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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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

LTO Benefits questions related to Covid-19; Paid PD & Mandatory training online;Ontario's new VRP;


LTO Benefits during Covid-19
If you have been in a LTO and have questions because of services that were cancelled due to Covid-19, we recommend you check out the link below where you can find Provincial ETFO's ELHT Coronvirus Updates and answers to:

- My medical/dental appointments were cancelled. Now that my assignment is ended, will the plan cover my appointment?
- What happens if pharmacy would only dispense 30 days of my medication so that I exceed the limits?

FAQ re Covid-19
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Paid PD Opportunities
Though the elementary paid PD options that are listed in the TVDSB Employee Portal have June 26th listed as the date, please know that these can be done anytime before then (including weekends and evenings). There are lots of interesting options for daily OTs or LTOs in assignments of .5 or less so don't miss out on "earning while you learn". Check them out now - the list may be amended as additoinal sessions come online. 
Mandatory Training
All Occasional Teachers, whether you are daily or in a long-term assignment, have until June 26th to complete the list of modules listed in the Employee Portal under "Employee Training". Please make sure to hit submit after each module. When you log back in to this section of the Portal, if the check mark is still there, then it has been entered. 
The Modules are in one section and include:
  • IPOC Roles and Responsibilities Updated Video
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Epilepsy
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Concussion Training Module
  • September - Emergency Code and Asbestos Awareness
  • October - Fire Code Training
  • December - Slips, Trips and Falls
  • Video 1 - Violence Awareness and Handling Violent Situations
  • Violence Awareness Module 4 - Safe Schools and Employee Roles
  • Violence Awareness Module 5 - Harassment
  • Violence Awareness Module 7 - Management of Agressive Behaviour
  • Violence Awareness Module 8 - Domestic Violence in the Workplace
  • Violence Awareness Modules 13 - Recognizing and Coping with Aggressive Behaviour
  • Mental Health Awareness
  • Attending Alternate TVDSB Site Safety Spotlight
  • Driving in Inclement Weather Safety Spotlight
  • Employee Accident Incident Reporting Safety Spotlight
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Heard about Ontario's Voluntary Redeployment Program/VRP?

Some of you have heard that Ontario will soon set up a portal to enable eligible staff in the education sector to volunteer for temporary redeployment in the community.  Occasional Teachers who are not teaching may apply to volunteer in the program and, if selected, will be paid in accordance with their collective agreement.

ETFO has also worked to ensure that members who opt to voluntarily participate and are matched to a community facility will receive the necessary training, orientation, safety and personal protective equipment before they begin their first shifts and will be paid while doing so. This VRP will continue until there is no longer an active emergency declaration under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. 

Members who are selected will be required to sign a template agreement and will continue to receive all compensation entitlements under the ETFO Collective Agreement including salary, benefits and pension contributions, where applicable. Members will also be entitled to receive the emergency pandemic premium, if applicable, and access the childcare benefit available to those working during the pandemic. The program may extend into the summer months if pandemic-related issues continue at their current rate. Members will be covered by the policies and procedures at the redeployment work site including the provisions relating to shift assignments, hours of work, breaks etc. They will not be covered by any collective agreement at that site but will have access to the local union representative, if any, should a question or issue arise.

Potential community placements for education staff include: residential childcare facilities and residential homes for youth; residential group homes for those with developmental disabilities, Violence Against Women (VAW) and anti-human trafficking residential sites; youth justice residential facilities; and emergency homeless shelters.  

It is important to emphasize that members who volunteer can opt out at any time without reprisal or consequence including
(a) when they receive notification of the redeployment workplace, (b) before or after their safety training and orientation, and
(c) any time after they commence working at the redeployment workplace.

It is expected, however, that they will give as much notice as possible prior to terminating their assignment. Similarly, their assignment can be terminated by the redeployment employer without any consequence to their employment with their school board.

Stay tuned for further details as they become available.

    Thursday, May 7, 2020

    LTOs still being posted; Mental Health Week (sorry forgot to publish this on Wednesday)

    Teaching continues...
    You may not be aware that the Board is still posting long-term assignments so we urge members to continue to apply for positions for which they are qualified. 
    Familiarity with online tools will be an asset in these times of distance learning so take time to familiarize yourself with the Board approved platforms. You can find training for much of what you need in the TVDSB Employee Portal > Conference Sessions and if you have not used all of your paid PD opportunities, completion of these sessions count for all purposes as time worked.
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    This Mental Health Week
    Each one of us has been affected by the strains caused by this pandemic, and though it is sometime difficult to ask for help, there is no shame in accepting assistance.

    Occasional Teachers now have access to the Board's Employee Assistance supports. Check your Outlook email for more information about .

    As well, there are community supports such as "Stronger Minds" by Beacon, a free digital program through the Covid crisis available at www.mindbeacon.com

    The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has resources available at https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19

    OTIP has a comprehensive list of services available to even those who are not covered by the Ontario Teachers' Insurance Plan so take time to visit https://www.otip.com/Help-Center/Coronavirus/Mental-Health-COVID to see what might be of assistance to your or someone you know needs support
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    Just a reminder to members to subscribe to the ETFO Provincial newsletters so that  you don't miss any of ETFO's guides on Responding to Covid-19

    Wednesday, April 29, 2020

    The Vote is in; Paid PD; Mandaatory online training; Book Rebates $50 and the PLDF $350

    Have you heard?
    Provincial ETFO has released the results of the all-member vote on the Central Table Collective Agreements and members voted 97% in favour of what was proposed.
    Was it a great agreement? Not really, but there were no strips and frankly, the focus of the province had understandably changed during the course of these negotiations.
    TVOT members need to be aware that their Local bargaining team will continue to bargain on their behalf with TVDSB.
    N.B. under the terms of the Central Agreement, the 1% salary increase for this school year cannot be paid to members until 30 days after a Local settlement is reached - stay tuned...
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    Paid PD Opportunities to resume online
    Given that there have been changes to the Canada Emergency Response Benefits/CERB plan to allow claimants to earn up to $1000 per month, TVDSB is going to resume hosting online opportunities for daily OT and those LTOs in assignments of less than .5 FTE. These count for all purposes as time worked (seniority credit, Teachers' Pension, EI etc.) and TVOT members will have up to 3 half-days available to them for the 2019 - 2020 school year so please check the Employee Portal for these opportunities which will be posted in the Employee Portal early next week.

    Mandatory online Training Modules
    Please note that all Occasional Teachers, whether in LTO or daily assignments, must complete the mandatory online training modules that will be posted by the Board in the Employee Portal next week.  These modules will remain posted for completion by the end of the school year. Completion counts for all purposes as a half-day of teaching and will be paid as a half-day of work on the last day of school. Do not forget to complete your WHIMIS review and Offcnce Declarations as well.  These are all necessary for members to remain active on the elementary OT Roster - the onus is on you!
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    The $50 Book Rebate and the $350 Professional Learning Development Fund
    Your Local has not discontinued to offer these programs to eligible TVOT members.  All applications for the Book Rebate must be received by May 31st for purchases made within 60 days.
    Applications for the PLDF must be sent to the Local in advance of the course to ensure that there is still money in that budget line.  It will be no surprise that more members than ever have taken advantage of these opportunities this year so please act quickly. The Local is currently accepting applications from members who wish to take AQ courses over the summer months.
    Application Forms are available on our Local Website under Member Services  www.etfotvot.com
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    Schools will remain closed until the end of May 
    Please continue to direct your questions and concerns to your OT Local at etfotvot@gmail.com.
    Take care and stay well!


    Wednesday, April 22, 2020

    Voting opens tomorrow evening; QECO; Your Mental Health


    Vote on the Tentative Central Agreement
    Thursday, April 23rd at 5:30 pm, ETFO Provincial will open the online balloting site for members to vote on the Teacher/Occasional Teacher Central Agreement. Posted there will be full details of the agreement. Please take time to look these over, especially if you missed the telephone Town Hall last week. Members may visit the site as many times as they wish up until you finally cast your vote and you will need your ETFO ID number: 1-888-838-3836.
    Voting closes on Monday, April 27th at 7 pm and we expect the results to be released by ETFO Provincial the following day.
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    QECO/Qualifications Evaluation Council of Ontario

    Wondering why you are still being paid at the same rate as a daily Occasional Teacher when you have taken on a long-term teaching assignment?
    Before the Board can pay you according to your qualifications, you need to apply for a QECO rating where they will assess the courses you completed and the grades you achieved. Once you receive your rating, it is up to you to submit this to the Board - it is not automatically sent to them by QECO. Please be aware that according to our Collective Agreement, you have until the end of July to get this into HR at TVDSB if you want your salary adjusted for any LTOs of that school year. Miss the deadline and you miss out so please do not delay. The Board will accept the card/receipt you receive from QECO that states your application is being processed, however it must show that documents were submitted in a timely manner.
    Don't forget that if you received your teaching certificate and taught previous to coming to Thames Valley, that previous teaching experience may be recognized by the Board and move your along the grid.  Check out your Collective Agreement or contact us at etfotvot@gmail.com for more information.
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    Re: Students -
    This Friday. April 24th at 11 am, School Mental Health Ontario, an organisation that works alongside the Ministry of Education to enhance mental health within our schools, will be offering a live webinar for Teachers offering resources and other supports for educators.
    Space is limited so act quickly. You can find out more about this at https://smho-smso.ca/blog/ontario-educators-invited-to-attend-promoting-student-mental-health-and-wellness-webinar/

    Re: Occasional Teachers -
    Though Occasional Teachers generally have no access to the Board's Employee Assistance Plan/EAP, TVDSB has arranged that during this time of Covid-19, all employees will have access to support provided by Homewood Health. (see email from Jeremy Roy sent March 91th on Outlook.)
    It takes courage to ask for help. Do not hesitate to contact Homewood at 1-800-663-1142 if you feel the need and be assured that services are provided confidentially.
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