I had plenty of opportunities to become a public school teacher. I took a pass. From 1975 right up to this Sunday Mass, I thank God I did not.
I know hundreds of public school teachers, union members all; nevertheless, many are great people who teach kids with authority, great kindness and limitless patience. Their patience is shredded by the bureaucracy for which they labor, be it Grayslake District # 127 or Chicago Public Schools and the Teachers Union to which they must belong as a legislated condition of employment.
In the words of my salty-tongued departed Dad, they are "between a $hit and a Sneeze."
That's the nature of Public Education.
My neighbors in Chicago Public Schools are taxed with goofy policy that in no way has anything to do with academics and labor fakirs playing with their paychecks and working conditions. They love teaching and universally despise CPS and CTU. It's a paycheck.
I predict that the Strike will be used to arm-twist Rahm "Mayor Coon-Eyes" Emanuel with Karen "Big Tuna" Lewis threatening to withhold an endorsement of Obama 2012 and a ubsequent cave-in by Rahm, Jean Claude and all sundry at CPS. Huzzah! It's all about the $$$$$$$$$$$ and political hoopla.
I get a paycheck and love going to work everyday. I never work a day. In fact I rarely use the word work with reference to my vocation. I go to school. That is the difference between teaching in public education and a Catholic School. I learn as well as impart the little that I know.
Yesterday, I took my love to the Soul Bowl ( Hales v. Leo) on the site of Chicago's oldest college - St. Xavier College(University) - the one that Obama's White House declared no longer a religious insititution. One building remains from that old Sisters of Mercy college for women on the west side of the Hales Franciscan Campus -just beyond the athletic field. It was a very long day for Leo High School - our JV Team lost 24-12 and our Varisty bowed to Hales 20-12. Hales Franciscan is celebrating its 50th Anniversary as a Catholic prep school for African American young men and no better way to do so than besting Mighty Lions.
The elegant and lovely young woman with whom I spend my quality time has as much interest in athletics as I would exploring the history and influence of scent -parfumare (through smoke in Latin). However, this opportunity to stand behind the Leo bench and take in the sights and scents of young manhood in energetic combat with opportunity she found enchanting.
MS. S met the Canaryvillains and Bronzevillains, whom I transport to Leo each morning and witnessed their athletic heroics that fell short of victory. Skinny little tough guys like Brian, Mitch and BK and brawny stawarts like Tommy and the gargantuan Daylon. BK weighs as much as one of the cheeks of my rump and by dint of courage attention to detail was 'going both ways', recovered two fumbles and made several tackles during crucial downs. Little Mitch confounded receivers and pushed the play to the sidelines. Brian weighs less than BK and Mitch and is a wide receiver who snagged several hard fired pigskins from the clutches of two Hales deep-cover agents.
Big Daylon was felled by an ankle injury in the second half and his loss to the offensive line is reflected in the final score. Hales is a quality program and like Leo and every Catholic school in Chicago will not go on strike.
The motto of Leo High School is Facta Non Verba -Deeds Not Words. That seems the universal motto of Catholic and private schools as well. Picket signs are not needed to tell the cameras and the media that its is "About the Children." That is a given.
" We will pay you $ 21,000. . . " You will like hell, Adios Father! Good luck filling the spot.
Since 1975, I taught at Bishop McNamara ( '75-88), La Lumiere School ( '88-94), Bishop Noll Institute('94-95) and Leo High School ( 1995-Present) and parted fair-friends and remain most happy.
Nope I chose to take my resume to Catholic teaching, because I am a Catholic and because I find slogans and memes tiresome. The John Dewey public education doctrine that replaced Truth with Inquiry has always seemed educational poison to me. I am a professional. Never been fired. Teaching is my trade and my vocation. Ms. S saw some of the handiwork in the eager, frustrated, baggage-burdened, financially challenged faces of the young men in hard combat on a football field. She noted the respect and genuine affection each student athlete reflected on their coaches, teachers and administrators. More so, she was over-whelmed by the presence and beefy tactile of the recent graduates who thickened the sidelines. These guys ( Akim, T.O., Steve - all playing college football) hug hard and mean it even though they had endured and understood the ass-chewings and character remonstrances meted out by us greybeards over the previous four years.
"They really love you guys ( Mike Holmes, Noah Cannon, Dan McGrath, Pete Doyle and even me). You are so lucky to do what you love. It must be great to work at Leo." Or any Catholic School, really. If the pay is too low, exit smiling.
We do not work, we go to school.