ in ‘Team’
Keep in mind that you’re part of a group, and use your voice to drive change that will benefit everyone. Solutions that give one Educational Support Staff an advantage over another are to be avoided. Educational Support Staff must work in solidarity and be firm and united in finding solutions that benefit all.
Follow up in Writing
After meeting with your principal, follow up in writing. This provides evidence of what the proposed solution was, what the next steps are and your understanding of any follow up that may be required.
OSSTF is available for support and advice before, during or after a meeting with your administrator. Tracey, Kristen and myself are always a phone call away.
Pink Shirt Day February 24 and Day of Pink on April 13
Pink Shirt Day on February 24 and Day of Pink on April 13 this year provide opportunities to take positive action to end discrimination and bullying while celebrating diversity. Globally, people have been inspired by the actions of a group of students in Nova Scotia following an incident of bullying when a grade 9 student faced homophobic taunts and threats of violence for wearing a pink shirt.
Other students at the school purchased pink t-shirts and wore them as a proud gesture of solidarity, sending a message that homophobia and bullying will not be tolerated. OSSTF/FEESO members take seriously their responsibilities to address all forms of bullying and harassment in our schools and workplaces.
OSSTF/FEESO has produced helpful resources for members including Shout Out against Homophobia, Biphobia, Transphobia, and Heterosexism, http://www.osstf.on.ca/shoutout and Still Not Laughing, a resource that challenges sexual and gender-based harassment in schools, http://www.osstf.on.ca/SNL. Additional resources are found on the Pink Shirt Day website www.pinkshirtday.ca or the Day of Pink website www.dayofpink.org.