Expand Capacity to Build on What’s Already Working

The entire BCTF is already working hard and is pushed to its limits given the crisis we are now facing together. Thanks to the leadership of the union at all levels, both local and provincial, and the support from union staff, we made it through the first phases of this crisis.

We Can Expand Our Capacity

We can now look at ways to expand capacity by widening the circle of engagement. We should do this not only for the sake of engagement, but also because with more people involved more work can be done.

This requires setting up processes that won’t add to the burden, but that instead share the burden. The following plan provides lots of ideas for doing this. I share it to get the conversation going.

Let’s Work Through Democratic Processes

I am open to lots more ideas, and to coming up with a balance of approaches for supporting teachers and the public schools.

Of course, this is only a proposal and a set of ideas to get the conversation going. I share it as one way that we could focus our work through increased member engagement during this crisis.

Any proposal must be developed by the various bodies of the BCTF and I welcome the changes, additions, and improvements that would come from this process.

COVID-19 Strategic Responses

Engage, Communicate, and Protect

COVID-19 Special Advisory Committee

Given the complexity and stakes of COVID-19 for teachers, students, families, and other school staff, now is the time for:

Form a special advisory committee in response to COVID-19 that should:

The mandate of the special advisory committee should be to:

Possible framework:

Possible timeline:

The details of a timeline would depend on many factors and would need to be worked out through a process involving the Executive Committee, other BCTF bodies, and the union’s staff. But there are a few possibilities to keep in mind, such as:

The committee’s work should be focused on sharing information, supporting locals, providing feedback, making proposals, and sharing advice with the decision making bodies of the BCTF. It should only focus on areas directly related to the pandemic and should rely as much as possible on existing processes and resources within the union and teaching profession.

The aim of the subcommittee should be focused on expanding capacity by involving more members in doing essential work on behalf of the union and its membership. The union’s staff should provide critical input on how to do this without adding to their already stretched workloads given the many pressures caused by COVID-19 for all workers.

Share Essential Information with Teachers

Teachers, schools, and communities want to hear more from the experts on education – teachers themselves – through our union. Given this, we should:

Details would depend largely on advice from locals, BCTF staff, and advisory committees and should be developed as part of a more fleshed out plan. The point is to prioritize communication to members and the public and to expand capacity as quickly as possible.

Develop & Promote Effective Standards

Protecting members’ health and safety is facilitated by the following sets of strategies:

Important Note:

All of these ideas would need to align with existing policies or new policies may need to be approved so that we can navigate through these difficult times effectively. They will also have to respect our Collective Agreements with the BCTF staff, whose work is invaluable and supports teachers and the profession.

This process should be fair, democratic, and transparent. It may therefore take longer than we’d all like – but our democratic institutions as a union are important to respect. We can both respond effectively and follow our longstanding traditions and processes as a democratic union of professionals.