Well, it was only really a matter of time before I had to discuss the giant elephant in Chicago. No, the Chicago Cubs haven’t broken the curse of Billy the Goat and won the World Series, thus prompting the Mayan Apocalypse. (Although Brittany Spears’s newfound popularity is a big sign.) This is a blog on my quest for teacherdom (and the Lost City of Gold, if there’s time) so I can’t ignore the fact that the third largest school district in the United States is currently on strike.
There are many different sides to the strike, and it boils down to one side wants something, and the other side doesn’t want to give it up. Then more people get involved, pundits who think they know what is going on throw in their opinion, some cartoonists decide to draw all teachers as fat and lazy, then more people get angry, someone says that teachers make too much money, then we discuss what a teacher is worth, then government representatives hold out because they know parents will only be so supportive and somewhere in there the kids are just excited because summer gets to last a little bit longer. Does that run-on sentence about sum things up?
First of all, I disagree with teacher strikes in general. Not because I feel they don’t deserve what they are asking for (better benefits and a better way of evaluating their performances – that last one is a post in and of itself) but teacher strikes hurt the wrong people. The only people being hurt are the parents, who, as I mentioned are on the side of the teachers for now, and the kids. Government doesn’t really get hurt by this. Close down some buildings for a bit? They can pour more money into making those deep dish pizzas or whatever it is the Chicago Government does. (I know they don’t. I just started talking about Chicago, and I want pizza. Someone get on that.)
The second big issue is the fact that this is once again an opportunity to demonize teachers. If you have the stomach for it, go ahead and look at some of the comments people are making regarding all of these “lazy teachers”. And it’s not just striking ones, all teachers get lumped into it, then we talk about salary and the rich lifestyles of teachers (after all, when they’re not teaching they are spending long hours in their summer homes just outside of Paris, eating deep dish pizza… focus, Michael, focus!). Striking teachers just further hurts the cause. If anything, something needs to be done to show how valuable teachers are, and that not getting the basic tools to do a job is only going to further hurt that.
And yes, he said, reading all of your minds, I’m going to come at this in a very pro-teacher stance. I’m unabashedly biased when it comes to shouting the fact that teachers are unappreciated, and one just has to use their magic Google boxes to see how underappreciated they are. But once again, they’re being thrown under the bus (pun not intended… no, wait. This is probably the only acceptable time for a pun.) because they dare demand something that might improve how they do their job.
Of course, teaching is easy, right? That’s why so many people go into it so readily, and why it’s so easy to get a teaching degree.
Don’t demonize teachers. Disagree with them, but I’m tired of the crap coming out of the mouths of people because teachers are asking for something. They could go about it better, yes, but so could everyone.