President’s Message


As we re-launch out website, you will hopefully find some very helpful improvements. Hopefully, you will be better able to find what you are looking for even more quickly than before. We’ve also linked the personal email addresses that you’ve provided for MailChimp with the website to make our communications, and your ability to access information more seamless.

We appreciate that the site might not be perfect yet, but one of the biggest positives, is that we can now make changes almost immediately when we are apprised of an issue. So, let us know if something is wrong or out of date. Everything that was on the website previously has been archived, so none of our history has been lost or compromised.

You know, the education world is very different than it was, even a few years ago. The pace is incredibly challenging. The demands are insane. I really don’t know how many of you are actually keeping it together. The last bit of Christmas vacation was tough, but unfortunately, I don’t think anybody expected something wonderful to happen, even I was surprised by the complete about face with respect to COVID testing and reporting.

We continue to do our best to communicate with you about everything that is going on. Information overload is real, and I said above, the pace of change is impossible to keep up with. As always, we are doing everything we can to intervene on your behalf, or at least make sense of what is being thrown at you.

I’ve said it so many times and to so many people, that even I’m sick of hearing it. We ARE glad to have the kids back in the buildings. It IS where they need to be and in-person learning is by far the best learning model.

The return to in-person however has been yet another example of a scramble to come up with a plan that is at best insufficient. I don’t think anyone who works in education believes that anything is better, or safer than it was in December or at any time during the pandemic. I also don’t think that anyone in education believes that this thing is OVER. The number of stories I’m hearing about teachers being told about COVID cases in the families of the students they teach. And yet, it seems like those in power want to sweep it all under the carpet and pretend like its over, or very close to being over. We are all so tired and sick of this…..

The VPs have been doing a great job of trying to understand and clarify the messaging coming from the board and “boiling it down” so that they can communicate specific information for you. We’ve been continuously advocating for fairness and compassion. For example, we asked for an extension to the due dates for report cards. The answer was no. The struggle continues!

So, as we move into February, the coldest month of the year, let’s hope that things actually do get better. Secondary teachers will be saying goodbye to the second quadmester, and hopefully a final goodbye to the words quad and quadmester. Elementary teachers will be finished reports and IEPs and can begin to turn their minds toward what needs to happen between now and June. Occasional teachers will hopefully return to a more normal routine as we get back into the swing of in-person learning.

Maybe COVID will become a less important focus and we can get back to doing what we love doing. Here’s hoping we see and end to masking and physical distancing soon. Let’s keep up the handwashing though!! And, let’s hope that we’ve learned a thing or two over the last few years. My wish for 2022 is that the love for teaching returns to those who have struggled through this. As we work our way out of the darkness this spring, and I AM going to be optimistic here, things will get better!

…….and then we will start bargaining and turfing Uncle Doug!!!

We have begun to turn our minds to the June 2 election. You will see a countdown here on the site and on emails from us. It’s important that educators begin to prepare for what is ahead. We will keep you in the loop… always!!


Patrick Etmanski

President, OECTA Waterloo