What strange times. Normally I would be celebrating the end to my school year with my students or anticipation of summer plans with my family or a huge pile of books that I want to read.
But school hasn’t really ended and summer hasn’t really started. We have been out of our classrooms here in B.C all week – picketing on the sidewalks because of a full scale teacher’s strike. Before this we had rotating strikes for three weeks – out one day a week. While rotating strikes were happening, we were partially locked out and our daily pay was reduced by ten percent each day.
Finally, both sides have agreed to mediation. But this has been a long haul with no real end in sight. We all feel in a strange sort of limbo. I want to be in my classroom teaching. At the same time, I have deep concerns about the funding and respect for public education in this province and feel strongly that this government needs to fund education in a way that means students can have the support that they need. There is a big story about court cases ruling in favour of the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation. Government appeals. Months of bargaining. No contract.
Very challenging. Very complicated. I am not going to get into the details here. Instead, I am going to find something to celebrate because in times like this, we need to remain positive. The alternative is too depressing. I have surprised myself with how positive and even optimistic I have remained. And this is what I celebrate. The positive spirit of so many as we endure one of the most challenging labour disputes of my career.
I celebrate my colleagues, my family and all of our children. I celebrate positive sentiment despite all that is at stake. I celebrate support from near and far.
Students and their families have visited us on the picket lines. And our own families come too! Always a recipe for big smiles and joy.
Shift change is social. Public generosity and support means much. Time together is positive and encouraging.
At rallies for public education, we find strength and meet colleagues from other schools.
Our children are often on the picket line with us. They are decorating the sidewalks, enhancing our signs with art and kid sentiments. They play and connect with each other and always entertain us.
This is our current reality. I celebrate that we still hang on to such positive spirit.
Thank you to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and the Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I treasure this #celebratelu community.