Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Imminent Strike

The union has planned a one day strike for Thursday, April 20. I'm crossing the picket line. I'm not at all excited about crossing the picket line - I want to support my co-workers, I want to be paid more and have cheaper health care, and I think it is incredibly offensive to teachers and regular subs that the superintendent is willing to pay subs (many of whom are unqualified) $300 a day to sub during a strike. But I can't leave my kids and I'm going to practice explaining my rationale for crossing the picket line.

For the most part, these children in my class this year do not have stable adults in their lives. I could go down the class list and tell you who was abandoned by their mother as a baby, who has never met their father, whose mother complains every day about being stuck with a child, who's being abused, etc. Most of them can't go visit their old teachers who have moved on. Two of them have had a relative shot and killed in the last month, and many of them are discovering for the first time that they are worthwhile and possibly even smart. It doesn't matter how many completely legitimate reasons I have to strike; this group of kids will take it as one more adult who leaves them.

Part of it is completely selfish. When they fall apart - for example, when I'm sick or have a meeting and they have a sub - it takes days and days to get them back to a semblance of normalcy. I will admit that part.

Part of it is also because I don't trust the union as far as I can throw them. I've seen them do some pretty rotten things over the years and I've NOT seen them help anyone out. The union president is the master of incendiary language, so every statement he makes or letter he writes sounds like a declaration of war. And not just any war, but an extremist holy war. Also, we're not fighting over a living wage here. We're fighting over health care going up. Yes, it sucks, but it's happening to a lot of people in a lot of professions and I am not going to put the kids' education on hold for that.

But also - I know that I can't save the kids - I've been trying to remember Isaiah 43:11, which says "I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior" and pray for the kids and trust that God will take care of them. If I try to save them, ain't nobody in the classroom going to be sane. However, I did take them on and I do love them, and I'll do what I can, even if it means being a scab.

On a totally different and lighter note, I'm on spring break. I got into a fight with a Mojave yucca plant in Joshua Tree National Park. It stabbed me without provocation. I showed it though.

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