THE BLOG

B.C. Teachers' Strike Vote: I Shouldn't Have To Make This Choice

06/06/2014 11:33 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 01:03 EDT
Getty

You know that clichéd rock and hard place? You know that place I'm talking about. It's where people always seem to get stuck when they need to choose between two equally unappealing options.

Anyway, I always pictured the rock and the hard place vertically, with the poor, indecisive sod stuck in the middle. I envisioned the confused person just standing there -- hanging-out, really -- unable to move, waiting for one of those heavy, uncomfortable objects to eventually give way.

But now I know that that rock and that hard place aren't vertical. They're horizontal. And I'm the poor sucker between them, not just held in place, but actually being crushed between the weight of a rock and the unmoving nature of a hard place.

Basically, I'm trapped.

And the worst part? Those unmoving masses are my own morals, values, and hopes for the future.

I'm pinned in place by emotion on one side and reason on the other, by the individuals I know and the faceless collective. I'm being crushed by the weight of the need versus sacrifice, and of the immediate versus the extended future.

I lose no matter which side gives first. Kids lose no matter which side gives first.

And this crushes me.

I'm being asked to choose between the students that I currently have, and those I will have in years to come. How do I decide whose education is more important?

Worse, it's a choice I shouldn't even have to make.

The Supreme Court of B.C. has twice said that teachers must be allowed to negotiate class size and composition. They in fact ordered that the government restore the previous contract provisions that were eliminated in 2002. But neither of these things has happened. BCPSEA (B.C. Public School Employers' Association) will not move on class size and composition. They will not table any funding to restore what was illegally removed in 2002.

So, I'm being asked to vote on whether to strike in order to show that these things matter to me, when that shouldn't even be a question. They matter to the law. We shouldn't even be having this vote.

But we are. Because we have to. Because it's our last resort.

And I'm stuck under that horrid rock of emotion, bound by financial stress, drained colleagues, and confused kids. This rock is crushing me into a place of hardened reason and resolve, telling me that the government is subject to the rule of law and that they need to abide by it.

I'm stuck.

And I shouldn't even be here.

More blogs on the B.C. teachers' strike: