Disclaimer: all opinions held in this article are of the author, and do not reflect HCYU’s.
It is no secret that the numerous school strikes have taken a toll on the teachers. With constant days off from school and having to fight for budget cuts and smaller classroom sizes, the teachers are put under immense amounts of pressure. However, what no one seems to be considering during this stressful time are the students. These students are being sent home, forced to stay at home, not getting a proper education and having their curriculum rushed.
Personally, being a tutor for children has allowed me to see the students’ experiences firsthand. It is no secret that children are being asked to stay at home for a majority of the school week. Furthermore, parents are struggling. Parents who work nine-to-five jobs depend on their kids being at school during the day. Their worry of having to find a daycare or a babysitter is an added stress that parents do not need. A few days off from school may not seem like a big deal and it may even be a vacation for some. However, the increasingly large number of strike days are taking a negative toll on their students’ education.
Now looking back to the students, they are still expected to study and to come to class prepared to write tests. However, this becomes much more difficult when they are asked to learn the material for themselves. The uncertainty students are facing in their schools and at home add a great deal of pressure. When children ask their tutors for help on concepts they do not understand, we may try to the best of our ability to help them. However, at the end of the day, it is the teacher who decides how well they do. I have had students come in and tell me that their teacher asked them to learn a concept at home, simply because they did not wish to teach it during these disputes.
If teachers do not wish to teach concepts during a labor dispute (which is their right), students also should not be expected to learn concepts on their own. The education system is just that, educational. Grades decline and students begin to lose focus and interest in school. The labor dispute may be a necessary step, but it is also a step that also affects the students equally, if not more.
This fight between equality and fair pay becomes a fight for the adults. If they claim to be fighting for the students, then the students’ needs and sufferings should also be taken into equal consideration. Fighting for budget cuts and smaller classrooms may seem like the best decision for kids. On the other hand, when it gets played out for months, some think it’s no longer for the kids but a superiority complex for the adults who are involved.