New Brunswick — Most of the province has been thrilled with this year’s winter weather, especially compared to the previous 2 years, which were filled with blizzards, freezing temperatures and ice storms. But the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association has issued a recommendation to the provincial government to end the school year 2 weeks sooner than the currently scheduled date to make up for the lack of snow days this year.
“We had a ton of snow days last year and the year before,” explained N.B.T.A president Claudia Drost of Moncton, “but this year the weather has been perfect — it’s not fair to our teachers. We count on these snow days to give us the much-needed time off we deserve while at the same time allowing us to still get paid.”
Drost went on to tell The Manatee that the union has seen a large influx of sick days this year and she believes it’s in direct correlation with the lack of paid days off. “The numbers really speak for themselves,” she argued. “With so few snow days, teachers are being forced to pretend they’re sick so they can get the days off that they normally would have.”
For the school year of 2014-15 there were 16 days cancelled province-wide, and 14 days in 2013-14 compared to just 3 days this school year.
One teacher from Minto Elementary called the proposed early closure a “brilliant idea” and admitted that she’s burned out from having to work so much this year. “These last couple of winters have been amazing,” cheered Kelly Harvick, who teaches Grade 1 at the school. “I had so many 4-day weeks and even a couple 3-day weeks last year. I think all of us teachers just got accustomed to the lighter workload and now it’s near impossible to go back — we need this early summer.”
Non-teachers around the province voiced their opinions in outrage against the early closure.
“They already get way too much time off and are paid way too much as it is,” said an angry Jessica Florenstein of Woodstock. “They get summers off, Christmas off, March Break, weekends, evenings, snow days, religious holidays, bereavement days — you name it and they get it. And all they really do is babysit and tell me my kid is ‘struggling to learn’ and that I ‘need to work with him at home.’ That’s stupid — they’re the ones getting paid to teach, not me. I’m getting paid to be unemployed.”
Larry Ezra of Keswick Ridge shared a similar view to that of Florenstein.
“Teachers don’t deserve any more time off,” he said abruptly. “If they want time off, they should do the same thing as everyone else in the working world — fake an injury. Doctors in this province will put you off work for anything.”
Drost has yet to hear back from the Liberal government on her request for the early closure.
“Well, I sent the request in last week,” she recalled. “But, apparently they closed the offices due to poor weather for 2 days and haven’t had a chance to review it yet. They’re always threatening to extend the school year when we have too many snow days, so this proposal is totally reasonable.”
The Manatee contacted Premier Gallant on the issue, but he admitted that he hadn’t yet read over the proposal.
“Do you guys think I’m just reading proposals all day long?” he asked our reporter. “The answer is no, I’m not. I’m sort of busy doing premier things like posing for pictures and signing autographs.”