Surrey teachers stage ‘mark-in’ at local malls

GUILDFORD – Teachers across Surrey staged a mass ‘mark-in’ at four local malls on Monday in response to being locked out of their respective schools within 45 minutes of beginning and ending the school day.

B.C. Teachers Federation Vice-President Glen Hansman – along with Jennifer Wadge, president of the Surrey Teachers Association – supported teachers as they sat in at Guildford Town Centre’s food court doing their after-school marking. Three other malls – Semiahmoo Shopping Centre, Surrey Central City Shopping Centre and Scottsdale Mall – were also mark-in sites.

Emily Jansen, a teacher at Frank Hurt Secondary, sat in the Guildford food court marking homework at 3:30 p.m. on Monday. Jansen teaches seven classes over the course of a school year – the maximum a teacher is able to take on is eight.

“I’m very grateful to have work,” she said. “I’m at a wonderful school.”

Nonetheless, she said her average work day begins at 7:30 a.m. and doesn’t end until about 6:30 or 7:30 p.m. She allocates her Sundays to marking as well, driving home the idea that it’s just not possible to fit in all she has to do during school hours.

Fraser Heights Secondary school teacher Julia MacRae, sitting amidst a pile of English 10 and 12 essays echoed the sentiment.

“Of course I’m going to mark (the students’ work),” she said incredulously, in light of the lockout which demands that the teachers don’t work outside of school hours. “But that 10 per cent wage cut, I can’t get that back.”

Teachers doing work beyond 45 minutes before, during and after school hours could be risking disciplinary action, even termination.

“This lockout is so disrespectful,” said MacRae.

Hansman said that the dispute between the BCTF and the province has the potential to be resolved before the end of the school year. Each side has accused the other of “using students as leverage.”