Work to Rule – Sports, Clubs and Kids – IT SAYS HERE NO WAY, NO HOW!


WARNING: THIS IS A NEWLY POSTED BLOG (Dec.12th, 2012): If you were directed to, or were looking for , “GRUMPY’S PISSED AND HERE’S WHY” (The Blog on Bill 115) please click that title on the sidebar, scroll to it below or click the following link.

Thank you for dropping in for a read. I really appreciate those of you have shared these ideas with others.

Also, to find more detailed thoughts regarding Federation strategy in this conflict please click this link.

Stay strong,


Work to Rule – Sports, Clubs and Kids – IT SAYS HERE NO WAY, NO HOW!

What’s the difference between a teachers’ Union and a Teacher?

One sees the glass half full, while the other sees the glass half empty.

Here’s one area where Grumpy differs from the Union line and feels angry about the effects of the action taken.

Work to Rule is supposed to put pressure on the employer, make administration difficult and pose problems for those running the system – i.e. the government.

In my view, any and all of these actions SHOULD NOT affect students directly. An action such as the suspension of extracurricular activities  shouldn’t be used to create a hornet’s nest of public outrage just to turn up the political pressure. This is putting students in the middle of the fight and it is detrimental to student success and their overall wellbeing.

Cutting sports, clubs and volunteer activity by teachers should never be part of political and/or strike action.

No way, no how!

The High School teachers radio message I heard said,”If you want extra-curriculars to return get rid of Bill 115″. This is particularly offensive given that extra-curricular supervision is purely a voluntary act.

Here’s why I believe this.

Coaching a team, for example, is purely voluntary. Teachers take their own time to participate and guide students, doing something they love to do. No one has prescribed this activity, it is not a defined duty, and teachers do it for the love of the game/activity and do it for the direct benefit of their students.SCHOOL

If something is voluntary it is simply that and should not be viewed as a function and/or a mandated part of a job. Teachers unions can’t espouse out of one side of their mouth that coaching is voluntary ( non-paid/ non- prescribed) and then on the other side of their mouth say, you can’t do this, Mister or Miss Teacher, because we are in a work to rule strike situation. And, by the way, if you continue to volunteer  you will be ostracized and/or punished, my friend. Take heed!

Work to rule is working on only that which is included as the defined areas of a job.It is an action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of their contract. As far as I know there is no prescribed volunteer clause in any teacher contract in Ontario.

Philanthropic involements by teachers are by choice and are neither assigned nor prescribed. Therfore these activities should not fall within work to rule!

Coaching a team and/or running an after school activity has nothing to do with this conflict because VOLUNTEERING for an activity out of school regular hours is on the teacher’s time clock –otherwise known as personal time. Neither is it on the board’s clock nor is it within the realm of a prescribed duty.


No one from the Ministry of Education, or the Board of Education, or the school’s administration has said, “THOU SHALT DO THIS!”

I don’t think auto workers give up their volunteer time when they are on strike, laid off or out of a job. And, I don’t think their union tells them to do so, either.

Imagine your child’s volunteer hockey coach coming to you and saying, “I’m mad at my boss so I’m giving up coaching. See ya later!”

Doctors don’t use their patients as pawns in their negotiations with the government, heaven forbid. They have something called the Hippocratic oath.

Just because a volunteer act is provided within a school setting, by a school board employee doesn’t mean that it is under the realm of school board or union scrutiny or control.

Using VOLUNTEER acts in a work to rule is ludicrous!

Volunteers volunteer out of the goodness of their heart, to help groups in their community and to SERVE! It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that this is why teachers volunteer. Nobody ever said to me, “By the way, Grumpy, your coaching soccer this year!”

When I taught I coached because I liked it and I wanted to do it for the children! PERIOD!

As the dictionary so bluntly states, a volunteer is someone who has freely offered to serve, is not legally bound to participate and does not expect to be paid, and who does so by choice.

Extracurricular activity is just that – out of and apart from curriculum studies which are the prescribed duties of a teacher and not part of the normal duties of a job or profession.

EXTRACURRICULAR: Such activities are generally voluntary as opposed to mandatory, non-paying, social, and philanthropic as opposed to scholastic.

Are these not strong words that suggest that volunteering is a fundamental right under our constitution? Does it not say that volunteering is a personal choice that is made freely and unobstructed? Where does it say here that someone can tell you to not to volunteer?

How can union leaders say “Bill 115” is a charter issue when they are in effect protesting that Bill using the same tactics? Telling your teachers they cannot volunteer is taking away Coackkidsone of their fundamental rights as well as their freedom of choice. Unions are telling teachers that it’s not “your time” it’s “our time” and, in fact, we are dictating your choice and prescribing your withdrawal from these activities.

I remember not long ago one of Ontario governments threatened to make coaching/administering extracurricular activities mandatory duties. Didn’t our union leaders fight that tooth and nail arguing; just as I have, that volunteering is a choice and done on the teachers own time and is not a part of the contracted obligations?

So, do you really think teachers are going around saying, “Yeah, I don’t HAVE to spend all those extra hours with kids? Yippee, I love work to rule! Give me more!”

Of course not, because every single teacher I know is hurt and disappointed that they are REQUIRED to do this. Many of them have volunteered countless hours over their long careers and ENJOYED EVERY MINUTE OF IT WITH NO REGRETS!

The public needs to know that these teachers ARE NOT happy with this tactic in any way, shape or form! The public needs to know that teachers participate in these activities ON THEIR OWN TIME AT NO CHARGE TO THE SYSTEM.

Did you know that ETFO surveyed their members and found this. Elementary teachers, in the collective, are volunteering 135,000 hours per week on top of their teaching responsibilities, or 19,000 additional working days per week. This unpaid work greatly extends the regular work day and work week. But, they do it just the same and with no complaints!

Teachers love the kids they coach/mentor, know that the activity is part of developing the whole child and have absolutely no regrets about giving of their time. They also know that there are so many benefits that spin off from these involvements for kids just as there are big bonuses for teacher and the school community.

Telling teacher volunteers to stop coaching has a huge effect on student athletes, enrichment programs, and the arts. These students are being hurt directly by making academics the prime focus of education; this in a time of rampant obesity and nutrition issues.

No one is going to lose a study course in work to rule but many are going to lose a season, a play, an out-of-school academic competition and most importantly, the opportunity to be well-rounded as a person. A great many are hoping to takes these non-academic skills to the next level, whether it be at college or university.

Denying extracurricular activity targets a particular group of students; those that balance academics with hours of additional activity and do well at both. It also crushes those students that use extracurricular activity to keep them in school, interested and engaged.

The sad thing is that denying students these opportunities has nothing at all to do with contracts, contract negotiations or anythingat all to do with this particular dispute.

I think teacher coaches/volunteers need to stand up in force and, “JUST SAY NO” to this part of work to rule saying, ”This is my time, and my choice so let me be.”

I’ve said all along that this is a dispute between adults so leave the kids out of it! It appears as if this is NOT the case here in Ontario. Hurting children should never be part of a teacher contract negotiation strategy.


I don’t see how union leaders can think that making parents and kids suffer and ultimately making them angry (creating more teacher bashing) is productive. Does this not create the crisis in education and feed into that which the government professed? This is somewhat self-fullfilling, don’t you think?

Wouldn’t it be better to get students, parents and the community on your side? Wouldn’t a groundswell of public support get this issue resolved in a nanosecond?

Why would the government blink when this extracurricular strategy just feeds into the teacher bashing frenzy they started and when, all the while,  McGuinty and Miss Saurbroten continues to plead, “Yes folks, it’s all about the money!”

Yes, Grumpy is pissed again. And, if you ask him if the glass is half full or half empty he’ll say, “Ladies and gentleman, it says here that the freaking glass is soon to be shattered
into a million pieces!”

Isn’t it time “to put on our thinking caps?”

Ironically, I thought that was pretty funny when I heard this while practice teaching in a Grade One class back in 1976.

When it comes to this current conflict in education, I don’t find it funny anymore. In this dispute,thinking caps got lost somewhere along the road to logic and reason, don’t you think.


You might want to read Grumpy’s essay: “DON’T PAUSE, WHY NOT REWIND AND GO FASTFORWARD” at for a more detailed view on how this political action might have been handled more effectively:


Consider these BLOGS as episodes on the “The Food For Thought Channel”. Agree or disagree but do take the time to reflect upon what might be the outcome of each of these work-to-rule  strategies.


5 thoughts on “Work to Rule – Sports, Clubs and Kids – IT SAYS HERE NO WAY, NO HOW!

  1. Yes, I can see how this can be viewed as paid time in the situations you describe. Where I worked many tournaments are held during the school day, 9 to 5, as it were. But, over the years I taught I never ffelt comfortable with “Work to Rules” that included actions directly affecting kids.It felt to me as if being an educator meant more than that and that the standards as they relate to kids should be higher.

    I also understand that this government has left little wiggle room when it comes to active protest. It is, however, the negative blowback and the teacher bashing that is fed from these ations that could do more harm than good. I stil believe that winning the battle of public support is the only way you can hamstrung a government and hve them support teachers without malice.

    When all is said and done teacher Unions need to get after a public reltions campaign that celebrates teachers and teaching,. instead of putting all those $$$ into supporting particular political parties/leaders.

    Strong public support is the shield that will prevent all of this from happenig again.

    Nevertheless, it seems that the teacher unions (I was once a VP of a Local) keep shooting themselves in the foot.

    See my essay on education within the education link on this blogsite)

  2. I totally agree that the government has taken a manipulative approach, realizing that by not taking part in extracurriculats teachers would create a hornets nest of retribution from the public at large.

    In my view, government is letting the unions/ teachers blow off steam, allowig public outrage to fester and just waiting to let their hammer fall on January 1st. Laurel Broten said as much last night. ie Once contracts are imposed it will be business as usual – all will return to normal -extracurriculars will return.Why? Because all teachers will be under a new contract even though it is imposed.

    I’m wondering what union strategy will be at that point – risking fines and jail terms???.Wildcats?

    Could be a very interesting January.

    Thanks for your insight. I think all teachers need a place to express their personal views. I remember how all of this felt to me back in 1997 (Harris Years)

  3. Pingback: Grumpy Wants to Walk in the Shoes of ETFO’s Sam Hammond for just One Day | GRUMPY'S WORLD : Life as viewed through smudged and grimy bifocals.

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