If you live in Chicago, a surrounding suburb, or pretty much anywhere other than under a rock, then you've probably heard about the recent Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teacher strike.
I may be biased, considering I'm the daughter of a Chicago teacher and I'm a CPS alum, but what really caught my attention on social media this week as teachers continue to strike was the pure ignorance of people that have no business speaking on this topic. More nurses, more social workers, and smaller classroom sizes are among some of the requests made from teachers, not just "more pay."
Yet somehow, all that the critics seem to hear is that teachers are doing this for the money.
Ironically enough, teachers are not actually paid during a strike (see: my overdue college tuition bill). Not only did this show me that countless people lack the ability or knowledge to research a topic before ranting on Facebook about it, but it also showed me that general compassion may be dying. While there are many supporters of CPS employees, the critics seem careless about the fact that many of these teachers have families and just want a fair work environment. Maybe if they had the courage to fight for what they believed in, they wouldn't be throwing (illiterate) shade at educators.
Below are some of the negative comments that I've seen under posts on updates of the strike:
Regardless if it is a joke or not, to say that teachers should get fired for standing up for students is honestly disgusting.
Yes, there are many others who would gladly accept their positions, but once they got a taste of the education field, they would most likely not last. Additionally, this situation should not be used as a comparison to the inequalities in other job fields. No two professions are the same, so to compare a matter where children's futures are at stake to a completely different field, such as the police force, is unethical. Every job is valuable in its own way, but don't take away what these teachers are doing because of your own selfish interests. What goes on in a classroom is something that many people take for granted.
What these people don't realize is that teachers are not just teachers. They are therapists, advocates, referees, and so much more.
It takes patience and compassion to do what they do, qualities that seem to be seen in fewer people nowadays. For some kids, school is the only place where they get the attention and resources that they truly deserve.
Teachers wear so many different hats, only to be called "overpaid babysitters" by people who clearly lack the intelligence and maturity to know what they are really fighting and working so hard for. Their lesson plans are not created by magical fairies who fill in the answer keys- they actually write them themselves. There are so many things that happen behind-the-scenes that go into educating today's youth, so if you can't be supportive, be quiet.
This is a broken system that can only get better if the ones who are keeping it alive take action.