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.