Today marks Day One of the Teacher's Strike in Chicago. According to the Today Show, it is the third largest school district in the country. As a result of the strike, many families are left scrambling to find care for their children. Is it selfish or irresponsible for teacher's to strike? In my humble opinion no.
Teachers have one of the the most underpaid jobs in the country. Teachers have such an important role. A role that is often belittled and and undervalued in this country. No longer is a child saying that they want to become a teacher a career path that is met with awe of parents and friends. Teachers really have a thankless job and their salaries are a reflection of that. I have often looked at the salary of professional and even college sports teams in paltry comparison. Teachers definitely are not paid in proportional to their work. Even with multiple degrees teachers cannot expect big salaries unless they serve in an administrative role.
Many people will argue that teachers picked their profession and they know what they what salary comes with their career choice. This is true, teachers are not blindsided by their monthly paychecks. However, as politicians are increasing their annual salaries many teachers across the country are either seeing the year after year with no raise or are facing cuts each year.
I am surrounded by teachers in my life. Many of my friends growing up became teachers. A few of my friends have been or are teachers currently. My aunt was even a teacher for many years who recently just retired. I would say none of the teachers that I know are selfish. In fact, they probably care for the children to a fault. The people that I know come in early, stay late, bring home work. And most of all, when the school districts can't afford supplies for the children in their classes they pay out of pocket expenses without being reimbursed.
And it isn't just the pay that is the problem. Increasing teachers are not given the creative license to teach. Many times politicians are creating laws and rules to govern classrooms without actually seeing the problems that teachers and students face in the classroom. If they did they would realize that teaching kids to pass tests is not an answer. Changing programs year after year cannot accurately determine success. Each year I hear of the increasing problems with children. As parents rely on teachers more and more to be their secondary parents and babysitters the children are suffering as a result.
All in all, teachers have to endure many struggles in order to raise your children without so much of a thank you. So no, I do not think that teacher's are being selfish when they strike. In fact, maybe if they were to strike more often that people would really start to pay attention. If teachers were more well respected maybe everyone would see that they have a right to happiness and fairness just like every other profession. So Chicago Teacher's I salute you!