Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Life During the Teacher's Strike

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The fact that the Seattle Public School teachers are on strike is very surreal to me. I've heard of strikes before, but I've never truly experienced one. It's never been something that has affected me before, especially since South Carolina, where I've lived most of my life, is a non-union state.

Since moving to Washington, I've realized that strikes really aren't that rare. Although, most of the time, life pretty much goes on as normal.

The teachers strike; however, is hitting us right at home.

I've previously covered the details of the strike and what each side is fighting for so I won't retell that, please see my post "The First Day of School...But Not Quite Yet" for that information.

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Zoey was supposed to start school on Wednesday, September 9. Today would have been her 5th day in school. Instead we are home, trying to enjoy our extended summer.

The problem is this...Zoey was really ready to go back to school. She was all prepared with her new school supplies stuffed into an Elsa backpack. She was ready to see her new classroom and her teacher. Most of all she was ready to see her friends again. I believe that is what she is missing the most.

I am trying to keep my anxiety as low as possible as we go through the days of unknown. The last time the teachers went on strike it took three weeks to get the issues resolved. That is a long time. Negotiations are proceeding, but things seem to be moving slowly. Only time will tell whether the latest agreement will move forward to allow the 53,000 kids to get into the classrooms for the 2015-2016 school year.

A little peek into our mornings lately. I used to do preschool activities like this with Zoey and now she wants to do first grade activities. It has been quite a fun adventure, though I know she will be glad to go to school.

I was all geared up for Zoey to go back to school as well. I was ready with all of my notes and tentative itinerary to get some serious writing done and new routines created. It feels like life just went on pause. It has been challenging balancing everyone's needs and making plans because our information is day to day.

I fully support what the teachers are fighting for, so we are making the best of our time. We're doing a few school lessons at home during this time, including writing in her journal, reading and completing activities in her 1st grade workbook. Seeing her eyes light up over learning and writing again let me know how excited she is about school. It warms my heart that she loves it, not only the social aspect, but also the academics.

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This is at Zoey's school, Lowell Elementary

In light of the strike, I am very thankful that our family has the flexibility so that Zoey can be home and that we do not have to find child care options. Since I went down to part time recently (a decision that keeps proving to be the absolute right choice), Stephen and I are able to easily tag team throughout the week so that one of us will be home and the other still gets all the work needed done in the week. I can not imagine the anxiety level I would have if we had to worry about that aspect of this strike like so many of the parents must.

At the end of it all, I am thankful to live in a place that will fight for our children and also what they need to fulfill their own needs. It is a struggle, but one well worth it. I know for one thing, I will not be taking school for granted, ever.

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