As the start of school looms and the conflict between teachers and government seems no closer to being resolved, I want to make sure you know a few things. First and most importantly, I need you to know that there is almost nothing I wouldn't do for your child. Perhaps right now some of you are finding it challenging to believe me, and I understand that you only want what is best for your child. As an educator and a parent, I too want what is best. This is leading me to return from my maternity leave and to go directly to the picket line. It leads me to find care for my own children while I go to stand up for all of our children. It urges me to give up my own salary to fight for a good future.
I know that this job action has happened before, and many think us selfish and greedy. I need you to know that yes, I think it is important that educators have good wages and working conditions. (I also know that this just hit a nerve with many of you reading this, and your blood is beginning to boil.) However, salary is not the contentious issue in negotiating. In fact, this is one issue on which both sides seem to be fairly close to agreeing. It is your child I am fighting for now. Apart from my family, it is your child I know best and care most about. It is your child I am with often more waking hours than I am with my own. I chose this path and I will keep choosing it, for it is who I am.
My path as an educator is a complex one, much like parenting. Like parenting, there is inexplicable joy and heavy heartache. There is a time for fun and a time to get down to business. However, it is also simple: I care for my students fiercely and let them know I believe in them and am there for them every single day, just as I do for my own children. That is why I stand on this picket line. I believe that all our children deserve more than this government is allowing our education system to give.
Perhaps this will be yet another round of job action that beats us down, empties our bank accounts and angers the public. In the face of this possibility, I need to choose strength and hope. I need to know that I took action to make a change to a system that is eroding. There is an old adage Never mix business with pleasure. Teaching IS who I am. It IS personal. When the government attacks my students, it attacks me. So when I stand on the picket line, I am fighting with my heart, not my purse strings.
Every night I go to bed, I have thoughts swirling in my head. Things to do. Scrapbook pages I want to create. Gifts I want to make. Skills I want to learn. And, of course, daily happenings that I don't want to forget, but invariably will by tomorrow morning, only to pop up in a random thought weeks down the road. So, here I am. I may use this blog daily to empty my head and heart before cuddling up in my duvet, or as it may be, I may write in it once a month. Who knows. It is for me, but perhaps something I write or learn may spark a fire in someone else. Perhaps it may quiet a mind or make you feel like you are not alone out there. It is for me. But perhaps it is for you.