Growing up the daughter of an educator, I watched my mom give endlessly. She has lived a full life. Was it an easy life? No. Was it a carefree one? No. She was the epitome of kind, and will give you the shirt off her back if necessary. When kids couldn’t come to school because they didn’t have the proper attire, she would take them our clothes. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. We were not rich but we were also never without. If kids couldn’t eat, she would help them and make sure their parents knew how to take full advantage of their opportunities. When 8th graders were ready to go to high school, she made sure they went to the best ones and helped those students get into the schools of their choice. Now anyone who knows any major cities public school system is aware that that is not an easy task.
My mom was a ‘make a way out of no way’ kind of lady and I am happy to say she is my mom. I wish everyone knew her, or someone like her. She changes lives and always for the better, she has been my inspiration and so many children who have come up through her school district. Everyone at I.S.195 in Harlem,NY knew her. Now what is my point in telling you all of this? First let me say if you are teaching like my mom did and or work for the board of education, it is NOT, I repeat NOT for the salary!!! I was blessed to be raised in a two family income home so my parents were a team who supplied us with endless possibilities. However when my dad passed, at the age of 16, I watched my mom work 4 jobs (including her teaching job) to make ends meet! My mom didn’t begin to reap the financial rewards of being a teacher until after 35 years of work.
It takes a special kind of person to teach and I never understood to this day, why the people who are teaching people to become doctors, lawyers, leaders of nations are not paid like the people they taught or even paid more. This never made sense to me. The issues teachers deal with on a daily basis by far outweighs what they get in return and perhaps Chicago teachers have nothing left to give. This goes back to simple core values. Life is a cycle. You have to give in order to receive, and when that balance is not there and the scales are tipped and you have given all you have got, its time to create change. Change requires the scales to become even again and perhaps Chicago teachers finally demanding the value they know they are worth will create this change and a better learning environment for the kids.
In my book “The Day I Took Off My Cape” I touch on this. No one will put more value than you put on yourself. I think its great that these teachers are stepping up and finally teaching people how to treat and value what they bring to society. Yes, there are deficits but to take away from the teachers who are preparing our future is not the answer. Education should never get cut short and neither should teachers salaries. I am sorry the kids have to miss school and parents have to find alternative care for now but in the long run, if teachers receive what they feel they are worth, the kids will reap the benefits of happier and valued employers of the Board of Education.
- What are key issues in Chicago public school strike? (news.blogs.cnn.com)
- Chicago’s Teacher Problem, and Ours (newyorker.com)
- 5 Things Chicago Public School Teachers Are Fighting For (drhiphop85.com)
- US educators not respected (english.ruvr.ru)
Chicago pupils, teachers brace for second day of strike (fox6now.com)