11 September 2012

Chicago Teacher Strike

If you've been reading the newspaper or watching the news this week, the chances are good that you've heard of the Chicago teacher strike going on. The chances increase dramatically if you subscribe to a newspaper or have access to a television. Those chances go up even further if you are yourself a teacher. And finally, I'd say there's a one hundred percent chance that you've heard of the strike if you are in fact a teacher in the Chicago. I meet most of that criteria, and I have been to the Windy City so I am aware of the happenings, at least inasmuch as the Washington Post and The Onion report. 
I always thought that I would have job security as a male math teacher. In the twelve minutes standing in front of the academic counselor's office at the Y, deciding on a major, I never thought that I might be forced to give up my job security. I recall in splashed color (as opposed to vividly) the teacher strike in Belmont, MA when I was in elementary school. Massachusetts is a unionized labor state much like Chi-town, the difference being  Massachusetts is a state and Chicago is a city, and in MA the teachers are required to join a union. It's part of your teaching contract that you pay teacher's union dues and therefore are part of a union. All of this could false, mind you, but I believe it to be true from what I've heard and what I've read on The Onion. Anyway, I would be really peeved if I were required to go on strike as a teacher. I love my job! Sure the pay is lousy and the hours are long but there are so many incredible things about being a teacher too. For example, the look on a 12 year old's face when you make a Katy Perry reference and they get it. That would never happen at an accounting firm or a lawyerly palace. I could write a whole post about the joys of teaching, but I don't think it would affect the Chicago strike very much. 
I'm not yet sure which side I'm on. Of course one, or many for that matter, would expect me to be on the side of the teacher's union. But I don't like the idea of walking away from a job, no matter the circumstances.  And I don't like the idea of forcing teachers into a union and then forcing them to go on strike. But on the flipside, I absolutely see how teachers get trampled on. We get blamed for a lot of things that are completely out of our control. And there truly is no known way to evaluate teachers; it's as elusive as a Kristen Stewart emotion. Basically I don't know which side I'm on.
I just want to say today how grateful I am for the job I have and that I don't have to go on strike. The choice to go to work is mine.
When I began this post I had it all worked out in my mind as being incredibly intellectual, opinionated, and crises solving, but it didn't really end up like I planned. Sort of like how my dishwasher always leaves a little bit of leftover food on the dishes just so I'm always wondering if they're clean or not.


Lynn said...

"As elusive as a Kristen Stewart emotion." <-- The best.

But seriously, teachers do get the short stick a lot of the time.

Mckell said...

I agree with Lynn about the best line in the post.

Unions are a source of mixed emotions for me too. I see advantages and disadvantages for both sides of the issue. I'm glad that you're not in Chicago and still have a job, though.