Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Welcoming & Supporting Classrooms

Building Communication and Trust
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,  and Transgender Families (LGBT) families are the fastest growing type of family structure in Canada.  Research states students perform better academically and socially when they see themselves reflected in the school environment and curriculum.  As educators we have the responsibility to build effective communication and trust with all of our students and their parents.

Environment : It is important for students to see themselves reflected in their school environment. 
1. Display positive space posters that indicate a respectful and harassment free school.
2. Display posters or art work that reflect all types of families.

Communication: Foster positive communication and trust with LGBT families.
1. Ask open ended questions to find out about families.
2. Encourage families to be a part of school councils and school activities.

Language: With all verbal and written forms of communication use inclusive language to not assume that students have heterosexual families.
1.  Use the terms partner, families, or guardians to include LGBT families and sentences such as:
"Tell me about your family."
"What are the names your child uses to refer to family members?"
"Do you have any resources and materials you are willing to share?"
"Thank you for dropping by, I enjoyed meeting your mom and her partner."
"I look forward to meeting with you and your family tomorrow."
"Don't forget to get your guardian to sign the trip form."

Curriculum Links: Make connections to the curriculum so all students feel validated and engaged.
1. Use LGBT books, media, pictures as part of your everyday curriculum.
2. Include the terms gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender when describing various families.
3. Use teachable  moments to address homophobia or transphobia.

ETFO - LGBT Resources
  • Take Action Kit
  • Positive Space brochure
  • Imagine a world that is Free from Fear
  • Social Justice Begins with Me
Celebrations & Traditions
All families should be honoured and recognized in our classroom.

Family Day (February)
1.  Celebrate all types of families.
2.  Give students an opportunity to talk about their families.
3.  Invite LGBT families to share their traditions.

Mothers' and Fathers' Day
1. Have a class discussion about important women/men who care for you.
2. Alternative names could include 'Love Day' or "GAMES Day' (Grandmothers, aunts, moms, even sisters).
3. If there are two moms or two dads, let the student make the choice of making one or two cards.

Reprinted from ETFO pamphlet: Welcoming and Supporting LGBT Families

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fall General Meeting and Mortgage Shredding Celebration- Proud Moment for ETFO - Thames Valley Occasional Teachers' Local

Over 125 attendees were present at the 2013 Fall General Meeting and Mortgage Shredding event held at the BestWestern Lamplighter Inn last Wednesday evening.  We were very pleased to host so many of our members that evening.  The ballroom was decorated particularly festive with the onset of the Holiday Season.  Guests arrived to the upbeat music provided by the band: "Tribute".
As usual, the dinner was delicious and guests and members alike enjoyed the warm and celebratory setting to meet and talk with their peers and Local Executive.  A highlight of the evening was the actual shredding of the mortgage.  Our President Terry Card ran the mortgage document through a shredder in front of all those in attendance.  We should all be very proud of this accomplishment, not many Locals can say they own the building they work out of.  Congratulations to each and everyone of us!

Thank you to everyone who brought along clothes and toys for donation to Merrymount Children's Centre. Sue Barnes; Program Manager at Merrymount was clearly very grateful on behalf of the children who were going to benefit from these gifts.

We have a Vacancy on the Executive for the position of Executive at Large.  This is a wonderful opportunity for interested members to be a part of the decision making and experience first hand, the "ins and outs" of this very professional group.  If you or anyone you know is interested in joining the Executive, a Nomination Form can be found and downloaded on our website for submission by December 1st, 2013 at 4:00 PM. Alternatively, forms are available at the office at 521 Nottinghill Road, Suite 8, in London, N6K 4L4.
Please call before stopping by to ensure someone is in the office.

Update on Local's LTO Group Interview Grievance

The Arbitrator had set aside October 11 and November 1 for our case but to get any further dates would take us well into 2014.  After spending the better part of both days arguing the case, we needed to come to a resolution so that members could finally get access to posted long-term assignments.

In the end the Board agreed that:

All of the unsuccessful candidates in the top 500 on the seniority list but no more than 80 people shall be individually interviewed by a panel of Principals before December 16th.  None of the information from the group interviews will be considered in this process and the Board will act in good faith. Candidates who are successful in this individual interview will be placed on the LTO List according to their seniority.

The Board and the Union haggled about the number but given that: i) there are still a few hundred people on the LTO List, ii) on average only 50 LTOs are posted between January and the end of the school year and iii) the large part seniority plays in hiring LTOs under Regulation 274, the lawyers and the Union felt this was the best resolution we could achieve within the time constraint.

Be assured that the Union will do all it can to ensure a more equitable process for the next round of LTO List interviews in the Spring.

ETFO Awards and Scholarships

The ETFO awards program recognizes distinguished academic achievements, and outstanding contributions to education and the federation by its members and others.  Over one hundred thousand dollars is distributed annually to member and community groups through the Awards Program.  Occasional Teachers are eligible.

February 1 is the deadline to apply for the following:

Anti-Bias Award;  Arts and Culture Award: Children's Literature Award; Curriculum Development Award; Health and Safety Activist Award; Honorary Life Membership; Humanitarian Award for an ETFO Member and for a non-ETFO Member; Member Service and Engagement Award; New Member Award; Outstanding Role Model for Women Award; Rainbow Visions Award; Women Acting in Social Activism on behalf of Women and Children Award; Women who develop Special Projects in Science and Technology Award; Writer's Awards.

For Further information and application forms: visit the ETFO website:> About ETFO>Awardsand Scholarships


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's Time to Celebrate our Accomplishments

The day of our Fall General Meeting has arrived and the weather seems to be cooperating - so far - to allow for safe travel!

We are very excited to welcome over 130 guests later this afternoon at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn and enjoy some socializing, delicious food and celebrate our Mortgage Shredding!  It is quite the accomplishment, one that we should all be very proud to have achieved.

Members who have never been to one of our meetings have asked what to expect and what to wear.  Our response has always been; this is a professional meeting and although we are celebrating a unified accomplishment, dress should be business casual.  Sweat pants, yoga pants are not appropriate attire for such meetings.  "Dress for the job you want!"

Others have asked about the articles of clothing or toys to bring for Merrymount Children's Centre. New items are preferred as these will be given to vulnerable children in crisis.  Worn clothing and toys that are no longer in use at our homes are not to be donated for this purpose.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Bill 122, the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2013

 On October 22, the Minister of Education introduced provincial bargaining legislation in the Ontario Legislature.  The legislation, called the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2013, is also referred to as Bill 122 and we encourage members to check under "Member Services" and "Notices" for more information on how this may affect future rounds of collective bargaining.

LTO's: CARE DAYS (Article 9.04) and ACT OF NATURE DAYS (Article 9.05)
Long-term Occasional Teachers who are absent from work in order to provide health- related care to a family member or because of inclement weather, will no longer have those absences deducted from their sick bank.  LTOs who use a Care Day or Act of Nature Day as outlined in the collective or employee agreement will be paid as if they are at work to a combined maximum of five days.
The Board is very emphatic that Care Days (Article 9.04) can be used only for the health-related care of a child, parent or spouse.  Care Days cannot be used to look after a child who is not ill or attending a health-related appointment.
Acts of Nature Days (Article 9.05) are provided to assist those who are unable to report to work as a result of existing poor weather or road conditions.  LTOs are expected to attempt to get to work if weather or road conditions allow for safe travel.  N.B. weather conditions at the time of your departure for work should be the determining factor - not conditions that may occur later in the day.

Lastly, don't forget time is running out to register for our Fall General  Meeting and Mortgage Shredding Party!  All members are invited to attend this celebratory event which is taking place at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn in London, on November 13, 2013, from 4:30 - 7:30 PM.  Donations of toys or clothing for Merrymount Children's Centre would be gratefully accepted.
Further details and registration at