How Teachers Taught Me NOT to Brand

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© Clare Bloomfield via

Jessica Slade

Intern @ GoneWithTheWord

As I am about to embark into a post-secondary world, I have been thinking less about the writing program into which I have been accepted and more about what my own personal brand will be within it.

Although brand can have many different definitions, to me it is the means through which I will distinguish myself in a sea of other writers all with similar credentials as me.

I have had a lot of time to think about this because my high school teachers are on strike. This got me to thinking about their brand. What is the brand of teachers? I would think it should be:

  • To like kids and knowledge and imparting logic and reasoning and facts.
  • To focus on the future of our cities and countries and world because these are the future leaders.
  • To manage bad behaviors and teach soft skills like teamwork and respect. 

I have a cousin who is a new hire at the Toronto District School Board. She is one of the lucky teacher grads who got on the elite supply-teaching list. She loves teaching. She wants to help kids reach their full potential despite the politics that runs rampant through the industry.

She averages two teaching days a week right now. Two paid days per week.

Right now, teachers across Ontario are striking. They seem to have chosen this time because it is the most damaging to the future of those students whose grades must be submitted to the colleges and universities in order to secure a spot in academic programs across the country and internationally. Thus, they seem to believe that this gives them the most negotiating power.

But teachers like my cousin who embody the brand of teaching are having their minimal pay levied so that those teachers who are picketing can receive far more than meager strike pay.

If this were the 80s or any other economic time of plenty, sure, ask for more. But it’s not. There are thousands of teachers on the supply list waiting for jobs. And the teachers’ colleges are pumping out more grads each year who cannot even get on the teaching board lists.

In this economy, demanding more from employers when so many people don’t have any employment is the equivalent of a spoiled child throwing a temper tantrum. This image of teachers is quickly becoming their brand: spoiled, entitled children.

One of the proposed solutions is to make teachers work in the summer to make up the time. Yes. Go for it.

But as a student whose future is being risked because of their greed, I want to say: Fire them all and hire the teachers who want to work, who legitimately want to teach. Whose passion and brand are about imparting knowledge and helping today’s children become tomorrow’s leaders

Who are the kids here? The students suffering? Or the ones walking the picket lines, stomping their feet and screaming until they get what they want?

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