Tuesday , January 12 2021

Shall we take a week off?

Today, the existence of spring break – to be or not to be – has been called into question. While the children are back on the school benches, “voices are rising to consider an exceptional cancellation of spring break this year”.

Can we allow our children and school staff to take a “break” this year?

The answer to this question lies with the students and their teachers. I would also be curious to hear the great forgotten people of this pandemic: the educators in daycare.

But the answer surely does not lie with the Minister of Education.


Some are worried about the union response. To be honest, I find the unions very quiet since the start of the school year.

For your information, in the national agreement, our employment contract is 1er September to June 30. We are returning five days earlier with a view to allowing ourselves a “break” in March.

In the current context, it can be interesting to give all the flexibility possible to the teams on the ground in order to make the right choices. In plain language, for the government, this means loosing the purse strings. Period.

If dollars are available to pay for this extra time, if teachers are willing to work well and if the school teams consider it a good idea to teach some students (who want it too!) .. So, yes, we could afford to open classes, as needed, in various settings.

Essential knowledge

Others worry about essential knowledge. Since Minister Roberge’s press conference, I have heard and read several things related to this famous essential knowledge.

Essential knowledge does not designate a particular subject. Each of the subjects on the timetable includes essential knowledge of its own. This work of identifying essential knowledge has already been done – from the start of the school year – by schools and / or the educational services of school service centers.

It now remains for the ministry to do its work for sanctionable matters. In the school environment, this is called the ministry’s jet lag. We often have the impression that the head office is in Sydney. Not in Nova Scotia. In Australia.

The specter of March 2020

I know that many are worried about the possibility of traveling during spring break. For the South, you would have to ask Justin.

I have also heard the favorite comment of those who do too many recreational screens: “There’s nothing to do with sanitation.” I will answer you that in the North, we have all the winter sports, reading, board games, volunteering, etc. (and many teens have part-time jobs).

We are talking about keeping our children healthy for five days. Not to organize a two-month expedition to sub-Saharan Africa. This respite can be beneficial for many individuals. Young or old …

Cut classes?

Finally, some suggest cutting lessons from the students’ subject grid in order to promote basic subjects. A false good idea.

Due to the number of hours of lessons on the schedule, students are already doing a lot of French, English and mathematics. My colleagues from other subjects teach equally important content. All these beautiful people are already concentrating on the essential knowledge of their subject. A “utilitarian” vision given the circumstances.

Looking at what is happening now, here and elsewhere, it goes without saying that the “global” training of an individual is proving, more than ever, essential. Strongly humanist training for a better future.

Good news

All in all, the spring break debate is good news. It reveals our concern towards, among others, pupils in difficulty.

Moreover, it is high time, as a society, to reflect and act for the good of our young people. Not just for this year. For the future.

In the words of Stéphane Allaire, professor at UQAC, what does “being in difficulty” mean? In difficulty compared to who? Compared to what? What timeframe? Considering what resources are at my disposal or not? (I invite you to read his text)

One thing is certain, learning takes time and effort. With the help of his interveners, the young person must take responsibility, motivate himself and commit to his success by doing “his work as a student”.

Learning is a marathon, not a sprint.


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