Parents have a right to know what's really at stake, the issues that could cause a further decline in the teaching profession's reputation and resources as political leaders attempt to pay off their debts through cuts to education. These negotiations are about the fact that teachers matter, and the way they're treated matters too.
Teachers should ideally be called into this profession -- a calling of the heart. One that serves to inspire, motivate, encourage and arouse within young people the seed for greatness. Teachers talk about choosing this profession because we want to make a difference in someone's life. We want to be known as the catalyst for someone elses' greatness. We believe that we truly are the wind beneath our students' wings. We even desire to see our students surpass our wildest expectations.
As much as I am passionate about what I teach, I am more passionate about the people I teach. I am more interested that they are content and happy -- that they are not under undue duress or strain; what is the point of spouting out facts and figures, as important as they might be, if the students' heart is not in it? If their belly is empty?
Many of us feel that the only way we have left to show our displeasure is to withhold the work that we normally do for free. Are you willing to do the same amount of work for 10 per cent less pay? How about 20 per cent less, 25 per cent less, 35, 50? When would your dignity and self-respect kick in and make you say "just hang on a minute. I'm a trained professional, and I don't work for free."
Our children are not being put first; they are being cheated. If we care about the public good, teachers must be respected and compensated fairly to attract the best and brightest. With the decimation of school board budgets, parents who can afford to do so may pull their kids out of the public system.