Thursday, August 28, 2003

Imshin making things worse by trying to explain
Okay, so I was rather over the line when attacking Israeli teachers yesterday. I tend to see red when teacher-striking time comes around. At this point in time I couldn’t care less how justified their demands are, I'm so fed up. Since Eldest started state kindergarten nine years ago we have been repeatedly tortured by the teachers at every opportunity. They threaten to strike every few months and they actually strike once or twice a year. My situation is such that now its far less difficult for me to get organized than when the girls were smaller, but these strikes continue to infuriate me.

The Shaister has some good things to say in reaction to what I had to say, and I actually quite agree with most of it. So I apologize to all those teachers, used to be teachers, married to teachers and want to be teachers (??!) out there who took offense (those of you who didn't send me hate-mail, anyway). Yes, Shai, I do think you could say we're the kind of parents and kids that teachers like. We respect the authority of the school and the teachers and do not think we know how to do it better; we do not ring up to complain every night; we do not threaten with lawsuits (We had such a mother in Eldest's class at one point, believe it or not); and we contribute quite a lot to class and school projects, without trying to take over and run things. This is maybe one of the reasons I feel hurt every year, or should I say three or four times a year, when the Teacher Association flippantly takes advantage of its power.

I believe that people being able to strike is not just a right. It also gives them a responsibility. That responsibility is to be aware of the price other people have to pay for their striking and take into account. Mothers not fortunate enough to be teachers could lose their jobs as a result. Other mothers could (and do) find it harder and harder to get jobs at all. Yes, teachers have it tough. I'm not being cynical, I couldn't be a teacher. But at least they have jobs, good, steady ones. A lot of people can't say that these days. The pay may not be great, but a lot of people work far harder and get paid less. And they wouldn't dare behave like the teachers, because they know they'd find themselves out on the street. Maybe the teachers should be a bit more grateful for what they do have.

It just so happens that this time around it really was a case of the little boy crying wolf. The strike is off. The teachers now reckon they have a case for the High Court of Appeals with regard to the pay cut that some of them are facing. They apparently couldn't check this out before they started threatening and needlessly worrying parents. It has become such automatic behavior for them, it seems first they threaten with a strike and then they check the facts. Very educational. Or is it "Do as I say, not as I do"?

Maybe they're just weaseling out.