#thisismystrikepay = Food For the Soul

Heather Hart @bwasgrumpy posted last night that #thisismystrikepay = food for the soul. I just happen to agree, and am hoping she doesn’t mind me borrowing that phrase for the title of this post.

Wow, what a weekend. #thisismystrikepaIy carried on as we were all hopeful over the weekend and disappointed with negotiation news this morning. Nobody could be more surprised than me and the Mr. We’ve had a hard time looking away, which is a sentiment I’ve heard from others, with tweets like this one:

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This is my personal favourite tweet from tonight:

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It’s true, isn’t it? Teachers suddenly had all this TIME that used to be filled with marking, so they posted and blogged and retweeted, and some of my friends even learned how to use Twitter for the first time so they could participate. My husband’s picket sign reads “Teachers Taking a Stand,” and I’ve been enthralled watching B.C. teachers do exactly that.

This simple hashtag took off. Why? So many teachers are parents too, and even those who aren’t have kids they’re concerned about. The fact is that every single one of the kids tweeted about this weekend is as important as any other. Every single one deserves the support of a fully funded education system. Is there a poster child for this campaign? Sure – thousands, in fact. It’s the thousands of kids across the province who are without textbooks. It’s the kids who don’t get time with their teachers due to overcrowding. It’s the special needs kids who need extra support. It’s the kids who are graduating this month who have spent their last 13 years in an education system abused by the government. It’s the kids who haven’t even stepped foot in a classroom yet. It’s any number of these, and many many more.

It’s the kids pictured here:

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And it’s my kid:

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And it’s yours.

So, you can read about how #thisismystrikepay got started here, but more importantly you can keep your eye on the Twitter hashtag. These are the stories and images that are important.

It’s time for me to look away for the night… I’m off to do some regular ol’ mama-ing and make a new t-shirt for Miss Sweet Pea to wear on the picket line tomorrow.

Please, carry on.

This Is My Strike Pay

How did #thisismystrikepay start, anyway? I’ve been asked a couple times today to explain more, and I think the best way to do that is simply to quote my husband. When he captioned the image of our daughter last night with “This is My Strike Pay,” he posted the following:

Let’s start dispelling the myth that this is about parents vs. teachers, shall we? Many teachers ARE parents and are in this fight as much for their own children’s future as anything else. Why would we vote 86% to strike without pay if we didn’t have cause to believe this is right? This is my pay. Her name is Sweet Pea and I want a better education system in place before she starts kindergarten. Teachers: consider sharing this please. Teacher parents: please consider posting a picture of your own child/children with the caption “THIS is my strike pay ” and the date they will start/started/graduate from school. It’s the next side of the “human face” of this movement and no one else is going to get it out there but us. Solidarity, sisters and brothers. And solidarity to our children, too.

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Personally, I think that says it all. Thank you to all the wonderful B.C. Teachers who participated in #thisismystrikepay in the past 24 hours. It turned into something I didn’t dare imagine when I posted to Twitter last night: a heartwarming reminder to all parties involved that the kids are at the heart of the current negotiations. Carry on, friends.

An Unfair Fight for a Fair Deal

I don’t normally write particularly political posts, but oh, would you just indulge me for a moment? I am feeling incredibly dejected today about this fight for a fair deal for our B.C. students and teachers.

I am sad that my mom, who has seen a 0% wage increase for the last 2 years, may not ever see one before retirement.

I’m feeling sickened that my “little” cousin Wes, who just proudly graduated, has spent his entire schooling in a system abused by our government.

I fear that my daughter will face the same.

I will be grateful if Sweet Pea  doesn’t need extra resources in school. But, I worry that she will be overlooked, because I know – I know – that right now those kids who can make it don’t get enough attention, because teachers have to focus on those who can’t. There are too many kids in each classroom, not enough help, and unfortunately no superpower bestowed upon teachers to allow them to spend individual time with each student.

I worry that if I decide to homeschool, because I believe that my daughter deserves more than the above, that it will be seen as a slight against teachers. My dear husband, I support you. Mom, I support you. My friends, and acquaintances, and you who I honked at while you were on the picket line the other day, I support you. I know how hard all of you work, and I know that this system is failing through no fault of yours. It is failing despite you, not because of you, and I hear how frustrated you are about that. I’m so sorry.

I am scared that we will have to leave this beautiful province, my home, our friends and our family, for the Mr. to even get a permanent position anytime soon, because teachers who graduated TEN YEARS AGO are still being laid off due to classroom closures and lack of resources.

I am concerned that even when he does get a job, he will burn out awfully fast.

I am disgusted by the bullying that is going on by the government. Did you know that the Mr., as a teacher-on-call, would not have qualified for the signing bonus that the B.C. Liberals were “offering.” He does, however, qualify to have his pay stripped 10% due to the current job action? There is no fairness to this fight.

I worry about our own financial future.

I don’t know how we’re going to be able to afford to stock a classroom with books, or to buy a coat for that 5 year old who can’t go out to play at recess because he doesn’t have one. I promise you I will try. I don’t know your kids, but I can tell you my husband cares for them and we are committed to them. I promise I will try.

Parents, I’m sorry. I know this job action is inconvenient, and I know it’s tiresome. I know you’re worried too. But please, PLEASE know that teachers are on your side. They are not teachers for the glory, or for the money. By and large they care about your kids, and many of them are parents too. Many of them are, like me, being kept up at night with their worries. And all they can do is keep trying to be heard, keep trying to fight for a fair deal.