#thisismystrikepay – Teachers take to Twitter to show what they are fighting for

One of the letters posted on Twitter.
One of the letters posted on Twitter. Jennifer Smith / Twitter

VANCOUVER – Teachers across B.C. are using social media to tell the public what they are fighting for in the current dispute between the B.C. government and the BC Teacher’s Federation.

Teachers, parents and students have been using social media since the dispute began to share letters and voice their concerns and opinions.

#thisismystrikepay involves teachers and their supporters tweeting photos and statements.

The trend began when  Kate Coglan, the wife of a teacher, posted a photo captioned by her husband, of their daughter on her blog.

Her husband wrote:

This is my pay. Her name is Isla and I want a better education system in place before she starts kindergarten. Teachers: consider sharing this please. Teacher parents: please consider posting a picture of your own child/children with the caption “THIS is my strike pay ” and the date they will start/started/graduate from school. It’s the next side of the “human face” of this movement and no one else is going to get it out there but us.”

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Tobey Steeves, a teacher and union representative in Vancouver, was one of the first people to help share this campaign through his social media followers and appreciated the fact that Coglan was posting on an issue that was sympathetic to the teachers and what they are doing on the picket lines.

“I leveraged the network of educators that I built across B.C.,” he said.

He explained that on the picket lines and on social media teachers are often asked about the issue of strike pay and wages, but that is not what this job action is about.

“If you asked 100 teachers on that line not one would say they were there for their $50 in strike pay,” said Steeves.

“I liked that this [campaign] was reframing the discussion away from this economic interest.”

He said he has been very pleased with the way this hash tag and its meaning has taken shape and provided another look at what teachers are doing. “It shows what they are on strike for and it’s not their strike pay,” he said.

Steeves added that, as teachers, they will do anything to make sure their kids do their best and that is what is really driving this campaign.

We have posted a selection of the tweets below. To follow the movement, use the hash tag #thisismystrikepay

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