To be honest, I should probably be working on the legislative caucus with PAN MA or my AP Lit essay, but it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’m feeling kind of fiery right now too, so hell, let the splurge of words begin.
In the city I live in, we’re currently dealing with a smidge of a problem: “work to rule”. It’s a simple strategy in which a group of workers work to their contract, sounds simple right? Well, not quite when you’re speaking of (local) government employed workers like teachers, police officers, firefighters, etc. These people go above and beyond in their jobs, and are clearly underpaid. They say if you want to be broke and happy, be a teacher. Which is partly true, especially the broke part.
Anyways, for about (I think, don’t quote me on this) a year, maybe 2, our teachers have been going back and forth with our city about their contract/wage. There’s debate on health care and how much each group should pay and wage raises and all of this stuff. Regardless of where it’s at in the negotiations, it leaves me and 400-ish students in a bit of a fooey. We can’t get teacher recommendations for college, scholarships, etc. We can’t run our clubs. We can’t meet our teachers before or after school to ask for help, advice, whatever.
You see the predicament right? It’s a split fork of “our mayor isn’t doing jack sh*t” and “our teachers are greedy apes” (I heard someone actually use greedy apes in the hallway last year). I’m not on neither side, I’m on the settle this before it affects me too side. I care for my teachers, I do, but I have to be honest in that I wouldn’t be involved or care as much if it didn’t affect my college acceptance.
For me, a better-than-average but not stunning-exceptional student, I kind of really need these. I need a second or third perspective that yeah I may not get the best test scores, but I’m great in class and an active learner willing to kick ass and work hard. I need that extra convincing from teachers because who are colleges going to trust more, me or my academic advisors?
I do admit though, I am partial to my teachers. As a child of two teachers that have walked a long way, I have some reserved space of respect for teachers. They really do a lot more than they’re paid for which until now, wasn’t really appreciated. I think it’s a universal rule that before you become a teacher, a million will tell you well you know, no one will ever pay you for what you really do but it’s worth it. So the argument of “if they knew they were going to be underpaid, why are they teaching? They’re just greedy.” comes up. That’s true, I won’t deny that.
What I will gladly deny though is that they didn’t expect to be paid below that of the Cost of Living. They didn’t expect that they’d still be paying off their debt 10 years after nailing a solid teaching job. They didn’t expect that they could be paid less than what they had received in all the previous years. For all they do, it’s amazing they haven’t quit. We’ve had one teacher take a different job, and though no reason to said teacher’s doing so has been stated, I think we all know why.
I don’t really understand our mayor’s position on this. I met with him back in April with two friends just to get the low down on what’s going on because no one would really say. I can’t say I can remember too much of our meeting besides him being a nice man. I can’t say much on his side besides the fact that I don’t understand where he’s coming from or why he won’t give into the raise. Does he think the teachers are being greedy? Does he want to save money for something else? Is the city tight on money? I honestly don’t know.
I think another big problem about this is, there’s no real information on this. I get that it’s ongoing-negotiations and it’s really none of my business. But again, it involves my teachers so it becomes open to any city resident with a kid in the school system. When you do work to rule, it’s like one step to open the situation to the public. But the teachers haven’t really explained their reasoning to anyone besides some occasional class discussions, so they haven’t taken a full step either.
The mayor has released a letter or two in our local newspaper but that hasn’t informed me much either. *insert the longest and heaviest sigh possible* I’m tired of all this, and I’m sure my teachers/mayor are as well.
I just hope that whatever happens in the next few months, my classmates and I are safe. The most frustrating thing is being caught in this but there’s nothing we can do because it doesn’t directly involves us, but directly affects us. Frustrating, huh?