Work-to-rule raises communication questions for N.S. parents and students
Nova Scotia teachers have completed their second day of work-to-rule, with no end in sight for the job action. For many parents and students, work-to-rule means the loss of key methods of communication between teachers and students.
“We have a program that the teachers have been using - ClassDojo. It was a daily thing and it let me kind of keep in touch with the teacher and what was going in the classroom,” says parent Leah Little.
During the job action, teachers are not communicating with students or parents outside school hours unless there is a safety concern. That means they will no longer be using programs like ClassDojo, Powerschool and Tienet.
Little says she is worried about ensuring her young children are keeping up with homework and lessons.
Throughout the labour dispute, teachers have raised concerns about the amount of time they spend inputting data into those programs.
In the last round of negotiations, the union proposed making that data entry the responsibility of non-teaching staff. Government pegged the cost at $13 million a year.
“Parents use Powerschool to check attendance, check assignments and check marks, the same as students do,” says Grade 12 student Kaylee Boone.
Students say Powerschool is a key link to the classroom.
“My marks have been going down because I’ve been passing assignments in and they haven’t been putting them in Powerschool,” says Grade 11 student Dylan McNamara.
“It definitely has an impact on organization. It makes it a lot easier to keep up with school work and make sure I haven’t missed anything,” adds Boone.
With teachers working only during school hours, some students worry grading will fall behind as the work-to-rule drags on.
“They’re teaching their classes so they don’t have time to grade our work and so we’re getting grades back really late,” says Grade 11 student MacKenzie Clarke.
Teachers will be keeping attendance manually throughout the job action, and school boards say they’re working with individual schools to decide how to manage that information.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Sarah Ritchie