McRae was a teacher at Georges P. Vanier secondary school in Courtenay on Vancouver Island in September 2008 when he wrote the letter, which has since been used as the basis for a YouTube video produced by the B.C. Teachers Federation. In the video, featuring an actor and voiced over by a B.C. drama teacher, the letter writer - McRae - explains to Bond the difficulties of teaching four social studies classes in one semester with 128 students, 18 of whom have learning difficulties that require individualized education plans.Once a concerned teacher facing the same struggles teachers across the province face, he is now in a position to make change and advocate for students with first hand experience of what the learning conditions are.... but... doesn't.
"This is a veteran educator, not somebody new who doesn't know how to manage a classroom. This teacher has so many hair-trigger kids who come into the classroom with needs that are not being met and are expressed through behaviour," said Pearce. "The teachers have done everything they can at the school level to get them addressed and they haven't changed, so that's why we brought it here to the board level."
The BCTF is taking the government to B.C. Supreme Court in September to grieve the government's actions in stripping the teachers 2002 collective agreement of language that protected the ability of teachers to bargain on class size and class composition. Pearce said because the court already ruled in 2011 the government action was unconstitutional, this time the BCTF will be seeking damages.
"We gave up salary to get those clauses into our collective agreement because teachers felt strongly about protecting our learning environment," said Pearce. "If you take those away, and do it illegally without compensation, then the argument becomes, 'what was the loss created by your actions.' That loss could certainly be in the hundreds of millions."
Here is the youtube video: