Strike day 1

I’ve just come home from my first stint at the teachers’ protest at my school. We’re not actually supposed to call it a picket line, because technically, we aren’t permitted to stop anyone from entering the school so we’re not technically picketing. We do still have the right to protest, though (till the government creates a law making that illegal too, I suppose), so we’re calling it a protest.

We’re also not allowed to put our signs on string and hang them around our necks. Somehow, that equals picketing. So we’re carrying them in our hands or some teachers have stapled theirs to pieces of wood that they’re carrying. Somehow, that equals protesting.

Anyway, of course it was pouring rain and windy. I am soaked through and through! Fortunately, it wasn’t super cold out, so at least I wasn’t freezing as well. I had worn long johns under my jeans, plus a heavy turtleneck sweater and my down parka, so I was prepared for the temperature. My footwear left a lot to be desired, however, as barely an hour in and my feet were sloshing in my leather shoes. I hadn’t wanted to wear my boots, because I didn’t think I could pace comfortably up and down in front of the school for three hours in them, so I thought my leather shoes might work. They didn’t. I’ll have to come up with a Plan B if it’s raining tomorrow.

We seemed to get more support than anger from people driving by, too. There was a lot of honking and waving and thumbs up. I only saw one person giving us a thumbs down, and one guy gave us the finger.

I sure hope that guy won’t mind if his kid is ever in a class of 35 students, 15 of whom have special learning needs, and the teacher has an educational assistant in to help only twice a week for an hour or so.

Because that’s why I and my colleagues were out there at 7:30 am on a windy, rainy Monday morning, walking a “protest” line. For his kid.

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7 responses to “Strike day 1

  1. Thanks for the dispatch from the front. It’s a thoroughly disasgreeable thing to feel forced to do. As for your comments about class size and special needs assistance, right on. That to me is the crux of the issue and if the government wants to play silly buggers with that part of the equation, they deserve what they get.

  2. Thank you for standing out there and fighting for a quality education for all kids. It makes me sick to see how the support services have been reduced over the years as teachers face more and more special needs children in their classrooms. This is not fair to anyone: not to the child with special needs, not to the child without special need, not to the teacher. It’s a lose/lose/lose situation. The only winner is the politician with the big fat pension after 4 years of “service” (to use the term very loosely) whose pension is funded in part by the educational cutbacks.

    YOU GO GIRL! …but stay warm and dry. We can’t have you getting sick.

    • Thanks for your support! I wish more people saw it like you do, that any salary increase is quite secondary (though, really, wouldn’t everyone like more money??) to our demands that the government return all the funding that they have taken from education over the past decade so that the services that have had to be cut can then be returned to the kids. We teach kids to stand up to bullies: we’re now showing them that adults need to do it too!

  3. Here’s to the sun coming out!

    • Jazz – Just checked the forecast for the next few days: sunshine!!! But this is the We(s)t Coast, so I probably shouldn’t get too excited until it actually happens, should I?

  4. Have you thought about wearing rubber boots? Those will keep your feet dry and warm if you wear them with thick socks. I’m thinking of you out there in the rain and shiver for you. I hope the protest does some good and that you get lots of news coverage. Protesting teachers need to be seen and heard and taken very seriously.

    • Irene – I only have snow boots, and I didn’t think those would be comfortable enough to walk and stand in for three hours non-stop. But despite that, I may have to wear them tomorrow if it rains – or maybe my hiking boots, although those are leather and will likely allow my feet to get wet eventually, just like the shoes I wore today. Or maybe it will be sunny?!