The last night of a vacation is always tough. No more travel or sleeping in. No opportunities for exercise each morning, or going out for brunch, or spending time with family and friends.
Tomorrow, for the first time this year, we will head back to school. My son will head off to daycare, my daughter will join her first grade classmates, my partner will head off to the high school he serves, and I will go to my middle school. We will greet students, teachers, and support staff. We will catch up on vacation news, and then we will talk about this strike.
It’s coming, because our district wants it. They want to break the union and public schools as we know them. They want to pretend our demands are unreasonable and that the district can’t afford them, but billions in surplus tell us differently. They want the public to turn on teachers; to see us as selfish, but the outpouring of support from parents and families has galvanized our ranks.
We don’t want to strike, but we know we are standing up for what is right. It is the right thing to do for education professionals, for families, and for communities.
We are doing this for our students, the ones I am excited to see tomorrow morning, and in each class period throughout the school day. On break, it’s easy to forget all I learn from my students, all I gain from getting to share the classroom space with them, and tomorrow they will help me remember. It will be so good to see them. They will remind me how good it feels to get started reading, writing, speaking, and listening with them. They will remind me that a quote, a question, and a song can crack our lives open and make us remember the things that are most important. They will remind me of my favorite Anne Frank quote, “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
This strike will be hard for so many. It will be hard for teachers who are rewarded daily by the work we do at our schools. It will be hard financially for families risking so much. It will be hard for parents wanting to make the right decisions for their children. It will be hard for students who want to learn and see teachers outside, fighting for just learning conditions. And I’m sure there are thousands of other ways this will be a challenge that I haven’t thought of yet.
So, I hope the district sees these hardships, sees the communities they are supposed to serve, sees the students who breath life into our schools and make an offer that will help provide the schools our students deserve. They could do this tomorrow, or the next day, or the next. But until that offer comes, you will find me on the line.