I am sitting down to write this celebration post exactly 24 hours after the announcement came that the teachers in British Columbia voted to ratify the tentative deal struck in the wee hours of the morning on Tuesday. This means that after 5 full weeks on the picket line (2 weeks in June + 3 weeks this fall), 3 rotating strike days before this and 3 weeks of a partial lock out by the government (with a 10% per day reduction in pay), that this nightmare has come to an end.
I am now fully a teacher again.
On Monday, students will be back at school. I don’t quite know how to express my joy. Two weeks ago I promised fireworks and a marching band. But I haven’t quite figured out how to install those things into a blogpost. You are free to close your eyes and imagine them. Very explosive, very loud! But, if that isn’t working, you will have to settle for me. Tap dancing. I was on CBC news on Tuesday evening after spending a very excited day over the announcement of a tentative deal. Before the on camera interview, I shared how I had been leaping and dancing all day. While the camera men didn’t film it, one of the producers captured it on her phone. If you can’t be silly . . .
— Tina Lovgreen (@tinalovgreen) September 16, 2014
I honestly did feel that this post would be one long joyful rant as did a few others I think. That was certainly the plan . . .
Can’t wait to read Saturday celebration blog from @CarrieGelson this week!
— Elisabeth Ellington (@elisabethelling) September 19, 2014
I hope it doesn’t disappoint. But I realized yesterday that I kept feeling an emotion that I hadn’t felt since all of this started. It was subtle, but strong. It was pure happiness without any restrictions. It was freedom from worry. It was stepping back into the world instead of standing on the sidelines (or sidewalk – but that’s a place I am not going today. . . )
All of us have many parts and our career is just one piece. I know this. I am a mother. A wife. A daughter. A sister. A friend. A neighbour. Beyond this, of course, I am other things. A reader. A walker. A gardener. A coffee enthusiast.
But I AM A TEACHER. It is not the biggest thing or the best. But I love it. I didn’t choose to walk away from it. I was stopped from doing it. Being a teacher compliments everything I do. It is where I feel passion. Where I learn. Where I find joy and challenge and strength. My classroom, when children are in it, is a place of laughter. A place where little moments of magic are discovered, sometimes, completely by surprise. It is also a place of deep, sometimes painful emotion. What I have experienced in our classroom community are experiences that have shaped me and pushed me and shocked me. All of it, I loved. Every bit.
And of course a strike is stressful. No pay cheques x 2 (my husband is a teacher) so very scary. The politics and issues of the entire provincial education system were everywhere. Inescapable for months and months. I am by no means a head in the sand type. But everyone needs some breaks from the intensity. Those “moments away” were sometimes very hard to achieve. Forest walks saved me, many a time.
On Monday, moments like these become mine again.
I know that the smiles and antics of my students in our first few moments together are what will be the final release. Then, this whole mess will really be over and I will take my first full steps back into the place I love to be. Teaching and learning. Wrapped up in a whirlwind year. The huge potential and the tiny small moments. I cannot wait.
Thank you to everyone near and far for all of your support. I would love to share all of the beautiful tweets sent my way but I might crash this blog. I thought about sharing just my favourites. But they are all my favourites. I have such gratitude. So if you are reading this post, please accept my huge and sincere THANK YOU!!
Thank you also to Ruth Ayres, for the inspiration and her Celebration Link up that she hosts each week. I treasure this #celebratelu community. In all honesty, participating in this community every week, through all of this, was part of what got me through.