The teachers in British Columbia have been on strike these last few weeks, and inevitably your children have had a few questions. Not answering their questions is not the answer, as your children deserve to know what is going on; however, your answers will need to be kept ‘age appropriate’.
Before starting into the conversation with your child, make sure you know the facts first! It is important that you keep your opinions to yourself and that you try to remain positive about the facts you are presenting to them. Explain that the teachers want to focus more attention on each student, wanting smaller class sizes and extra help for those students who require more help. Keep things simple… there are two sides of the story, after all. The teachers and the government are having a hard time communicating, so if the teachers stop working (by going on strike), the government will be pressured to make the teachers happy!
Make discussion of the strike a learning experience. What is a Union? To your little six years old, the conversation might be kept to ‘teachers all belong to a big group and the money they make, their vacation time and other things that go along with their job, is regulated by an agreement between the government and the teachers.’ With your child in grade 10, this discussion about unions can be talked about on a much deeper level.
Your children might be uneasy about not knowing which days they’ll be off school… especially if they are older and in a graduating year. What will missing final exams mean for them? An imminent strike will mean that parents across British Columbia will be left scrambling for ways to care and entertain for their kids, so making a plan and listing expectations up front will help keep the discussion open about what is going on.
And since your children will be off school any ways, cut yourself some slack with the worry and just have a little fun! Making the best of a tricky situation can end up a positive experience for all of you. Play hooky from work, a ready- made ‘Snow Day’ if you will, and gift yourself the time to enjoy your kids.
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