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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

STRIKE?

I have been a teacher since 1981.
More than 35 years.
I've been a classroom teacher in everything from kindergarten to sixth grade.
I've taught reading intervention.
I've been a literacy coach and an assistant principal.
I've worked in curriculum development at the central offices.

In all of those years, and in all of those jobs,
there is one thing I have never done.

I have never once gone on strike.

I've always said that I was there for my kids,
and that even if other teachers went out,
I wouldn't.
I would stay and teach
because that's what I do.

It seems like that's about to change.

The teachers in Denver have been negotiating with the district for over a year.
And they don't seem to be able to come to any kind of agreement.
The district says there is no more money.
And yet we have more supervisors and bosses and "partners"
 than any other district in the state.

In the meantime, the younger teachers in my building
can't make a living wage.
Can't afford apartments anywhere in the city, let alone mortgages.
Can't pay their bills or pay back their student loans.
Work a ten hour school day, then wait tables at night.
Talk regularly about how much they could make in a different profession.
And how much easier it would be.

And I'm worried.
I am worried for my school.
I'm worried for my district.
I'm worried for my profession.

and so, for the first time in my career,
I may be going out on strike.


6 comments:

writekimwrite said...

I am so sorry this is such a hard situation to be in. Arizona teachers had to take a stand last year to make things change. Los Angeles teachers went on strike Monday. I am retired now but had to reconcile going on strike during my career, though a last minute settlement made it so I didn't have to. It is so heart breaking to be forced into that position. Sometimes, though it is necessary and standing up for what is right and that provides a powerful life lesson for our students. Praying that you will have wisdom and peace.


Jean said...

The focus in education should be on children and the teachers who work with them. Somehow, education and funding is more focused on the people who sit in offices and drink coffee and the companies who create tests and materials to teach to tests. This is not good for children or for our future.
I'm with you!

Lisa Keeler said...

This is hard to read. I am so sorry for all that you and your coworkers are going through. Thank goodness the younger teachers have a wise veteran in you.

Ms. Terje said...

Hearing about the strikes hurts a heart. Taking care of the children means taking care of the future leaders. It is so important. Teacher's jobs and children's opportunities for the best education should be valued in the highest level. I hope that the strike will bring a positive change.

Jone MacCulloch said...

I know that this is such a hard place to be. I've been there. We have to have wages that will sustain good teachers in the classroom.
I feel for you. I see you. Are you wearing red for ed?

Mary Lee said...

My heart goes out to every teacher in a large urban district (or the small rural ones like Burlington's). I have had a sheltered and blessed career making a difference in the low-income corner of a wealthy suburban school district. I have survivor's guilt.