Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I am a math teacher.
I teach in a public school.
I am a union member.
All of these things are good things, at least in my opinion. I realize that some people think otherwise. First of all, math is clearly an unpopular subject, despite its beauty and utility. When you admit to being a math teacher to a stranger, prepare to hear, “Oh, I could never do math” or “Math was my worst subject in school.” You will surely die of asphyxiation if you hold your breath waiting for the first person to say, “Math was my favorite subject!” They are few and far between.
Then there are those people who snidely refer to “government schools” when speaking of public educational institutions, as if they are somehow inherently inferior to private or sectarian schools. Actually, when you allow for our non-selective open-admission policies, we do pretty well. Our best students are as good as any you'll find anywhere else. Our worst have no counterparts at the private schools because they were never allowed in in the first place—but we do the best we can to help them anyway.
And the people who say “government schools” don't seem especially to mind driving on “government roads” or eating “government approved” food or drinking “government filtered” water.
Finally, of course, there's that business about union rapacity and the efforts of union members to destroy our way of life...
Excuse me? What folks so fondly imagine as “our way of life” is a union product. Really!
Look for the union label, idiots!
The forty-hour work week? Paid vacations? Who invented those? Not the robber barons. Not the corporate executives. Civilized work hours and reasonable recreation periods are the result of union efforts and collective bargaining.
Want to go back to the “good old days” before unions? Good luck! Planning to take your kids with you and put them to work to support you? (Those child-labor laws are so restrictive! Five-year-olds used to be really useful in those factories!)
Sometimes I get snarky comments from acquaintances (seldom from friends, since I avoid making friends with idiots) who whine about the cushy jobs that teachers have. They tend to focus on things like summer vacation (we don't get paid for summer months, you know) and supposedly short hours (as if we're off the clock when our in-class hours are done). They look at a fifteen-unit load and express amazement that we work “only” fifteen hours per week. (Like I said: idiots.) They have no clue at all.
When they tell me I get too much time off, I tell them they get too little. Get a union, I suggest.
Of course, a lot of us still have to work during those summer “vacations” to make ends meet. Perhaps our rapacious union reps didn't extract as many concessions as the uninformed segment of the public thinks. Time to take to the streets again!
See more at Why Teachers Like Me Support Unions! Thanks to Steve Lazar for kicking this off.