What Its Really About

Disclaimer: I’m not super political. I skip some* of the union meetings. Some of the policy arguments, especially about protecting bad teachers, make me uncomfortable. But I wanted to address this–I’m not taking the time to source everything. I’m probably (totally innocently) going to get some facts wrong. I’m sorry. Go read a reputable news source for the news. I’m just a teacher, and this is what I see.

I teach in the Chicago Public Schools. But not today. Today I marched. And I picketed. And I rallied.

I am on strike.

My feelings about that are complex, but the bottom line is I stand behind the Union. For a lot of reasons, and if this stretches on (please don’t let it) I will share them.

You can read this is for some reason you thought I dabbled in news. Its pretty good.

I got to work before 6 this morning. We rallied in the loop. I am exhausted. My feet hurt and I’m pretty sure I’m losing my voice (or maybe its just time to start sounding like a man?!). But today was good. We turned out. We marched. We had a lot of community support (ahembywhichImeannonstrikingstaffatourschoolhiprincipal). Our kids turned out. They came to the rally downtown, which shut down the streets, and I’m pretty sure I can place a good bit of blame for the situation with my voice personally on student N. Thanks a lot and who on earth thought it was a good idea to give you a bullhorn?!?

We all hope to resolve this soon. I want to go to work. My students want to go to class. Don’t worry too much about us. (Unless you teach AP Stats too, in which case please sympathize because I am FREAKING OUT about missing days with them).

I leave you with this, the world’s longest Facebook status. Share it if you want. You don’t need to attribute it back to me.

Just a friendly reminder that this strike isn’t about you. It’s not about you if you’re my coworker, and it certainly isn’t about you if everything you know about education comes from you having actually personally gotten one yourself. A while ago.

Whether or not I (or the teacher down the street) has “enough” money to live on isn’t the issue. We don’t say its about the kids because it sounds better than to say I’m money-hungry (such an awkward way to put it).

I love teaching. So do many of my colleagues–enough that we’d do it any salary. But creating a system in which teaching is a second class “career” that isn’t sustainable in the long term (unless you marry someone rich)…that IS about the kids. Making teaching a real career, treated with some respect, thats what is at stake here.

And actually, they’re my kids. Unless they’re yours too. But if your exposure to MY kids comes from seeing them wait for the bus or walk to school, please make sure you know what you’re talking about before you decide what’s best for them.My 15 and 16 year olds have taken the time to learn a little about what’s going on. They’re out there chanting for things like “contracts” and “electives” and “over testing”. Don’t let them be better informed than you, especially if you’re taking it upon yourself to determine what’s best for them, and for me.

Wear red tomorrow? Please? Thanks.

*almost all


One response to “What Its Really About

  1. Good luck to all of you! I’m sure it was a tough decision, but I’m proud of all of you for sticking to your guns. I know it’s easy to point to all the students who aren’t in school right now and lay all the blame at your feet, but sometimes it takes a big action for people to realize you’re serious and mean business. Again, best of luck, and I hope your voice makes it through another day. 🙂

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