Some thoughts and stories from the picket line:
My favorite part of the day is when I arrive, I try to meet everyone and say hello to each of my colleagues. It was quite wonderful to actually see everyone that worked in the same building at the same time. We’re normally so busy that we only get to do that for 2 days in a school year: The first staff meeting before school starts, and the end of year luncheon on the last day of school.
Time seems to go so slowly when you’re walking on the picket line. It goes to show how crazy a typical school day is. It’s not uncommon to hear these things in school:
- “What? It’s 3:30 already? I forgot to eat my lunch! Again.”
- *Bell rings* “Nooooooo! I’m not finished yet!” (You’d hear this in class or during prep)
- “I haven’t peed since this morning, when I ran in from the parking lot.”
Adversity reveals character, and nowhere is one’s character more visible than on the picket line. There are rule followers, rule benders, and rule breakers amongst us. An overwhelming majority of our staff are wonderful, diligent in fighting the good fight. Others disappoint, but that’s because my standards are probably too high. Teachers, after all, are people too.
Although it’s not as bad as prison, picketing with no end in sight can get you down. I was walking alone a lot at the beginning, many told me to “cheer up!” as they walked by. Some colleagues started walking with me, and we would have nice chats as we walked the picket line. After consoling each other about the strike, I would then ask them a simple question: “How did you get into teaching?”, with a follow up of: “How did you get to Glenforest?”
The answers, as you can imagine, are fascinating (for another post).
The public? During the past 3 weeks, it’s been (mostly) positive. We’ve encountered the occasional “Get back to work!”, or “Lazy teachers! Greedy!”, and my favorite, one hand out the car window, pointing at the sky as they drive by. (I always look up and find nothing of interest. What are they pointing at?)
Of course, NOTHING beats a student visit on the picket line. I’m not ashamed to say that we have the best students at my school!
Have a look at all our visits!