By: Korie Marshall
Sometimes things can change so quickly it’s hard to keep track. Following the BC teachers strike is a good example, because it seems like nothing was happening for so long, and then suddenly everything is potentially changing. As I write on Tuesday, teachers could be voting on an agreement tomorrow, and planning to head back to school on Monday. I know there are lots of people – teachers, parents, kids especially – who will be very happy about that, but I am certainly not going to call it right now. I am cautiously optimistic that the province and the teachers have reached a fair deal, but there is too much on the line to believe it was a simple solution. I hope it is a deal the teachers are willing to live with, and I will still be waiting to hear the Supreme Court’s judgment on the province’s appeal.
The seasons seemed to have changed quickly as well. Sunny weather this past weekend seemed “unseasonably” warm, whereas the rainy and overcast days three weeks ago seemed “unseasonably” cold. That overcast weather led to a quick change in fire danger in our forests, which I am grateful for. I am sure those who diligently prepare their wood stores a season ahead are well prepared, and avid gardeners have likely been preparing for cold nights, late harvests, and early planting for next year. I, alas, am not prepared. There have just been too many things on the go, and though the calendar marches steadily on, it is sometimes a surprise how quickly it goes.
What can also mean some sudden changes is that we have local elections coming up – Village Council, Regional District, and School Board Trustees will be elected in November. The nomination period isn’t officially opened yet, but nomination packages are available from the Village offices and online. Deciding to run for office is a big decision, one that will definitely impact at least the next four years of your life – and your community. New Councillors and Directors could mean change for the governance of our communities and the organizations we care about. But there has been a certain amount of change that has been happening over recent years with existing Councillors and Directors, so maybe change is inevitable. If there is a certain change that you want to see happen, you either have to talk to your councils and boards, or put your name in the ring to be on them.
One thing I appreciate, and it has been a steadily building change, especially over the last few weeks of the teachers strike – is the teachers talking about their side. I appreciate hearing from their mouths what they are feeling, the challenges they are facing, and I know it is not easy to speak up. It is often hard to get across any one particular point, especially with a complex situation – and most situations are fairly complex nowadays. The provincial government is used to standing in front of the public and telling us what they want us to hear. The teachers and their union executive – which is made up of teachers – are not used to telling everyone their side of the debate. I appreciate it can be especially hard to talk about the situations they see, especially without violating confidentiality, and I respect them even more for speaking anyway.
I love the phrase from the Open Gate Garden’s steering committee – “We are all teachers and we are all learners.” I think BC’s professional teachers have learned to speak up and tell the public their side, and I think we all should learn from them – if we want change to happen, we have to be interested, involved and active, and that means telling other people what is going on, and what we think of it. If we are not interested, active and involved, change will still happen – just maybe not the change we want.