Sept 4, 2020 Message to Members
And, today is Friday: Friday of the long weekend, no less. Labour Day. Can we talk about that for a minute? It’s another interesting word, labour, with an interesting history. On July 23, 1894, our then Prime Minister John Thompson made Labour Day official, passing it into law. According to one source, the roots of the Labour Day observance in Canada lie in strike action that took place nearly a generation earlier, with workers fighting to work fewer than twelve hours a day, their sights set on a nine-hour workday.
The weeks leading up to Labour Day 2020 have seen BC’s Principals and Vice-Principals clocking some very long days of their own. The groundwork required for schools to meet the guidelines of the BC Restart Plan have drawn our members back from Summer vacation much earlier than is typical. Our members have devoted countless hours of creation and innovation towards building a school-based systemic response to the global pandemic, and many additional hours have been spent manipulating data and reorganizing schedules and divisions. The scope, complexity and impact of these preparations have given rise to significant levels of stress for many of our members.
This is stress compounded by the additional apprehension that our members bear on behalf of their staffs and their communities. In August, the BC Ministry of Education heard the voice of families who are anxious about the return to classes, and the BC Restart Plan introduced a new consideration for school districts to better understand the needs of families seeking wider choices for the return to school. Districts issued surveys, and now ‘transition’ plan options are under construction for many communities. Certainly, our Principals and Vice-Principals will play key roles in the development and implementation of these new alternatives, which overlay the plans so thoughtfully and meticulously crafted in the past months.
There isn’t a year in modern memory in which our school leaders have laboured as hard. The education sector’s response to the global pandemic has relied heavily on the skill, resilience, and heart of our Principals and Vice-Principals. Labour Day traditionally isn’t observed with parades or marches but rather – when celebrated – the focus is on leisure and relaxation. This year, our school leaders deserve this celebration more than ever.
So: how are you set to transition to the long weekend? How are you planning to take the time for yourself and your family, time which is so critically needed? How do you put it all down, turn it off, and silence the devices?
Following this column, you’ll find a few links to recent resources from Rochelle Morandini who works with the BCPVPA in support of Member Health & Wellbeing. I encourage you to explore these resources to find techniques and approaches that could work for you. There are many ways for us to pause, before our restart.
Today, I overheard someone talking about a personal strategy to alleviate stress, to “… put on some music and let your body move.” One of the speaker’s favourite artists for this decompression is Rage Against the Machine. This weekend, I might have to give them a listen.
Wishing you peace and rest for Labour Day and a smooth start next week.
Let’s keep in touch,