STF meets with Prime Minister Trudeau to talk about teaching in a pandemic

On Friday, a small group representing the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss ongoing education issues.

During the meeting, the teachers shared their experiences of teaching in a pandemic and voiced their opinions of what needs to be done to make schools safer.

Ben Goby, a teacher at Ethel Milliken School says it was nice to talk to someone making the decisions when it comes to COVID-19.

He says he thought the in-depth meeting went rather well, but there was one thing that stuck out over the rest.

“It was great to hear the Prime Minister allude to the fact that he realizes, I believe his words were ‘this is the greatest mental health crisis the world has ever seen’ it was nice and affirming to hear a leader say that,” said Goby. “I’m certainly happy to have had the phone call with him, and I’ll be happy to see where it goes, hopefully something tangible comes out of it.”

Goby says with education being a provincial matter, he’s not sure how much say Prime Minister Trudeau has on the decisions.

STF President Patrick Maze says as a former teacher himself, Trudeau was very understanding.

“I don’t think anything we indicated to him was a huge surprise, but it was nice to have him hear us and consider the steps the federal government has been taking, and how they’re making an impact in Saskatchewan classrooms.”

The discussions centered around the technology gap in some schools, prioritizing teachers in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and the impact of interruptions in the school year.

Now that they’ve met with Prime Minister Trudeau, the STF is hoping to have a sit down in the near future with Premier Scott Moe and his Education Minister.

“I think until we have that kind of conversation with our Premier and the Education Minister, and those provincial partners, and have that open and honest dialogue, I don’t really see a whole lot of change coming,” said Goby. “That’s really where that onus is, is just at that provincial level.”

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