Teachers Marching

A friend re-posted the letter below from a colleague who marched yesterday (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-teachers-union-rally-0524-20120524,0,473624.story).  While they were marching, I was teaching a class of first-second-and-third year teachers who wanted to talk about the teacher burnout they see all around them — and, already, inside themselves.  They attributed burnout to two chief factors: 1) not being able to teach, to engage with students in the joys of learning, because of the scylla and charybdis of the under-resourced classroom: the stresses of home and neighborhood and the pressures of the tests; and 2) widespread public disrespect for the profession.   It was a painful conversation, but the teachers have a clearer view of what is going on than what I usually encounter in beginning teachers.  This clarity has the potential to lead to real unanimity of purpose — and unimaginable power — amongst teachers.

from Dave Stieber (TEAM Englewood)

I just wrote this and submitted it to multiple newspapers. This rally was super inspiring!
Why I Marched
I marched today along with over 5,500 CPS Teachers and Staff because we are tired of being disrespected by people who are not educators. We the educators, the people who work with students, work with parents, and are invested in our school’s communities, know what will work for our students.
We marched to show that our schools are not failing; it’s the policies that are failing the students. I marched because we care so much about the students that we realize if we don’t march and come together now, the privatized educational system that is being proposed by the current administration will cause irreparable harm to our students, schools, communities, and our careers.
We do not want to march. We want to teach. We do not want to strike. We want to teach. We do not want to be forced to implement the newest, latest, ineffective and untested educational policy. We want to teach.
In the course of caring about our students, we have to care about ourselves. We have to care about the policies that we are asked to implement. We have to care about our compensation as educators. We have to care about full rich curriculums. We have to care about schools with counselors, librarians, psychologists, and social workers. We want to teach in a school system that values and respects every child, no matter where they live. We want to teach, but until we are allowed to teach and feel that our students best interests are at heart WE WILL MARCH.
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