Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem- stand up June 19, 2014

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 5:27 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Why are teachers even bothering to picket,

when you aren’t getting strike pay any more?”

he asked.

I told him it was because teachers are moralists

who are defending democracy

and fair working & bargaining conditions

against a corrupt government:

A government that ignores the court rulings

spends billions of tax payers’ dollars appealing

judgments by the Supreme Court

and the United Nations saying they

are WRONG to steal from our kids.

It will pay billions for a stadium roof,

but will not pay for educating its children.

I told him that in such a war,

pay is a small thing.

We will fight, because if our government

succeeds in destroying OUR union

then every other working person in this province

is in peril.

If OUR contracts can be shredded with impunity,

so can YOURS!

We are fighting for YOUR rights

and for our students’ right to a properly funded education

against a government with an agenda

to destroy public education and the middle class.

We’re fighting for YOU! I told him.

“Oh,” he said.

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24 Responses to “poem- stand up”

  1. Tom Schultz Says:

    I confess that I am biased in your favor. My father was a teacher, who began his career in Michigan in the early 1950s. He was a charter member of the local Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO) when it was tiny. They had to hold their union meetings clandestinely in those days. All public sector unions are under the gun in the U.S. now. Detroit is the front line.

    • Our government astonishes me with the blatant misinformation they are spreading, as they try to bamboozle the public. They misrepresent the issues and lie outright about their offer and what it means. It is so frustrating to know that these crooks who steal from children, were actually voted into power.

  2. brouhaha Says:

    Inspiring 🙂 I would like to become a te4acher one day.

  3. Amen, honey. I loved this, and I support good teachers in every avenue. Education is of inestimable worth, and it’s a sovereign’s ransom that this country’s government is flushing down the toilet with its ineffectual programs, insane spending on needless frills, and curriculum that ignores the most necessary lesson: how to learn, not what to think.

  4. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    BRAVO.

  5. We have the same problem in our country. Our public school system here has deteriorated over the years.

    • We have done so much with less and less, we are among the best systems in the world, but our government seems very determined to destroy it.

      • Your system is actually our model in our country, that’s how great you guys are. But I think we’re facing the same problems — an apathetic public and corrupt politicians.

      • My school is a vanguard school with incredibly innovative approaches that bring educators from all over our province to see what we’re doing. I wish our government would quit throwing money at court cases they’ve lost twice (tearing up our legal contract) and put that money into the schools.

  6. 3RueSleidan Says:

    Reblogged this on La Vue de rue Sleidan and commented:
    We can fight for education, but until the public really wants it, we will get nowhere. I am a former teacher myself. I was a damn good one, too; but the lackluster system drove me elsewhere into a new profession. When something is free, people perceive it as not too valuable. We are “paying” for education through taxes, of course, but no one really gets the connection these days since so many don’t even pay taxes. And they are not educated enough to understand how the system works. We still have a long way to go to motivate our citizens to give up their TV reality shows and read Dickens or Balzac instead!

    • Part of the issue is that everyone thinks they understand what school is, because they’ve been to school. They don’t appreciate that their experience was only the tip of the iceberg of the education system, nor do they understand how much the demands on the class room teacher have changed since they were in school.

  7. Barbie Beaton Says:

    I hate to read of injustices served to education. Our school district is a top-down administration, patting themselves on the back for every so-called success. Meanwhile, students in need (those on both ends of the intelligence spectrum) suffer from lack of teachers, time, and support. Kills me!

  8. Reblogged this on Teacher as Transformer and commented:
    Several years ago the school board I worked for locked us out. I have empathy for what teachers in other jurisdictions are going through as we spent a month locked out. We were fine. Kathy worked and we have few bills, but many others were set back by the actions which amounted to non-momentary issues i.e. class size, working conditions, and being treated as professionals. One of the underlying issues is our schools have become too large and resemble factories rather than institutions where teachers and students gather in community. There is a distancing in the very relationship that is vital to children’s education as opposed to their schooling. When I went to school, schools were embedded in the community. Today, sadly they are separate with economic and political agendas that do not meet the needs of local communities.

    • YES! In our case, size of the building is not an issue (though it likely is in Vancouver). Our very small and innovative school (150 kids grade 8-12) is very much part of our community, and many of our staff were raised in this small town. On the other hand, adequate funding for the 25% of our population with special learning needs is a huge issue for us. It’s one of the highest averages in the province. Meeting their needs in school is crucial to their long-term success.

  9. I don’t necessarily agree, but I love your passionate expression and principled viewpoint

  10. Shawn constantly stand up, they will walk over you if you don’t, we pay their wages but do nothing for us…and they make it hard enough with laws that we cannot fire them or go after them for their misuse of assets/monies! Wonderful message in your words…God bless!

  11. schn00dles Says:

    He kinda went down without a fight.

  12. Shawn, as a former, 20-year elementary (k-6) grade teacher in the US, I’ve never understood the lack of walking the talk. It’s all well and good to say, “children are our future.” But when dedicated teachers make less than the equivalent of kids working at fast food restaurants based on the hours they put in, something is seriously awry with the educational system.

    No one understands what it’s like unless they’ve been in the trenches – 28-35 kids in a classroom, 10-12 hours a day setting up, teaching, grading papers, cleaning up; it’s no wonder so many of the good ones burn out. It’s a sad situation all around.

    I began my career able to love, hug, encourage and make a difference with my wide-ability range of students and looked forward to class every day. I ended it discouraged, having to focus on administrative demands and testing, unable to touch my students for fear of lawsuits, constantly stuck between principal and parents, and looking forward to the end of every day. That, in my opinion, is not what teaching is about.

    Keep the faith.


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