Slice of Life Tuesday: Thinking about what’s happening in Chicago…

Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers
A week into our school year, I am thinking about my colleagues in Chicago, who are on strike in the hopes of having their voices heard…
I am thinking about the teacher I heard on the news last night talking about how there is only one social worker to assist the 1,800 students in her school, and how the last time she was able to purchase text books for her students was twelve years ago…
I am thinking about all those teachers who want to be in their classroom with their kids, but also want safe environments  in which to teach…
I am thinking of the movement afoot to link a teacher’s tenure and pay to his/her student’s standardized tests, and what  Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) President Karen Lewis said of this practice: “evaluate us on what we do, not the lives of our children we do not control.”
I am thinking of my blogging buddy Katie, who had such exciting things she wanted to start her school year with, and how torn she must be feeling….
I am thinking about a conversation I just had over coffee with Tuvia and Bonnie, when Tuvia shared his belief that teachers have real power and my own need to believe that (isn’t this why I work as hard as I do?) with what I see said about us on the news in the newspapers….
I am thinking about the statement Gloria Steinem made on Sunday night, when the strike was imminent:
“Tonight, I proudly wear a red t-shirt in support of the Chicago Teachers Union strike. They have been forced to strike – for the first time in 25 years – by the false economy of firing and penalizing the experienced teachers most needed by the students and by new teachers; by lengthening the school day as warehousing without educational services, healthy school buildings, and paid teachers; by what they have the knowledge to call the “apartheid-like system” of differential discipline policies; and by what seems to be a national tactic of demonizing teachers in order to turn public schools into corporate profit centers.”
I am thinking about all of this as I face my own students and worry about my profession, which seems to be under valued and under assault, with ever more mandates and state assessments and standardized tests in the works….
And then I go back to thinking about Katie…and wishing her a speedy resolution to this mess, so that she can get back to the job she loves…


10 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Thinking about what’s happening in Chicago…

  1. I've been thinking about Katie too. And all of the incredible teachers like her who just want to get in there and teach.It will be interesting to see how this unfolds in Chicago, won't it?

  2. Thanks for sharing your strong beliefs, Tara. I feel such sympathy for those teachers. I wonder how we here (in the US) have arrived at this strange society of blame, & especially seeming to blame teachers for all the woes of schools. Thanks for telling me about Katie. I didn't realize she was in Chicago.

  3. Thank you. Although I heard that there was a strike, I don't watch the news and hadn't heard anything about why there was a strike. I hope the teachers succeed in creating a better learning environment for their students and a more supportive environment for themselves. My kids' favorite classes in school = their best teachers. It correlates directly. (That became very clear recently when one of my kids said that her second favorite class was math, and this child doesn't even care for math!) We need to find ways to make great teachers (ones who are already teaching and ones to come) want to be in the classroom!

  4. And I'm thinking about you and feeling proud that we are friends and that we share a passion for teaching and kids and hope that public schools will survive this latest attack. I just finished reading the NY Times with an array of articles on Chicago. Those teachers are leading the way. BRAVO!Hope to see you soon. Tuvia had a wonderful time too.

  5. Thanks for thinking of me Tara! It has been an emotional week for everyone involved. Hopefully we have been able to safe guard some things for our students, but truly bigger change is needed in Chicago. We don't need political reformers, we need revolution driven by educators and parents. I'm hoping that this is resolved today and I can get back to the business of my daily life.

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