Friday, May 18, 2018

North Carolina Teachers' Strike From The Vantage Of A Teacher Who Did Not Participate

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North Carolina Teachers Strike From The Vantage Of A Teacher Who Did Not Participate

A very good friend and dedicated educator wrote this in response to some questions/comments about the rally by teachers this week. He is NOT from Orange County, but sadly and very accurately summarizes the conditions that many teachers (and students) have to endure in order to teach (and learn) in NC.......

"I stay pretty quiet on this stuff generally. The main reason is that I don't know what others do for a living. Even if I did, I wouldn't know the details of what their job entails. I'd never try to give someone direction or critique on a job that I've never done. What do I know?
I know that I've been a teacher in NC for 20 years, and I've had one set of text books in those years. I know that in my building there is only one working bathroom stall in the boys bathroom, I know that I've put in a request for two ceiling fans to be repaired in my shop for three years. Finally had to get fans and replace them myself. I know that there are at least four classrooms in my building where the air conditioning doesn't work.
I know that last week we were not able to use the risograph machine because we had to ink. I know that we have to use the money from the vending machines and from the sale of year books to buy paper. I know that the state stopped giving raises for advanced degrees, I know that they stopped loooong ago matching retirement, I know that they stopped longevity benefits, I know that I drove a 28 year old activity bus to an FFA competition two weeks ago that was so worn out that that it took 90 minutes to 35 miles.
While I did not go...I also understand that the teachers, for the most part, did not walk out on their students. They walked out for their students.
People who believe the news media about this being totally about teacher pay, probably believe the media about all the Trump scandals, or the need to remove those hateful historic monuments, or that evil guns kill people.
I'm a teacher, I'm a voter, I'm a historian. I know that our constitution allows for peaceful protests, and I know these teachers didn't burn cars, they didn't loot stores, they didn't hang anybody in effigy. They simply asked for better working conditions for themselves and their students. More pay is a plus.
As a historian I can tell you that for protests to be effective that have to cause some discomfort.
I know that ALL other jobs and professions begin with basic education. A doctor couldn't be a doctor without being taught.
But what do I know. I'm just a greedy, lazy, tax draining teacher "
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