My Picket Line Surprise

Today was our first of three one-day walkout days that we have scheduled in the next two weeks. Being on strike in any form is never easy, even though it can be incredibly important. I continue to think about this tweet that I sent out early this morning before leaving for the picket line.

I missed something in here though.

As I was out walking this morning, I was reminded of some things …Β not to do with education, but to do with striking.

  • Time goes much slower on theΒ picket line.Β Every day in the classroom, I’m surprised by how fast time goes. Usually I feel as though we just head outside, and then it’s over an hour later, and we’re coming in.Β How does this happen?!Β Today though, as my teaching partner, Paula, and I walked and talked with other educators up and down our strip of sidewalk, I made the mistake of checking my watch.Β How had we only been walking for 20 minutes?!Β Striking is the football equivalent of time passage. πŸ™‚
  • My bladder fills a lot faster on a picket line.Β File this under “too much information” if you want, but as educators know, bathroom breaks for adults are a rarity in the school day. But as I walked back and forth and back and forth again, it quickly became apparent that a comfort break would be much appreciated.Β This was also after one less coffee than usual …
  • A little positive reinforcement can go a long way.Β I was pleasantly surprised by the number of honking horns, enthusiastic waves, kind words, baked goods (including three dozen Grandad’s Donuts), and hot beverages (thanks to our amazing EAs for the hot chocolate this morning) being shared with all of us today. These words of encouragement and yummy treats inspired many of us to keep going.Β Keep walking.Β 

Maybe the biggest moment of wonderful for me personally was when one of our parents arrived this morning with his four-year-old daughter (in our class) and his one-year-old daughter (in the daycare). Dad told us that he offered his four-year-old daughter a choice of things that she could do today, and she wanted to come and walk with us. Her desire to carry one of the strike signs even got me holding a sign for a bit, as we walked up and down the sidewalk together. As the dad then had us gather together for a photograph, it was hard not to feel a little teary-eyed. What a great personal reminder about why we’re doing this:Β for the kids!Β 

Thanks to the dad who gave me permission to share this here.

All of a sudden, I started to have a professional view on my learning from above.

  • It’s the students that make our day go quicker.Β It’s our interactions with them that lead me to send out tweets like the one I did the other night …

  • When involved in the play of 28 kindergarten kids, somehow you get so immersed in things that you forget about other requirements … like the need to pee.Β πŸ™‚Β Need I say more?!Β Just listen to one minute of our day. Imagine what the rest is like.

  • This JK child, her dad, and her sister were my biggest “positive reinforcement” for today.Β They left me smiling. They gave me that needed push to keep walking, and somehow, that last 1 1/2 hours of picket duty went a whole lot faster.Β 

A student presence was really felt on the picket line today. While I’ve been on strike before, this is the first time that I’ve seen so many parents and students walking with us. When a couple of Grade 7 students came in the last 45 minutes of our picket duty with a carafe of coffee, three dozen donuts, and requests of, “Would you like a coffee and how do you take it?,” I had to smile. Here are intermediate students driven to get involved and support their teachers.Β Doesn’t this make your heart happy?!Β 

A special thank you to our special four-year-old who made me stop and look at today from a different perspective, and not miss the important small moments that I might have overlooked without her there. Today was about kids. And kids are always worth our fight. What’s driving you on the picket line?Β Talks between the government and ETFO have begun again, and in the midst of this educational unrest, I have to believe that there will be good things to come.


2 thoughts on “My Picket Line Surprise

  1. I came by to see what you’d be reflecting on during a no-school day! Like you, I felt myself getting a bit emotional several times during the day. I know some people walk the picket line because they feel the union is making them, but I feel like so many people believe in the cause right now! The 4 year olds won’t be 4 forever! They need us to make sure they have a fighting chance at getting the supports they need in the best possible environment all the way through their school career.

    On the day when I was walking on the picket line I had a chance to talk to a lot of teachers I don’t even know. It was a good reminder to me that teachers really are interesting people.

    • Thanks for the comment, Lisa! There was definitely a feeling of comraderie on the line, and truly of solidarity. People really seem behind the cause and behind the impact that the cuts can have on kids. Seeing and hearing all of the parents out there today — many with their children — really made me feel supported. You make a great point here: these kids will not be four forever, and we do want what’s best for them now and in the future.

      It’s funny, as I almost blogged about the relationships piece. There are many teachers that I rarely see at school. As someone that doesn’t make it into the staffroom often, and even when I do, not usually for more than about 10 minutes, I can go weeks and barely say “hi” to the vast majority of staff members. Today, I really got to talk to other educators in the building, but also those at different schools. There were people there that I’ve met at inservices, taught with at other times, and connected at through courses. My teaching partner, Paula, also knew some other people there, and I got to meet some new educators thanks to her.

      I would definitely rather be in the classroom than striking, but this is a time when being on the picket line is so very important. Finding these different positives in the midst of a stressful time in education sounds good to me!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *