2015 marks our school districts 50th anniversary. How unfortunate that our coming celebration of excellence is now marred by our first and only strike.
After one horrendous week, the strike is over. Final score? No, there are no winners. Yes, we will have a fair settlement, but at a price no one bargained for.
Personally, I never bargained for: being cursed and honked at by drivers speeding by; walking in the pouring rain until my knee gave out; buying a brace and continuing to walk; being in every days front page of our local newspaper; viewing an unbalanced report on the evening news; and being shunned by student athletes at the school board meeting. I no longer wanted or felt safe leaving the front door of my home to mingle in the community. I feared being confronted by another angry person at each corner I turned.
Nonetheless, I am resolved to continue to advocate for teachers and their right to a fair and good living. No matter how shamed and guilt ridden we are made to feel, educators need not be the standard for a mediocre or substandard living. We have a right to a good living and we should be able to feel good about that.
I am proud of the courage and integrity my colleagues displayed in defending their right to a good living. I am also thankful for a union that has our best interest at heart and supported us and guided us through this whole ordeal. Our collective bargaining rights allowed us to advocate for a professional salary. I wish the same for my colleagues across this nation who without representation cannot even afford to stay in the profession they love so dearly. I look forward to the day when instead of quibbling over teacher salaries, we put our energy into coming up with systemic solutions for funding education.
Monday will look different to be sure. With many students having different views of the situation, it will take some time to regain our equilibrium. We will need to heal the tensions and rifts that exist throughout our education community.
It still holds true that our community has a longstanding and proud tradition of excellence in education. It is common to hear folks say, "We moved here for the education." It takes an entire community to build such a reputation. To this end, we embrace the future and when our doors open in the morning we will welcome our students with warm hearts and a smile on our faces.
Now back to my kids (students).