Mar 27, 2013

By Jane Brown

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Ontario’s public elementary teachers are being advised to restore extracurricular activities in time for the spring sports season, Grade 8 graduations and end of year field trips.  A statement has been released by Elementary Teachers Federation President Sam Hammond saying he’s lifting the ban on after school activities in light of progress made in ongoing talks with the province’s Liberal government.  Premier Kathleen Wynne is thrilled.  She tweeted late last night, she “hopes that elementary school students, teachers and support staff will once again enjoy the extracurriculars that mean so much to them.”

The news does not mean extracurriculars will automatically return, but it gives teachers who want to resume them the go-ahead.  Moments after this latest development went public, teachers went on Twitter and facebook, with some saying they were “shocked” and “confused” about ETFO’s change of position.  On facebook, one teacher posted: “I actually am so dang happy to get back to business as usual.  I miss my kids,  my choir, my music, my reason for teaching!”  Another posted “we lost.  Our fight was for nothing.”  Another said he felt it was too late in the year to start up extracurricular activities.  ” I think members are owed a big explanation of what has happened.”

Public school teachers withdrew from extracurriculars last fall to protest legislation that was used to force a contract on them in January.   High School teachers were advised by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation to resume extracurriculars last month.

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