December in Ontario’s K-12 education system has seen 1-day walkout strikes by public school elementary teachers, as well as job action at the secondary level, which has included withdrawal of time and support for extracurricular activities.  The issues, challenges, and politics are not easy to stay informed about.  Many are on edge of what will transpire before the end of December and ahead.

I could easily not care…

As a parent having less than 2 more years to be involved “in the system”, I could easily not care.

As a parent of a high school student who has a number of hobbies and interests outside of school, I could easily not care.  School life has been generally positive so far this year.

In my role teaching adults, I could easily look away.

Because it is holiday time, it would be easy to put aside caring about all this, if not necessary.

Because of tragedy and sadness affecting schools elsewhere in the world, it would be easy not to care about these local issues and care about different ones.

But, I do care.  I think we all have to care about this, in Ontario at least (although other provinces have or are in similar situations).  Even if people don’t believe what teachers are saying about the issues, I think we have to care.  I want to care and understand the why behind what is being said.

Why?  As parents and community members we are all still supporting and participating in a system of education where students spend a lot of time in school and with teachers.  I think we have to care about how they are feeling and what the issues are.  If we care about our youth and our communities, I see no other choice.  Whether we like it or not, education is political.  This can often alienate the very people who should be working together.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the issues and frustrated that we aren’t addressing more important and necessary ones.  Andrew Campbell points to 5 here that need more critical attention, including teacher morale.  It can be hard to make the connection of the relevance of issues to big picture issues and questions.

If I am feeling the way I am, I care about how it must feel for students, teachers, staff, and principals who are so close and ‘in’ it.  I appreciated a subsequent post from Andrew about how he is staying hopeful and sustained as a teacher.

I could decide to care less and/or pay less attention.  That would be easy to do, and maybe even understandable as well – it is easy to feel powerless.  But who gains?  How will I inform my vote for political influence of education then…if it is all I can really do.  Will that make a difference?  I have appreciated following the dialogue as much as I can on Twitter and here since the fall, but I can still feel very uncertain about the way out of the current issues in education.  I will aim to remain hopeful and reflect as to what I can do.