I pulled onto campus this morning to see a host of peers protesting layoffs, budget cuts and program slashing. Somehow, I missed the memo saying they’d be gathering but my heart dropped to the floor when I saw some of my closest friends on the “picket line” imploring the people of the community to demand that our schools do not get cast into an abyss from which it will be spectacularly hard to return.
Damn, it’s hard.
It’s hard for the teachers who got pink slips. It’s hard for the teachers (like myself) who did not get pink slips but know in their hearts that losing good people when you are in a battle like all of us are for the hearts and minds of the next generation is a deep, traumatic wound. It’s hard for the district administrators, too, who have to make supremely hard choices about where to slash, where to cut and where to forge ahead. (Goodness knows, I do not envy anyone having to make these tough choices… when you are forced to cut so deeply, nobody wins. That seems quite obvious.)
It’s getting ugly out there and the fact is, at the end of the day, lots of people are going to suffer. (Ultimately, no one more so than our students, though.) I want to more vocally advocate for the idea that we need to figure out a way for all of us to join together and NOT fall victim to the finger pointing, blame, hurt and hate that is so very much right at everyone’s fingertips right now, but when you didn’t just find out you lost your job, it’s easy to say because you don’t have to go home facing the prospects of unemployment. Truly, I don’t have credibility on that front.
Not being pink-slipped almost has me feeling survivor’s guilt — which makes it tough to do my work today. Really, just when you think the madness can’t get worse, it does.
We must find a way to fight through this. And I am sure we will. But it ain’t gonna be pretty.