In general I have not felt terribly underpaid as a teacher. There are several reasons for this, and my generally declining needs threshold is a big one. But here’s the thing. I am exactly the type of person that The Powers That Be want to be a teacher. I am single. I do not have kids. Hell, I have cats. By extension, it is (apparently) assumed that the time I spend outside of actual school hours doing my job is somehow “free” in both cost and free of any other things I might ever do. I’m the dream stereotype. For this reason I stand in solidarity with teachers in Chicago.
Regardless of which parts of this presumption of my life may be true, the reality is that it does not matter. The reality is that the average salary in my profession, certainly in the area where I live, completely precludes having a home, car, and a family. For this reason I stand in solidarity with teachers in Chicago.
Talk about ‘tracking’… only certain types of people being cut out for certain types of jobs? Huh? For this reason I stand in solidarity with teachers in Chicago.
The constant barbs that “those who cannot do, teach” and that teachers are overpaid because they have their summers free and that teachers are (love this one) lazy, further underscore this hate-pity-hate relationship our culture seems to have with teachers. I often wonder how I am supposed to demonstrate that there is meaning in what I do, and by extension, what I say (ie: teach) when the conventional wisdom my clientele is immersed in suggests that I am in a profession that only a (mentally and/or physically) lazy, and generally sluggish human would enter. For this reason I stand in solidarity with teachers in Chicago.
The ultimate irony of course, is that many of these same name-calling people are entrusting what is technically their most precious possession – their child – into my colleagues’ and my inept hands. For this reason I stand in solidarity with teachers in Chicago.
So, when teachers strike for what people claim are not appropriate reasons, like a cost of living increase… it makes me wonder. Where should the money go? I understand that strikes hurt everyone involved, but perhaps it really is time to look at a much larger fundamental misstep in the arrangement of our cultural priorities. For this reason I stand in solidarity with teachers in Chicago.
Education matters, I would suggest as much as national defense, as much as interstate highways… Sharing the basic skills and tenets of our culture and our place in the world is fundamental for the survival of said culture (not to mention to training of future policy makers, strategists and road makers.) For this reason I stand in solidarity with teachers in Chicago.
I always ask my students what a future civilization would make of us if all they had to work with were the heaps of garbage we have created and the television shows we watch. What would an unfamiliar sentient being think of a society in which more people watched Here Comes Honey Boo Boo than vetted the potential leaders of their country as they presented platforms at their conventions… For this reason I stand in solidarity with teachers in Chicago.
When did it become cool to be so dumb?
I am guessing that it somehow coincided with the popularization of the notion that the people who chose to become educated and share that education became labeled as hapless, overpaid, losers. Who knew to be a winner all I ever had to do was “holla fo’ a dolla.”
FOR THIS REASON I STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH TEACHERS IN CHICAGO.