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End of the strike: a welcome return to class, but which promises to be difficult | Strikes in the public sector in Quebec

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There will be many challenges for teachers who, after the strike, will have to go into catch-up mode.

Radio-Canada

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With the end of the unlimited general strike of the Autonomous Education Federation (FAE) and the agreements in principle concluded between Quebec and the various teaching unions, the stars are aligned for a return at the beginning of January. A strong moment awaited by teachers and parents of students, which will however be accompanied by numerous challenges.

Even if the agreements in principle must be approved by the members of the trade union organizations, hope is present among those who were affected by the strike on November 23.

We are so, so happy to know that we will be reunited with our students at the start of the school year in January. We missed them, we thought of them every day, we did this for them […] It's a great relief this morning, said Maryse Boisvert, a teacher from Cowansville, in an interview on the show Tout un matin.

Her feeling is shared by Maude Desrochers-Robillard, who teaches in a primary school in Estrie. She thinks a lot about her students, and some more than others.

I have friends who I would like to make sure we don't escape, because it wasn't easy for them, school, she said. There, we haven't done much for a month and families can't cope with five hours of school a day. Parents are doing what they can.

Strikes in the public sector in Quebec

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For many of them, it was a despair to see the children going around in circles at home and not being able to help them, explained Sylvain Martel, spokesperson for the Regroupement des committees de parents nationaux du Québec (RCPAQ ), Thursday, at RDI. Not all parents can help their child with their school career. Not everyone is equipped to do this.

Mr. Martel and the RCPAQ welcome with great relief the return to class at the beginning of January. There is hope that we can minimize, at this stage, the effects of the strike, although these effects will already have left their mark for the remainder of the school year, he said.

For the coming months, we will need the support of teachers to be able to make up for lost time. Everyone will have to put their shoulder to the wheel – parents, teachers, management and service centers – so that we can bring our children to the end of the school year and have this impact. be minimized as much as possible.

A quote from Sylvain Martel, spokesperson for the Regroupement des committees de parents nationaux du Québec

Kathleen Legault, president of the Montreal Association of School Directors, is also delighted with the imminent resumption of school activities. We are very reassured to know that our students will return to class after the holiday break, she reacted Friday, in an interview on the show Tout un matin.

The return should take place on January 8 or 9, depending on the school service centers.

It will be both a happy and difficult return. A month without school and a month outside picketing leaves its mark.

A quote from Kathleen Legault, president of the Montreal Association of School Directors

All network players are now preparing to enter catch-up mode. Ms. Legault, however, assures that the process of returning to class has been in motion for some time.

Even if we were on strike, we started to prepare for this return in schools, service centers, and even at the Ministry of Education, we know that there were discussions underway, she said.

However, several questions remain unanswered and school managements are now awaiting answers from the ministry in anticipation of the return of students and staff.

Will there be more emphasis on essential learning? Will the schedule be changed? When will the resumption of ministerial examinations take place? Will there be more support for students? Will there be greater local leeway to manage budgets? All these questions remain unanswered, indicated Ms. Legault.

But according to her, it is obvious that additional resources will be necessary to catch up and that the needs will not be the same everywhere.

There are school service centers where there have been 22 days of strike and others where there have been 9. Already, that makes a difference. We also know that in neighborhoods where our students are more vulnerable, more disadvantaged or have recently arrived in Quebec, there are additional learning challenges. We expect that there will be a concentration of resources in these environments.

A quote from Kathleen Legault, president of the Montreal Association of School Directors

With the significant challenges ahead, Kathleen Legault knows that the return will be demanding for the teaching staff who have already experienced a lot of stress during these negotiations.

On is happy that this is a negotiated agreement and we hope that the staff will be very satisfied with the result of this agreement, she adds. It’s clear that it will make a difference.

Among the 66,500 members of the FAE, however, some are preparing to be disappointed by what they will discover in the agreement in principle approved by their federative council and are not considering this return to class with much enthusiasm. p>

This is the case of Geneviève Groleau, who managed to obtain details on the government proposal which will be presented to members later in January.

For me, this does not bode well in terms of the major issues for which I had made the sacrifice of the 22-day walkout without pay, that is to say the class portraits, indicated the teacher in an interview. on the show Midi info.

Can I hope for a change, an improvement in the next five years ? The answer is no, said Ms. Groleau, who teaches in a class where 50% of students have special needs.

According to her, the pressure had become too strong on the FAE federative council after the agreement reached between the FSE and the provincial government last week.

The big, big problem is the lifting of the strike before we can consult on the proposal. Even if we ultimately decide to refuse it, who will want to vote for a second strike? We really lost our leverage in my opinion.

A quote from Geneviève Groleau, teacher and member of the FAE

Discouraged by the turn of events , Ms. Groleau made the choice to actively engage in the search for a new job.

We made a big sacrifice which will lead to nothing , she maintains. Do I want to stand here and support a system that constantly harms children? I am no longer capable.

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