It’s the eve of the second Chicago’s teachers strike in 4 years, and I’m preparing, as are so many other teachers.
If there’s a strike, I’ll be on the picket line tomorrow morning, just like I was back in April. I’ll be picketing for all the reasons I wrote about last December, and for the reasons that others, such as David Steiber and Ray Salazar, have outlined. And I hope that there’s a reasonable resolution, one that doesn’t try for quick fixes but rather thinks about the long term.
I’m not making picket signs, but I’m in my classroom (on a day off), making sure that things are ready for whenever we get back. Making sure that the lab is cleaned up, that the copies are made and lesson plans are ready to go. Because I don’t know if this strike will happen at all (there could be a last-minute agreement tonight), or if it will last one day, two days, a week, more (I hope not). I spent last week discussing with coworkers what the plans were for our classes- if there’s not a strike, if there’s a short strike, if there’s a long strike. My friend who teaches AP Physics spent most of last week frantically putting together a strike packet for her students, because the AP tests don’t move back just because we go on strike.
So even as we prepare to strike to improve conditions in Chicago Public Schools, teachers are not forgetting that this is going to be disruptive to learning, and we’re doing what we can to make it as least disruptive as possible. It’s not a vacation, it’s not relaxing, and it’s a lot of work to prepare for a handful of different scenarios without knowing which one is going to pan out. But we do this work, every day, even in the midst of ever-changing circumstances, to do the best by our students. And so I’m preparing.