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Ross Murray's Border Report
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Ross Murray
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is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at ross_murray@sympatico.ca
Posted 03.17.10
Stanstead, Quebec

ROSS MURRAY

Oh, those teacher PED days

Parents like to gripe about PED days, and in Quebec we have more reasons to gripe than parents anywhere else in Canada. That's because Quebec school boards allot 20 PED days per academic year, the most of any province.

But just what goes on at these PED days? That's always been the mystery. Until now. Below is a transcript of the opening session of a recent PED day at Ecole Donne-Moi-le-Ritalin in Rimouski. The speaker is the school principal, Hugue Messe.

Okay, everyone, settle down. Marie, put out the cigarette. You can't smoke in here. I don't care if the kids are gone. Do like you do when they're here and pretend you don't smoke. So, I know this is our third PED day in a very short while but we still have some things to cover. First, though, let's review our last two sessions.

Thank you, Jonathan, for helping us understand Quebec's latest reform entitled "Cross-Curricular Cross-Stitch: Interweaving Success Strategy Patterns into Classroom Parameters: A Sampler: Part 2: Verse 3." It was very informative. We learned lots of big words. We can't wait to try to explain them to parents when they appear on the next report cards.

Ann-Louise led the younger teachers in a great round-table discussion entitled "What Did You Expect: Dealing with Disillusion." Unfortunately, Ann-Louise is no longer with us, and we wish her all the best in her new career counting lemurs in the Congo.

I think I can speak for everyone when I say we all found something useful in Justin's session, "Putting the 'U' in 'Burnout': Making Stress Leave Work for You."

Excuse me. Sorry. Christine? Would you mind paying attention? No, I'm sorry if there's no other time to catch up on your work. This is a PED day. Let's focus on the PED, okay? You can catch up on your work at home after-hours like the rest of the teachers. Now where were we? Oh yes. We've had some good PED days, and here's what's lined up for today.

Our first break-out session will be to go over the Ministry of Education's latest campaign for academic success. The theme this year goes, "Is Your Child Failing School? It's Your Fault, Not Ours." Very catchy, I think.

In our second session, Jacqueline will present a new formula to help calculate the maximum and minimum amount of homework to give before parents phone to complain about it being either too much or too little.

This afternoon, we'll go over new snack time guidelines implemented by the school board, regulating what kind of containers the children must use, how often they have to be washed, what colour marker the child's name must written with, which brands of healthy snacks the child can eat, and the punitive measures to be imposed. The board has spend whole hours working on these guidelines, which you teachers will now have to enforce for the rest of the school year.

Speaking of the board, there are two newly created positions at the head office. We now have the Assistant to the Administrative Executive Adjunct to the Head of Pedagogical Services and then there's the Director of Justifying School Board Expenditures. I'd give you their names but you're never likely to meet them anyway, so I won't bother.

Finally, you've probably all heard about the teachers in Winnipeg who were suspended after being videotaped on a student's cell phone performing a lewd lap dance at a school prep rally. This is clearly an embarrassment for the teaching profession. The solution to preventing this kind of awkward situation is obvious: starting Monday, video cameras and cell phones will be banned in the classrooms.

Enjoy your PED day, everyone. And remember: even though we could do all this by e-mail, it's so much nicer with PowerPoints and muffins. See you in two weeks!

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