Stuck in Transit

Thursday, September 11, 2008

As the teacher's strike barrels into the end of its second week, people are starting to frustrate me to no end.
After hearing all the different opinions from either side, I went to the open meeting at Samammish to listen to people speak their grievances and the board to explain themselves [which they didn't do much of, frankly]. We were crammed into the theater and then into the cafeteria with a tiny screen because there was so many people. We watched from inside and outside, and our captains started writing a speech to go up for number 62 [which they cut off at 56, which sucked]. The worst part to me was that people who didn't seem to understand everything about the strike got to speak their piece. Obviously we are all affected, but parents don't know the inner workings of the classroom. And, equally, students probably don't have the qualifications to know about what a fair pay raise is. People were saying their part, which I commend, but a lot of it was very selfish and towards themselves. Our speech may have been the same, but we are the ones most affected. Parents with their kids in daycare and problems with free and reduced lunch I understand their plight, but there were people that were far removed from the situation - like a nurse that was speaking about how she would love to have three months vacation and a parent speaking of her student's band camp being cancelled. I believe that these are not issues of importance necessary to be brought up when they are minor things to lose. That nurse was aligning her position to that of a teacher, and they are just not the same. And band camp for one year is probably not as affecting as having teachers move on in the curriculum based off of a robot web decision. Particularly cagey were the board members, who were doing the classic talk-around-the-issue political style. They were asked very direct questions of what would happen to teachers who didn't obey curriculum web and if there was money to give by rechecking the books - they answered everything but these questions.
However, I guess from the email that we received, we actually did get a little leeway. There are now going to be round-the-clock discussions, a new mediator, and no injunction to force teachers back to school. But we're still not rid of the word 'occassionally' or at the right price range. I don't believe much in the pay being as important, but at least focus on your students' livelihoods by allowing teachers the freedom to think outside the box.