Looking at pictures from the rally, I noticed something very unsettling. I saw a preponderance of older teachers and a handful of young ones. Many of the older teachers are retiring this year or in the very near future and still took the time to come, to show support and to fight for what is right. The young ones, the ones with careers ahead of them couldn't be bothered taking time away from their busy weekends. Several used the excuse of being on early session, making hanging around until 4:00 PM a hardship. (Most of the senior teachers around are on early session.) Another was heard saying only the weak need protection. I can't believe an educated individual has closed her eyes to what is happening, not only in New York City, but around the country. Still others had the attitude of why bother, nothing ever changes. I'm glad these people weren't around when I began teaching. I'm not one to talk about the "good old days" but in those days, we stood up for ourselves. We risked jail, job loss and suffered financial penalties when we went on strike in the late 60's and early 70's. If it wasn't for teachers like us, these young teachers would not be making the money they are making today.
I heard one teacher complaining about everyone who voted for the 2005 contract, the one that gave up all our rights and he blamed the old timers, the ones near retirement who just saw dollar signs. He is partially right about that but I know many senior teachers who voted no, unwilling to sell out for a few bucks. I remember a whole group of young ones (he was part of this group) who didn't even know the contract was being voted on and didn't vote.
I hope all of you who didn't bother to show up enjoyed your afternoon naps, or your happy hours, or whatever else you do on a Friday afternoon that couldn't be postponed for an hour. Don't come crying to me when it is your job on the line or when your class has 50 students in it. I paid my dues and I will be home reaping the rewards of the work I did for over 35 years.