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An Open Letter to Premier Prentice

March 4, 2015

Dear Mr Prentice,

I am a teacher. I have had the privilege of working in classrooms in Alberta for 16 years. In that time I’ve been a classroom teacher, a coach, a mentor, an administrator, a counsellor, and a mediator. I’ve put in 18 hour days, worked weekends, and missed out on family events. I’ve seen hundreds of students succeed and graduate, and unfortunately, I’ve seen 4 buried. I’ve spent my own money on school supplies, professional development, and cakes and treats for student birthdays.

But, I am not writing this letter to you to complain. I am a teacher. This is the life I chose for myself. I knew what I was getting into when I made the decision to become a teacher. I knew how much time it would take and that I would need to make some sacrifices of my time or the time of my family, just as all hardworking Albertans have to do.

Rather, I am writing to remind you that there are thousands of teachers like me. In fact, I am certain that you had the privilege of being in classes with more than one such teacher. In addition, I am not writing this letter to advocate for more money for myself – I am willing to continue to do my part as all teachers have done for three years. If you are going to go back on a legislated contract there is little we can do. But, I would implore you to not cut teacher salaries or to decrease funding to public education.

There are two reasons for this request. First, cutting salaries will result in many teachers leaving the profession. We already have a high number of individuals leaving. As a successful business person, you know that high quality professionals need to be compensated well. Again, I’m not asking for more, even though it was negotiated. I’m asking for no cut. Second, if you reduce the amount of funding coming into schools, the quality of education will be reduced. This will have a cascading impact on the “Alberta Advantage.”

I have always told my students that crisis can present an opportunity. It is my hope that you will see this as an opportunity to ensure the continued high quality teaching that takes place in Alberta schools is maintained and that Alberta students realize the Alberta Advantage.

Best regards,

Sean Beaton, MEd., BEd.


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