Teachers on Strike

I recently saw an article in the New York Times describing the treats of strike from the Chicago Teachers’ Union recently.  And it upset me.

I believe that we, as educators, have a duty to our students that extend beyond mere convenience.  When we are hired by a school, we are making a commitment, not just to the school’s administration, but to our students.  And when we strike we abandon those students.  Quite literally.  An article from the Washington Post details some of the affects the strike would have on the local community; impacting, in particular, youth already deemed “at-risk”.

I believe it is cowardly and reprehensible for teachers to abandon their posts to protest something as trivial as an extension of the school day (Especially in Chicago which has the shortest school day in the country) or pay raises based on merit (which is the standard for other professions and is, in fact, based on a founding principle of our nation).  It sickens me that there are educators out there who value their own comforts over the welfare of their students.

I think teachers – like any citizens – have the right to petition and protest their government; but not at the cost of their students’ education.

Many folks in this class have brought up that they feel that teachers are not respected enough as professionals – but, frankly, if this behavior (mirrored in Wisconsin and New Your and around the US) is acceptable to many teachers, then we probably do not deserve respect as professionals.  If we put our political ideologies or personal conveniences before our duties as educators – acting like self-indulgent children by ignoring the actual children in our classrooms – then there is no way we can earn the respect of those outside the profession.

-Matt Cleland

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4 thoughts on “Teachers on Strike

  1. While I agree with your opinion on this particular group of teachers, I think that we need to be careful about generalizations here. I can see where you are coming from. After all a lot of teachers go around with a very “high and mighty” attitude like they are saving the world and that can negatively color people’s perceptions of teachers. Teaching is a job like anything else when it boils down to it. However, like religious people, these people who act self righteous and complain about things are most likely a minority. Unfortunately, they are a loud minority, but a minority all the same.

    Anna B.

  2. mattcleland says:

    Unfortunately they are not a minority. The point of a strike is that almost every teacher in the district – or city or region or state (like Wisconsin) – refuses to work. Meaning that nearly every one of these teachers is abandoning their students for, largely, trivial reasons.

    And that’s not okay. Hence, teachers, on the whole, should cope with the shame of being associated with entire communities of teachers who walk out on their students because they’re mad about something stupid.

  3. I agree, it is stupid and I definitely don’t think they have their students best interests in mind at all.

    I think I didn’t clarify myself very well, but what I meant is that they are a minority on a national level. Obviously they are not in those specific districts, but out of all of the teachers in the country I think those sorts of teachers who care more about their benefits rather than their student’s well-being are a smaller number.

  4. emmalouisefaithsteward says:

    It is a bummer to see teachers A) acting so irrationally and B) so dissatisfied with their jobs. As a teacher, you pretty much have to be a-okay with a low salary and little benefits. Passion should be what drives you to want to be a teacher. Not what you reap in the end.

    A strike will be detrimental to the children. But it also causes stress for the whole board of administrators and the entire school district.

    It is also sad to see that teachers are so unhappy with the relationships of their superiors. As future teachers, this is not what any of us like to hear.

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