Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Stress; Daily Assignments; Violence Training and Paid PD; Fall General Membership Meeting and Elections; New Website; ETFO Conference

These are Stressful Times! 

It has taken years, but your Local is pleased to report that TVOT members now have access to the TVDSB Employee Assistance Plan/EAP. To access these supports, log into the Employee Portal and go to "Personal Information" and "View my Employee Assistance Program".

Asking for help shows courage - be assured that use of EAP services is confidential!

As well, the Canadian Addiction and Mental Health/CAMH website from one of the world's leading mental health research hospitals provides helpful links for those trying to cope with stress and anxiety during Covid-19: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19/coing-with-stress-and-anxiety

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Notes for a Daily OT -

Complete self-screening each day before teaching. Enter wearing your own mask - you will sanitize when you enter the building then change into the medical mask provided. At the office, you will be given a sanitized key. Instructions on sanitizing equipment such as the photocopier, will be posted so look for these directions and make sure you sanitize each time you leave a room and again, when you re-enter the class.

Be sure to bring your own personal items such as pens and water bottles, maintain 2M physical distancing when possible and observe posted capacity limits in common areas such as the staff room.   

We can do this!

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Paid Violence Awareness Training has moved -

This opportunity can now be found in the TVDSB Employee Portal in "Conference Registration" under "Elementary Occasional Teacher PD 2020-2021". As with other paid PD sessions, payment for completion of this will be triggered by submitting a "Reflection Form" as directed. For all purposes including E.I., Teachers' Pension, requisite number of days to remain on the OTE Roster, this module counts as a half-day of teaching. N.B. This day is in addition to the Paid PD days negotiated in our TVOT Collective Agreement.

Other Paid PD Opportunities -

What is paid PD?  The Local has negotiated that every OT (including LTOs in assignments of .5FTE or less) is eligible for 4 half-days of PD to be treated for all purposes and paid as teaching time. One half-day of this must be reserved for mandatory online training that will be posted this Spring, however the 3 remaining half-days are yours to select from the options listed. The Board plans to post several of these additional paid PD online sessions in the Employee Portal sometime next week. Staff Development is aware that many of our members are asking for Brightspace training and they will advise us when sessions are available to address this need.

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Fall General Membership Meeting and Elections - 

Registration has opened at www.etfotvot.com for the Local Fall General Membership Meeting and Elections being held virtually on October 21st at 4:30 PM

These elections were postponed from May when the Covid-19 lockdown prohibited the membership from meeting in person. Such restrictions remain in place and so we will look forward to meeting everyone virtually, using the Zoom platform.

Become involved - we are truly looking forward to meeting you!

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New TVOT Website -

TVOT is almost ready to transition to our revised website - a badly needed project tabled because of the demands of last year's strikes and the pandemic closure of school.

There may be a few glitches along the way so we ask in advance for your patience. We are certain however, that TVOT members will find the new site more appealing and easier to navigate.

Same address www.etfotvot.com but improved features - coming soon!

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Upcoming ETFO Provincial Conference: Building and Strengthening Partnerships in the Kindergarten Program

Registration is now open for this virtual conference to be held 7 PM Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24th. For more information visit -https://www.etfo.ca/AboutETFO/Calendar/Lists/ETFO%20Calendar2/DispForm.aspx?ID=4778&InitialTabID=Ribbon.Read

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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

More LTOs to Come; Deadline for Payment; Health and Safety Paid Training is Online; Calendar and Newsletter are in the Works; Time to Elect Your Local Executive;

More LTOs to Come -

To say that staffing classes this Fall has been a challenge for TVDSB staff, is definitely an understatement. New announcements and additional dollars from the government have caused the Board to re-organize permanent Teacher assignments several times these past few weeks and from that shuffle, has come the displacement and re-organization of many elementary long-term assignments. 

As these pieces start to fall into place, we remind members that there will be additional LTO postings - possibly as early as this week so be sure to check LTO postings with TVDSB each day as the Union has agreed to allow some of these to close after 3 days so that classes get off to the best start possible.

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Deadline for Payment -  

TVDSB Occasional Teachers have until September 13, 2020 to complete the paid mandatory online "Covid-19 Re-opening Attestation and Training", now available in the Employee Portal. TVOT members must complete this training in order to be eligible to teach in with the Board -  completion will still be necessary if you miss this deadline, however you will not be paid after that date.

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Paid Training for Health and Safety now Posted -

TVOT members can log into the Employee Portal and in the "Employee Training" folder you will find "H&S Half Day PA Day Violence Awareness Training, September 03, 2020" . Completion of this module qualifies for a half-day of pay for members not in LTO assignments greater than .5 FTE.  

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Your TVOT Pocket Calendar and Newsletter - 

No need to panic - your 2020 -2021 pocket calendar and newsletter are in the works with contact information for every school site, your pay dates, and what to do in an Emergency situation as an ETFO Teacher. 

Please make sure that the address you have listed with the Board is accurate as this is what the Local uses for mailouts. TVOT members can check this information and make changes in the Employee Portal under "View/Change My Personal Information". Remember that maintaining accurate contact information is a condition of your employment with TVDSB - the onus is on you to keep this data up to date.

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Election Time is Coming -

Have you ever considered running for a position on the ETFO Thames Valley Occasional Teachers’ Local Executive?  

Why not join your Executive team and find out what is going on – you can make a difference! Meetings are held once a month after school. In usual times, these are dinner meetings at our TVOT Office in London. 

These positions are typically elected in the Spring, however due to the pandemic, our elections were deferred until the fall in hopes that an in-person meeting could take place. Unfortunately that will not be possible. Therefore elections will be held for these following positions at our Fall General Meeting (date to be announced):

President – two year term, full-time position; legal spokesperson and representative of Local; Grievance Officer; liaison/ member of all committees; signing officer; attends all Provincial Rep. Councils, ETFO Annual Meeting, other ETFO meetings in Toronto Local Constitution 7.2.1 Candidates for President must have a minimum of one year of Local Executive experience (Local Constitution 9.1.2) 

First Vice-President – assists the President, coordinates preparation of the newsletter, attends committees (Local Constitution 7.2.2) 

Second Vice-President - assists the President and First Vice-President and acts as liaison to the P.D. Committee (Local Constitution 7.2.3) 

Secretary – records, prepares and circulates accurate minutes of past and present Executive and General Membership Meetings (Local Constitution 7.2.4) 

Treasurer - maintains financial records, pays expenses of the Local as signing officer, drafts budget and reports to Executive and membership (Local Constitution 7.2.5) 

Health and Safety Officer - acts as liaison with the Board’s Joint Health and Safety Committee, the Local Executive and general membership; conducts annual audits of schools and participates in all applicable training (Local Constitution 7.2.7) 

Executive Members at Large (4) – great learning position with duties as determined by the Executive (Local Constitution 7.1.1 – 7.1.14) 

Chief Negotiator - negotiates the collective agreement; maintains agreement and reports to membership (Local Constitution 7.2.6) 

Collective Bargaining Committee (President, Chief Negotiator and 4-5 others) - collects information from membership and prepares Local preliminary submission (Local Constitution 7.3.4) 

ETFO Provincial Annual Meeting Alternates (5) – pool from which delegate vacancies will be filled; Toronto mid-August with all costs paid (Local Constitution 10.1 – 10.3)

Candidate Forms will be posted on the Local website Friday, Sept 11/20: www.etfotvot.com 

The date for this Fall General Meeting will be announced in next Wednesday's Blog.



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Welcome Back to a Different School Year

So, here we go....  Welcome back to another school year, but one that is different from all those that have preceded it.  During these unprecedented times we must try to stay informed and keep matters in perspective. We will need to be adaptable so let's make a point of supporting one another, staying in contact and being kind to our colleagues and of course, to our students and their families.  And if at times you feel overwhelmed, anxious and need support, TVOT Occasional Teachers now have access to the Board's confidential Employee Assistance Plan. No need to suffer in silence for together, we will get through this! 

Displaced LTOs - With the influx of additional Federal funding, the Board has had to make last minute staffing changes throughout the system. In fact, TVDSB staff worked over this past weekend re-organizing permanent Teacher assignments and school allocations. As a result, many of our LTOs assigned to long-term assignments through central staffing, have been displaced. The Board assures us they are in the process of offering new positions to those who have been affected so we advise patience as the process may take several days yet. 


Work for Daily OTs - At this time, TVDSB intends to use daily Occasional Teachers in the usual manner with no limitations on the number of schools OTs can visit. PPE for daily use will be available at each school but no OT will be eligible to teach in TVDSB until they complete the mandatory Covid-19 Procedures training now available in the Employee Portal. The deadline for completion is September 13th and for this, you will be paid a full day salary.

Unlike during the emergency instruction that took place in the spring, OTs will be called on to replace absent Teachers/LTOs who are teaching remotely. Familiarity with "Brightspace" will be a pre-requisite for taking such assignments and OTs will be expected to conform to the timetable of the absent Teacher. The Board assures us it will be clear when an assignment is to replace a remote learning Teacher.

Website in Transition - Your TVOT Local is excited to announce that our new website is almost ready. We are hoping the transition will have little impact in our service to the membership and that you will find the new format, much more convenient. Also, don't forget to open an account there (using a personal email address) so that you have access to our Lending Library, the $50 Annual Book Rebate and the Professional Learning Development Fund. It's also how we contact members to keep you abreast of emerging news.

Did you know that TVOT members have access to Provincial ETFO conferences - 







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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Vote on the new Tentative Local Collective Agreement; ETFO Summer Academy;Take Action to Protect Long-Term Care homes;

Today is Your Chance to Vote on the Tentative Local Collective Agreement!

Your TVOT Local is hosting a telephone Town Hall today, June 17th at 4:30 pm.
To participate, call in at:
Toll Free: 1-888-396-8063
From Toronto: 1-416-764-8652
The Tentative Agreement is posted in the "Member" section of www.etfotvot.com for those who have set up accounts.
Voting will open immediately following the Town Hall today and closes 24 hours later on Thursday, June 18th at 5:00 pm.
To vote, log in with your TVDSB Employee ID #  as your Username. Your Password will be the last 4 digits of your phone number.
Voting link: https://unionvote.live/
For technical support about the vote, call 647-776-0950 from 9 - 5 PM
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ETFO Summer Academy
This year, ETFO's popular Summer Academy courses will be offered virtually so members can participate from anywhere they have internet access.
Make your selection from 28 courses, including some designed specifically for Occasional Teachers.
Registration for these July and August courses is open now.
Go to  ETFO Summer Academy  for more details.
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Ontario Nurses' Association's Day of Action to Protect Long Term Care is today.
Take action and send a message to Premier Ford to protect residents, nurses and health care workers in long term care.
The Ontario Nurses Association has three demands:
1) More full time Registered Nurse positions
2) A COVID fund for self-isolation and lost wages
3) The phasing out of private, for-profit long-term care
To provide safe care, nurses and health care professionals need safe working conditions, so spread the word and take action today.
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TWO WEEKS LEFT
Remember that all Occasional Teachers (daily and LTOs) must complete the mandatory online training modules by the end of the June 26th school day. You must also complete your annual WHMIS Review and Offence Declaration etc., all of which can be found in the Employee Portal.
Please email the office at etfotvot@gmail.com or check past blogs if you require further details.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Having Courageous Conversations

HAVING COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS
This material has been taken directly (with some minor grammatical modifications) from: Speak Up at School, How to Respond to Everyday Prejudice, Bias and Stereotypes by Teaching Tolerance
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” – Martin Luther King Jr.
PREPARE YOURSELF 
1. Mindset: Avoid being stymied by a discriminatory remark by preparing your mindset in advance. Start internally identifying yourself as a person who speaks up against bigotry and discrimination. Say the following to yourself:
 I am a person who will speak up against bigotry.
 I will not let hate have the last word. To help you feel prepared, come up with some ready responses that will work in a variety of moments, such as:
 That offends me.
 I don’t find that funny.
 I’m surprised to hear you say that.
 Can you clarify what you meant by that?
2. Tone and temperament: When speaking up, consider your tone and temperament. Remain calm and thoughtful in your approach. Do not react with shock or attack. Be yourself. Be firm. Be confident. Know that you are doing the right thing and that there is no need to shame the other person. Also avoid resorting to humour as it can send mixed messages to the other person around the appropriateness of their discriminatory comment or approach.
3. Assess the risk of speaking up: Try not to let unwarranted fear of speaking up silence you, but consider the consequences of speaking up and weigh them against the consequences of not speaking up.
4. Understand the dynamics of change: Change happens slowly and sometimes not at all. Remember though, that if you speak up, others may follow and others after them. You may inspire people to find the courage to speak up themselves.
5. Don’t underestimate your efforts: If changed behaviour is what you are after, keep that goal in mind and let it shape your response. Be a model for others to follow, As the saying goes, be the change you wish to see in the world.
IN THE MOMENT – BASIC STRATEGIES
1. Interrupt: You must speak up against every biased remark, every time it happens. Letting one go, them speaking up against the next one, send an inconsistent message: that sometimes bias is OK; other times it isn’t. Letting the first instance go without comment also sends the message to anyone within earshot that it’s OK to say bigoted things (or allow exclusion to continue occurring).
2. Question: Ask simple questions in response to discriminatory comments or exclusionary situations. This can create a helpful dialogue without being aggressive or accusatory.
Some examples include:
 Why do you say that?
 What do you mean?
 Tell me more.
 Did you mean to say something hurtful when you said that?
 Using that word as a putdown offends me.
 Using that word (or making that decision) doesn’t help others feel safe or accepted here.
3. Educate: Sometimes ignorance is at wok when people haven’t had as much exposure to diverse populations. Other times, people simply don’t know the negative power behind certain words or phrases. A good first step in addressing a moment of bias is to explain why the term, phrase or situation is offensive. It is not your “job” to educate everyone else about bias. People do need to take responsibility for their own ignorance. That said, you are in a school and education happens in schools. So it’s a natural fit to wrap education around moments of bias or stereotyping.
4. Echo: It’s powerful to be the first voice that interrupts bias. It’s also powerful on another level to be the second, third, fourth voice to join the interruption. In group settings, if someone has said something biased, and multiple people speak up, the echoing power of those voices can have a multiplying effect As the echoing voice, you can reiterate the anti-bias message or you can thank the first person for speaking up – or both!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

What to expect? N.B.Offence Declaration/Mandatory online training

What to Expect for September?
So it's official - school is out until September but then what?
At this point, we expect staffing to proceed as usual with permanent hiring to begin in late June and into July and LTOs to be posted in mid-August.  And after that, nothing is certain.
Please know that ETFO Provincial and your TVOT Local will continue to advocate for our members at every opportunity so look for further details as they become available.
And because information is evolving so quickly, we again encourage all members to register at www.etfo.ca to receive their Covid-19 updates and e-newsletters.
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Important for all LTOs and daily Occasional Teachers - 
All TVDSB employees must complete the annual Offence Declaration, WHMIS review etc. posted in the Employee Portal as a condition of employment.  As well, you must complete all 19 of the OTE modules listed there under "Employee Training". For daily Occasional Teachers, completion counts for all purposes as a half-day of teaching. LTOs will have completed many of these modules at staff meetings or on PA days, so there is no additional compensation. Failure to complete these will make you inactive with TVDSB and could result in removal from the TVDSB OT Roster.
Please contact Staff Development or your TVOT Local etfotvot@gmail.com if you have any questions.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

LTOs and Report Cards; Local Bargaining; Last Chance;

LTOs and Report Cards
The Ministry of Education has not yet sent out a guidance document regarding this year's report cards. 
That being said, your TVOT Local agrees with TVDSB that:
- student marks will be based on material assessed and evaluated between September and March 13 but if the LTO sees additional achievement in a subject area from April – June, this may result in an increase in the overall grade/mark provided on the report card in June
- though Term 1 reports were struck work during job action, assessments and evaluations were submitted by Teachers to Administrators on January 30th. This combined with material from the following 6 weeks will generate the mark that goes on the final student report
- in the absence of specific direction from the Ministry of Education, student reports will be written in accordance with: Growing Success; Growing Success - The Kindergarten Addendum; Report Student Learning; TVDSB Reporting Student Achievement Procedure. These documents listed above are available on the TVDSB website.
- LTOs are expected to use professional judgement in writing student reports
- There will be a COVID-19 statement from the Board embedded in student reports.
- The Term 1 column of the reports will remain unfilled
- Student reports will not be signed. They will be distributed electronically to parents/guardians centrally via School Messenger. Students whose parents have not provided an email address to the school will receive their report cards via Canada Post. 
Though the Ministry of Education changed remaining PA Days to Instructional Days, it is understood that LTOs will have flexibility during their workday to complete report cards and to engage with students, parents, colleagues and their own families. 
- Report cards are due to Principals by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 11th.
- LTOs will inform Principals by email when report cards are complete and ready for review
- If you were in a LTO assignment that has ended but the Principal has asked you to prepare the reports, please be aware that L35.00 (iii) of your Collective Agreement provides: "When a long-term occasional teaching assignment is completed prior to the required date for report cards to be submitted, the Occasional Teachers may be assigned to assist with the completion of these report cards. In such an event, the OT shall be paid for the time to complete the report cards up to a maximum of one (1) day. The rate of pay shall be the rate the Occasional Teacher received during the long-term occasional teaching assignment."

Please contact the Local at etfotvot@gmail.com if you have any questions.
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Local Negotiations
As you know, TVOT members have already accepted the ETFO Central Agreement. There remain however, many matters that affect the day to day working conditions of TVOT members and those are the subject of local negotiations.
Your Local bargaining team is comprised of Terry Card - President/Chief Negotiator, Nancy Springer, Vivek Nath, Farida Makhani, Sharon Pinylo and Kevin Utley, all of whom have been working with ETFO CB Staff Officer Susan Ansara to represent the interests of elementary Occasional Teachers in Thames Valley. These talks with TVDSB are ongoing and ultimately we will reach a Tentative Agreement. At that time, we will notify members and you will have a chance to either accept or reject the deal so please make sure you maintain accurate email information with our Local.
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May 31st Deadline - 
ETFO Provincial requires Locals to close their books at the end of June so let us remind you that the TVOT Local cannot accept late requests for our $50 Book Rebate program. This is an opportunity to purchase material to assist you in your professional development or in meeting your teaching needs.
Don't miss your chance - Forms are available in the Member Services section of www.etfotvot.com
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