I have had part of this as my status in Facebook his week, but I felt like I needed to expand on things.
I feel sad for all my colleagues who are going through such a tough time right now. June is always a tough month, but add moving the last day up by 2 weeks and not being able to properly celebrate all the achievements of their students is heartbreaking. As a kindergarten teacher, these students have grown the most (in my opinion) in the past 10 months and deserve to be celebrated. This year though, no year end videos recapping the year and chuckling at how "small" we were in September and no happy hugs saying way to go and good luck in grade 1. This year my colleagues are scrambling to get scrap books done and "goodbyes" said as the school year came to an abrupt end. But has it? There is still hope that we might get to spend a few more days with these little people who have become such a big part of our lives in the 10 months we spend with them. These special moments have been taken away by the gov't who has locked teachers out of their classrooms and not "allowed" teachers to do these extra special things for their students.
Teachers work countless hours above and beyond what people see in the 4 walls of a classroom. I feel sad that many people don't understand this and think that all the strike is about is a raise. If it was just about a raise, we wouldn't spend thousands of our own dollars on making our classrooms loving and inviting places and creating memorable activities for learning. People "assume" that everything in the classrooms has been provided by the school district, but in reality, most classrooms come with tables and chairs and some manipulative that are shared school wide. It is up to the teacher to do the rest - wall decorations, books, games, supplies for special projects and much more. I personally have spent upwards of $7500 on personal items for my classroom since I started teaching.
I feel sad that teachers are not appreciated by the general public. Everyone at one point in their life has been effected by a teacher. We work hard and deserve to have working conditions where we can properly educate every student and have a wage that doesn't require a second job to make ends meet.
I feel sad for all the students who every day go into classes that are over crowded and under supported. Every child deserves to have the best education possible! The "average" child deserves to have as much time spent with them as the "difficult" child, however the reality of the classroom today doesn't allow for that. This is what makes me the most sad. These children will never have the fully funded, fully supported education they deserve and in 15 years when they are joining the workforce, people will be baffled by the lack of basic skills missing from these employees.
I feel sad that my 8 month old might not have a proper education waiting for her in 5 years. The way the school system is going, who knows what will be in place when she walks into her kindergarten classroom. Will she have a teacher who cares about her and her education or person who is just there to work 8:25-2:45 and not do anything above and beyond because they are so burned out from years of supplementing the system?
I feel sad for my colleagues who are retiring or moving on to a new school as this year has been a stressful one! A proper farewell may or may not happen. School communities are like families and when someone leaves it's tough, but not be be able to properly sad goodbye sucks! I know at my school, we have 2 amazing teachers retiring after 30+ years of AMAZING service and they are not getting the recognition and farewell they deserve. We are also saying goodbye to our fantastic principal and at least 6 teachers who have all left their mark on the school. We might be losing more, but since the second round of jobs haven't closed yet, these teachers may get no closure at all. How sad after being part of such a special community, both inside and outside the school.
This is a sad time for public education and people need to stand up for their child, niece/nephew, cousin or grandchild because EVERY child deserves to have a teacher who cares and is able to meet their needs while earning a wage that reflects the cost of living. "Families first" means a properly funded education system with proper supports for ALL students, not just the ones who attend private schools (which are partially funded by the taxpayers).