Volume 91, Issue 32

Friday, October 24, 1997

cliff hanger


Plenty of activities for students while teachers are away

By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Gazette Staff

With a teachers strike looming overhead, parents will be left scrambling to find full-time babysitting services while students wonder what their future holds.

Those now working within the school systems, such as students from the faculty of education who are completing practicums in order to gain experience for their teaching degrees, have noticed mixed feelings by students.

"Some students are worried over the strike while others would be happy for a vacation," said Western's Faculty of Education Students' Council President James Halliday.

He added the past two weeks of practicum have occurred during the strike and, as such, Halliday said he has seen little change in the attitude of those within the school.

As for the strike interfering with the practicum work experience, Halliday said students of the faculty of education will have completed two weeks of their eight-week requirement by today and as long as they can work another six weeks in the spring, their degrees will not be affected.

Marguerite Fortune, co-president of the London Council of the Home and School Association, said although younger kids will not be affected as much by the strike, those in high school might be worried, depending on how long the strike goes on.

There will be many services available to parents in their time of need including extended hours of operation for arenas and aquatic centres around London, said area manager for the community services department for the City of London Bob Graham.

"Parents have a responsibility to arrange for child care and we are just offering the child somewhere to go and keeping them out of trouble," he said. Many of the services now being offered by the City of London in the schools will also be cancelled because of the strike.

Don Baluk, the interim board director for the Association of Continuing Education Students at Western, said they also plan to offer day care during the strike since most members are parents.

Activities including skating, swimming and video watching will be offered for prices ranging from $75 to $45 per week for non-staff members, depending on the number of children participating. Yet, Baluk said money offered to parents from the Board of Education can help cover some of these costs.

"Although our association does not agree with strikes, we do support the teachers because we know where they are coming from," Fortune said. "We just want the best education for kids and do support the teachers."

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Copyright The Gazette 1997