Saturday, September 12, 2009

strange week

This week has had its share of strangeness.
Tuesday was the board meeting where all of the teacher were supposed to go and show our support for the union and stand up against the unfair decision that the school board was going to make to cut our pay by 8%. There were about 150 people at the meeting, wearing orange (orange = organize) and during the day, the district office and union people had been in negotiations for the new contract. They do this every time we come to a stalemate and every time they come to a last minute agreement because they know that we mean business and come up with some kind of plan to make everyone happy (or at least keep us from striking)
Well, I saw the union president right before we went into the meeting and I asked her if they had come to some kind of agreement. She told me no, they didn't reach an agreement this time. She was going to make an announcement, but they had not reached an agreement. I was very surprised.
I asked again, if they had come closer to agreeing and the lady standing behind her said they had not even come close to an agreement and that nothing was decided during the 9 hours of negotiations that day.
So, we all filed into the board meeting and signed in on the roster.
The first thing that the school board president said after the opening of the meeting was that after a long day of negotiations the two sides had come to a tenative agreement.
I was so mad that two people from the union lied to my face just moments before. They had agreed and signed a tenative agreement. They were just mad because they didn't get everything they wanted in the agreement.
So, they wouldn't tell us what the agreement was until a few days later and the next day was my son's back to school night.
At his Back to School night, there were about 10 teachers out passing out fliers saying how unfair the district was being and letting parents know that they are not happy with the offer the district made. At this time, we have no idea what the offer is. One of the ladies who lied to me tried to give me a paper and my son says, 'let's run'. So, we ran past her and into the school.
His open house was great. His teacher was very professional, upbeat and excited for the school year. The parents were excited and offered to help in the classroom. All of the class sizes have increased this year and there are now 28 kids in the kindergarten classes instead of 20 so the parents are offering to come in and help the teachers out. I was really encouraged to see the parents offer to buy supplies and volunteer to help out and left really excited for a great year for my son.
On the way out, all of the protesting teachers had left. But my son gets this great idea to run back to the car. We had to park about 3 blocks away.
As we are jogging, I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk and fell. I did a super tripple spin on the way down and landed in the gutter that was full of water. I rolled completely over and just wanted to lay there and cry. But I couldn't because there were people behind me on the sidewalk and I was so embarassed! I got up and started to run. My little guy says, "Run, Mommy, Run!" I felt a bit like Forest Gump and probably looked a lot like him too. My pants were soaking wet and I'm running 2 blocks to get back to my car, laughing and crying the whole way.
Well, the next day I woke up with a sore knee, hip, shoulder and neck. My neck still hurts today. Feels just like whiplash from when I had the car accident about a year and a half ago! Crazy!!! Let's just see if I ever run again :)
So, we had a meeting on Thursday to find out the details of this tenative agreement and the union people are telling us not to vote for it. Of course, the president gets in trouble for doing this by the district lawyer. He says that she signed the contract saying she will present it in good faith. She says she felt she had to sign it or they would have imposed it on us.
I just wish there was a way out of the union. Both sides have lied to the teachers and both sides expect us to believe them. When I ask the union people about the lies they are spreading, they say, well the district office started the lies, so it is ok for us to spread lies too. They know that the information they are giving out are lies, but they justify them by saying they have to lie because the district lies too. Unbeilevable.
So, the funniest part of the week was yesterday when my little guy came home from kindergarten. I picked him up yesterday, which is a special treat for him and he was carrying an American flag he made. I asked him why he had the flag and he said that it was because it was a special day. I asked him about it and he said "today is a sad day. Two planes crashed into each other and a lot of people died. Abraham Lincoln went to the movies and got shot. Oh, and Michael Jackson just died."
I have no idea what they talked about in school yesterday, but he put a bunch of stories together to come up with that one.
It reminds me of when I taught first grade. It was during the gulf war and many students had parents deployed. We had sharing time where we passed a small object around the circle. If you were holding the object, you got to talk and share your ideas about the topic. Well, this time the object was a small stone. The topic of conversation was Iraq and the war. So, the first kid says his dad is in Iraq and is flying a plane. The next kid says he picked up a rock on the way to school. The next kid says he saw a really big rock one time when hiking and the kids kept talking about rocks. I kept thinking, we are talking about Iraq kids, not rocks, but if you say a rock and Iraq quickly, they sound almost the same and to a 6 year old who doesn't know the difference and the object they are holding in their hand is a rock...
Good memories :)


Becky said...

Unions can be voted out. We did it in one hospital I worked at. It takes a lot of work. Too many people thought they were paying too much for the "representation" they were getting. It's really hard to justify increases in salary when so many local governments have such a lower tax base to spread to everyone who needs it, such as the school. Good luck, whichever way you go.

Lori in South Dakota said...

Oh, the story about what your son learned in kindergarten is priceless!

For His Glory said...

So sorry you fell! UGH! Nothing like a good fall...I pray you are healing well...I'll have to be careful if I hug ya at church it sounds :)