As a former member of a teachers' union that nearly went on strike two or three times I have been drawn to the posts with this hashtag: #ThisIsMyStrikePay
No, I am not declaring my allegiance to either side of the situation in British Columbia because I do not have any connection or knowledge of the situation except by my chance encounters of posts on social media.
I am a virtual anonymous observer of the Twitter-sphere.
I know from personal experience that tensions and emotions are running high in a situation like this. Because of this I am impressed by the positive spin that has been used to get the point across about the importance of education and supporting those who provide and receive it.
In the current BC situation teachers seem thrilled and somewhat surprised by the public response.
I think that as teachers we often get ourselves caught up and bogged down in the bureaucracy and administrative expectations of teaching.
We often are so focused in the negative that we wallow in drudgery day in and day out.
This is no way to live.
We forget about all the good things going on around us.
It shouldn't take a strike situation to realize the value of what is done in classrooms across the world.
Some of my favorite moments have been the wonderful comments by parents and students that have encouraged me and lifted me up.
Sure, many times these comments have come years later, but that's OK.
It still makes me feel pretty wonderful.
I have watched my "kids" (students) grow and have children of their own.
I treasure it when they share stories, pictures, and videos of their own children enjoying music experiences.
A former student once told me,
"You taught us to sing and enjoy music. Now we get to do the same with our kids."
It's doesn't get much better than that.
I remember, as a young teacher, being worried and frustrated at the child in music class who never participated or sang or danced or anything.
That all changed during a routine grocery shopping trip when the parent of a non-participating kindergartener exclaimed how the child sang and danced around the house and when asked who had taught them the songs the child said "Music Teacher taught me. She sings all the time!"
I had an "Aha" moment. The child was "getting" it by observing.
Recently I had a mother thank me for the musical experiences I provided for her two sons. These sons are in their early 30s now, I believe.
It's rather surreal to think that even after nearly 15 years the experiences I provided in the music and choral classroom are valued.
Ok, this post seems to have meandered quite a bit.
To wrap up I'll say:
To parents/students/community members:
Don't wait until a strike situation to tell teachers that you value what they do.
To teachers remember that you are making a mark even though sometimes it doesn't seem like it.
Back to the #ThisIsMyStrikePay topic: As teachers our pay is intrinsic most of the time rather than dollar signs. This message is coming out loud and clear. The song the BCED teachers are singing today is "Don't Stop Believing."
That's not a bad idea.
[If you tweet, my handle is @musiciansojourn]