Nova Scotia — Nova Scotians may not be getting the opportunity to see their young children act out a few lines in a poorly performed production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas this year, as public school teachers could begin working to rule this coming Monday if a new contract agreement can’t be reached with the province.
The teacher’s union announced earlier this week that they will no longer be performing tasks not explicitly outlined in their collective bargaining agreement, but have no immediate plans to strike. This means teachers will be arriving no earlier than 20 minutes before the start of class and will be leaving no more than 20 minutes past the last bell. It also means there will be no extra-curricular activities such as basketball, Pokémon club, Weight Watchers for kids, or the beloved Christmas plays and concerts that were scheduled for later this month.
Many parents are left panicking and calling for the province to take action.
“This is outrageous!” shouted Jennifer Newsworthy of Trenton, a mother of 3 boys. “My middle son was set to play baby Jesus in his school’s version of the nativity story that they were calling ‘The Holiday Story with Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, Scientology and everyone else.’ I was so excited to get the morning off of work to attend.”
Newsworthy is also unsure about what she will do about childcare if the teachers will no longer be acting as babysitter. “Do they expect me to take care of my own kids? This is the entire reason I put my kids in school in the first place — just to get some alone time!”
Our reporter easily found dozens of parents who were disappointed with the proposed actions from the teachers.
“I think it’s pretty crazy they think they can just show up at normal hours and do a normal amount of work like normal people do,” articulated Jacoby Heathcliffe of Halifax. “Now all of the sudden they’re not going to work a bunch of hours at home and on their free-time to decorate elaborate sets, write scripts, design costumes and rehearse lines for a play that I’ll pretend to enjoy? That seems pretty unfair to me.”
Although publicly the union maintains that there is a lot of motivation to invoke their work-to-rule, teachers interviewed said it is in fact these badly done plays and concerts that pushed them to their limits.
“We’ll probably only abide by the work-to-rule thing until after the holidays,” expressed Grade 1 teacher Hillary Meade of Truro. “I know all my teacher friends just didn’t want to have to do these stupid plays and stuff. It’s so hard nowadays — we can’t really use the word Christmas, we can’t sing any of the good songs because they’re religious, and it’s all about inclusion now so we even have to let the stupid kids have a part. These are impossible standards.”
The Nova Scotia government is under pressure from parents who want to see their kids perform in the annual concerts. Government officials have even entertained the thought of holding their own productions in place.
“We might just do our own play or concert for all the kids to take part in,” said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage. “We can have the kids play the parts of trees or something and do a little rendition of Frosty or something like that — it’ll be great!”
Teachers in the province are thrilled to be freeing up some time in their schedule to do their Christmas shopping, attend some parties and maybe even stay up past 8:30 at night.