I want to make it clear to both my teacher friends and my non-teacher friends: I have heard and seen the arguments from both the government and the teachers/union and because I don’t agree with portions of the arguments from either side, I haven’t chosen a side in this contract dispute between them. I’m not for the government’s position in this fight nor am I completely for the teacher’s side. I am in an uncomfortable place because of that. I feel like the friend caught between a divorcing couple being forced to make a choice between the two as to who I am going to remain friends with when I can see what both sides are doing to the other and the kids in between them. It’s an impossible position for me to be in. And possibly that makes this all the more frustrating for me when I see my kids being hurt by both sides.
There really are no easy solutions to the issues we find ourselves facing but if I am going to write to my MLA and let them know that the government needs to give, I’m also going to write to all of my teacher friends and say they need to as well. If an arbitrator has to come in and handle things, no one is going to win. So work it out, please. Set aside all the mistakes and bad choices and wrongdoing of the past and go forward from here. We can’t undo the past but we can make steps towards positive change for the future. Both sides need to get on the same page and learn to work together for the good of our kids, regardless of their personal feelings towards each other.
I have hesitated to express ANY of my feelings about this whole thing in any forum because of the polarizing of individuals this situation creates but today broke me. Having to go to my son’s school to gather his belongings while he was away at camp, was hard. We’ve had 8 years in that building. 8 years of relationship building. 8 years of connections and memories. I was in tears as I walked away from his classroom knowing that he has missed out on his chance to say goodbye, regretting that I allowed him to go on this trip he’d been looking forward to (originally it was a school sanctioned, teacher accompanied class-wide trip but with the rotating strikes and the lockout that changed. Several parents stepped up and took over and the trip became a parent sponsored/supervised trip – they didn’t want the kids to lose out because of the strikes). When I heard the news that full strike action would be taking effect on Tuesday of next week, I was sad that it had come to that, that the two sides involved still couldn’t seem to come to an agreement, but I wasn’t surprised. It wasn’t going to have a huge impact on our family as we already were going to be gone for 4 school days next week because of family commitments elsewhere and I figured my son could go to school on Monday, gather his things, say goodbye to his teachers and walk away from his last year at his school with a sense of closure. But I was shocked and confused when I read that Monday was going to be a “study session day”, designated so by the BC Teachers union. What did that mean?? What even was that??? What did it mean that teachers wouldn’t be in class but the closing of schools was up to each district in the province to decide. What?? A loophole to the 72 hours notice required for strike action was found. The union effectively was shutting down the system a day early without breaking the rules. Ooooo…that’s dirty pool.
I have a huge issue with dirty pool. I was frustrated when the government engaged in it with the lock out. I had hoped they would be the only ones to employ dirty tactics in this fight. I am hugely disappointed that it has been employed by the teachers’ side. It isn’t helping either side gain support for their cause and I have had enough. As I say to my kids on occasion, “STOP FIGHTING, BOTH OF YOU!!! ENOUGH!! FIGURE IT OUT AND GET ON WITH THINGS! PLEASE!!!!!”