Zumba, sushi classes and line dancing: very fun activities organized for teachers at a school service center in Saguenay

Sushi classes, bowling, Zumba and board games: While teachers are overwhelmed, a school service center in Saguenay wanted to force “feel-good activities” on them during an educational day, a decision that was challenged by the teachers' union and in which the court ruled in favor.

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“At first we couldn’t believe it was serious,” says Nicole Émond, president of the Jonquière Education Union.

“We knew how much the teachers needed to plan and advise that day, we are about to receive a report card (…). It was unacceptable for us to impose activities that were outside of our role,” she adds.

On Education Day on October 20, teachers from the De La Jonquière School Service Center were invited to a day of compulsory activities.

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Following the presentation of the Success Commitment Plan in the morning, wellbeing activities were planned in the afternoon under the theme of 'Learn, Have Fun, Strengthen Bonds'.

The list of activities to choose from was long: cooking classes, card games and puzzles, home plumbing classes, hiking, bowling, line dancing and hockey, among others (see the full list below).

This half-day was organized following a survey in which the majority of employees said they wanted to participate in activities to improve their sense of belonging, according to management.

“We believe that our teams’ sense of belonging has a direct and positive impact on the educational success of our students,” said Director General Sébastien Malenfant in a written response.

From mandatory to optional

However, the teachers' union, which had not been consulted on the issue, disputed the obligation to participate in these activities and requested a protective order.

An arbitration court judge ruled in his favor and ordered the service center to make participation voluntary.

“We received (this verdict) with great satisfaction,” says MMe Emond.

While the intention of the service center was laudable, the means used were not the right ones, the union said. “We can’t just accept everything,” says its president.

The school service center says that this half day went well. “Participation in the activities was very good across all professional categories,” says Mr. Malenfant.

“Well-being” activities imposed on teachers: the complete list

  • Cooking courses – sushi
  • Pastry courses – desserts
  • Sausage course – sausages
  • Running course with Jakours
  • Conference by Josée Boudreault
  • Exhibition visit
  • Plumbing Course – Residential Pipe Maintenance
  • Zumba
  • Hike
  • Board game/puzzle/card team
  • ice Hockey
  • bowling
  • Volleyball tournament
  • Line dancing
  • Training

Source: De La Jonquière School Service Center document sent to teachers

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