Friday, 11 July 2014

Teachers shouldn't have the right to strike.....

....or so says some mother according to the radio yesterday morning. 
Returning from dropping Hubby off at work yesterday morning I was listening to the news headlines purely because I was being too lazy to turn the radio channel over.  The one person who reads this blog regularly may know that I don't really like listening to the news as it annoys or upsets me (if she read it yesterday when I was having a rant) and yesterday's news was no exception.
Yesterday some of the public services were striking for a pay rise (any would do as we haven't had one for 3 out of 4 years and by pay rise I mean more than 1% which is way below the rate of inflation), to stop the erosion of the pension they work damn hard for, better work conditions etc etc.  Among them was the Government Department I work for and our eucation system.
Now I am not a teacher and have never been one primarily because they have to teach people like me when I was a kid and I was pretty good compared to many at that time.  Nowadays society norms have dictated that our children can get away with more and more bad behaviour without punishment.  By punishment I mean almost anything that constitutes more than a stern word.  In fact, suspension or even expulsion from school is considered to be something to be proud of these days.
As more and more people have been unable to find work and dare I say some quarters do not feel the need to work we find our children can and do sometimes grow up with those same values.  Little excuse, therefore, for the children to want to learn or have any respect for those wonderful people in our society who do want to stand in a room full of 30 or more of our kids and try to teach them not only the syllabus but also moral standards.
I have always said that teaching is a vocation; if you go into teaching for a just a wage you risk learning to eventually hate going to work.  I believe you have to love the work and more so, love making a difference even if it is just to one child.  That is not me and I more than admire anyone who wants to take such a hard and sometimes unthankful role in life as a career.
I get annoyed, therefore, when I hear people saying that teachers should not have the right to strike.  For a start; everyone should have a right to strike.  Like me, most of us cannot afford to but that is besides the point.  Without the recourse to strike what power does the workforce have? And trust me I am using the word 'power' in the loosest of terms.
Today a mother spoke to a local radio station explaining that she radio felt that she shouldn't be in a postion where she has to look after her child at home when they should be in school and her comment '...if they don't like the wage they should not have taken the job' had me ranting at the radio, you know, because she could obviously hear me telling her what a narrow minded individual I thought she was.
Now before anyone berates me for calling them narrow minded I am not using that as a blanket term for all that feel that teachers should not be allowed to strike, of course I am not.  Merely, that this woman was annoyed that she had to look after her child for more than 2 days a week.  She did not seem to have any understanding that it is her role to look after the child she gave birth to and that eachers are more than underpaid for the job they do let alone the difference they can and do make to an individuals life as well as societies. 
Without teachers we would be in a state of anarchy, we would not have most of the technicological, medical and all sorts of other ...ical advancements we do in most of the world.  Our children would not have been motivated to investigate and motivate, to want to strive to be better people, to be useful membera of society and all sorts of other wonderful things.  Yes, as parents we do a lot of that but teachers support us in teaching our children those morals and I don't know about you but I may have a more than average IQ but there is so much that I could not teach my child that I have relied on teachers to do.
Personally, I do not think our school system has enough powers to reprimand our children and I do think that as a society we are making teachers roles in helping to bring our children up more and more difficult.  And here is where I sound old:  25 years ago I would not have dared to speak to any of my teachers the way that children do now; I would not have dared to get to the stage where the school had to contact my parents about my behavioiur; I wanted to be a productive member of society when I grew up; the idea of not working as an adult was completely alien to me; I believed and still believe that you have to work for your money; I wanted to make my parents proud of my achievements; I was brought up to and did respect my teachers and even then I knew what they did for me and every other child was invaluable.  I also had enough respect for my parents to not want to disappoint them and I dare to think that a lot of parental powers have been stripped away too in the last 25 years.  Without the ability to discipline from both teachers and parents then what do the children of today have to be scared of?
I, unlike teachers, do not have to go to work and gain the respect of children so that they not only sit quietly but want to listen and learn from what I say; I do not have to put up with foul mouthed language, violence, disrespect, and some parents that are as abusive as their children, etc.  I know that if I had to cope with that each day that it would wear me down and chip away at my spirit and that eventually I would hate my job.  It takes a special person and one with a vocation to teach to be able to cope with what can be 5 difficult days out of 7.
Therefore, when someone says to me that a person should not have a right to strike because they have to take a day off to look after their own child while that teacher exercises their right my response is that if you only wanted to look after your child for two days a week then maybe you shouldn't have had children in the first place!  Those teachers provide us parents with a gift - the gift of knowledge and I would defy many people in society to be able to impart the same level of knowledge to their child.  Our role as parents is also to support the teachers in teaching our young.  If wages continue to stay as they are in the teaching arena it becomes harder to attract teachers, let alone good quality ones - then where will our children be?  Where will society be?
Rant over and I will say flippantly - this is why I do not listen to the news often....

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