Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Another Day Another Strike

Working from home on a school day.
The teachers' strike yesterday passed without any fuss after the initial will they won't they and waiting for the news in the morning. I wasn't inconvenienced at all because I can work from home on a Tuesday morning. I know others were greatly affected by not knowing until the last minute and then having to deal with their own morning work commitments.

Today brought us another strike which has affected me. The buses are not running for 24 hours from 5 am this morning until 5 am tomorrow morning. It has been threatening all week but it was finally announced last night that no agreement with the workers' union had been made.

The school where I teach on Wednesdays is a 40 minute bus ride (25 minutes by car taking a direct route) so it's too far to walk. We got an email from the deputy head about shared taxi's but I didn't understand how it worked as it was a lot of Hebrew and the link took me to a Google site inviting me to create a new page. I also wanted to take my daughter into school this morning rather than letting her walk herself to school in case there were no staff there.

So after a late start anyway I called a teacher who lives nearby and asked her if she was driving in to school. She had to drive her husband to work in the other direction after taking her son to nursery - late as his childminder was delayed by the lack of buses - and only then would she be making her way to school. And who knows what her arrangements for coming home are. I didn't want to risk being stuck without a ride home.

I texted that I wasn't coming in today. I got a message back that there is no permission to miss a day because of the bus strike. I texted that it's too far to walk. The message came back: We all used shared taxis, I sent you an email about it last night. Me: I didn't understand how it worked. I'll see you tomorrow.

Here's the thing about my school. I hate it in the winter (December/January/February) because some lessons I have to teach in a bomb shelter with broken windows where the heater goes off for an hour every other hour. The other lessons I have small groups and we have to it in the foyer by the front door and it's freezing. So for three days a week for three months a year I sit freezing in my coat for the whole day, apart from break times in the cosy, heated teachers' room.

There are a lot of good things about my school - a philosophy of inclusion, small groups and plenty of pastoral care when needed in the not so affluent surrounding community. The flip side is that small groups and less money means teaching in any drafty corner you can find.

So I admit that I'm ecstatic when there is an excuse not to go in and be uncomfortable all day in the deep mid-winter. I admit that I made very little effort to get to school today. On the other hand, the deputy head lives two streets away from me and she didn't call to offer me a ride or to share a taxi.

I'm cool. The worst they can do is fire me.

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