Voices from the Picket Line

Striking CUPE 3903 Workers, in their own Words

Posts Tagged ‘york university

Hi, my name is Joshua and I’m a PhD student in FES and a TA in Environmental Writing.

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A few unedited and brief thoughts on my/our situation:

This story of striking coincides with so many other stories — stories with themes of dedication, frustration, confusion, hope, joy, fear, and countless other emotions in no particular order.  At this time in my life I am a student (confusion/frustration/joy!), teaching assistant (dedication/confusion/frustration!), educator (hope/confusion/fear!), and barista (none of the above!), writer (joy/fear/dedication/confusion/etc etc etc etc!) — all in a country I was not born in (hope/frustration!) and…  not that you would notice or that you need to know or even that you could possibly care…  but amidst the first long-term relationship of my life (fear/hope/joy/love/bliss/confusion/frustration/mostly joy and love/sorry/no, its my fault/no, I’m sorry/no, you are…  no, YOU are!).

To say there is a lot going on inside of my head is an understatement.

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Written by Gavan Watson

November 28, 2008 at 10:06 am

I’m May and I’m a TA at York as well as a course director elsewhere; I am also a mom.

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I am in Ph.D. 4 in Women’s Studies, I am a writing instructor (which is a TA position) at the Writing Centre and I teach three social work courses at another university.  I also have a very part time additional job (approximately 50 hours per year) and have two children, aged five and two.  I am very lucky to have a partner who is immensely supportive, both emotionally and financially, which is the only reason I can even think of blending grad school with parenthood.  Even under these circumstances, however, I am forced to work far more than is really reasonable.  I do this because my childcare expenses are approximately $1700 a month– more than my paycheque from York; because my children are, thank goodness, thriving and therefore eat their own weight in food every week and outgrew their clothes faster than I can buy them.  I love teaching and can say, without conceit, that I am an excellent teacher– but I would never, given the choice, pick a life that includes the equivalent of two full time jobs (three courses is considered full time, and I am a full time Ph.D. student with a TA).

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Written by Gavan Watson

November 16, 2008 at 9:28 am

Meet Leslie. A course director and PhD graduate.

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Hey, I’m Leslie and I’m a course director at York and University of Guelph. I just finished my PhD in Women’s Studies at York, and throughout those six years I was a TA for seven courses, and in the last year, a course director at York and McMaster and GA at York. Back in 2002, I turned down a spot in the PhD program at a university that I loved because of York’s offer of a teaching assistantship – I accepted not just because I needed the funding, but because I badly wanted to teach. I still do. Now I’m on the picket lines because I am deeply concerned about the university’s attempt to shrink all forms of funding for graduate students and to casualize university teaching – a process that hurts all students.

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Written by Gavan Watson

November 14, 2008 at 11:19 am