Teacher strikes have been all over the news lately.  It seems that we have come to a point in history where teachers are fed up with current conditions and ready to take action.  When teachers strike, it affects everyone connected to schools – students, parents, teachers, administrators, and others.  As educators, it is sometimes hard to figure out where our place should be amidst the chaos.  Fortunately, there are many options for us when teachers strike – not simply joining full force (because let’s be honest, that’s not for everyone) or staying out of it completely.  In this post, I’ll lay out some ways to help you decide what role you want to take when teachers strike.

What’s Your End Goal?

First, you need to decide what is your personal goal. This will help you determine how involved to be and in what capacity.  Do you want to ensure that you keep your job, no matter what?  Or do you want to make sure that teachers get a raise and education gets more funding?  Which of those things is more important to you?

Consider the Consequences

Every action – or inaction – has a consequence.  When you are deciding how much to get involved when teachers strike, you need to consider the consequences of each course of action.  For example, if you decide to get very involved and lead a movement at your school or in your district, there may be disciplinary actions taken against you.  On the other hand, if there is a strike going on in your area and you choose not to be involved, the strike may not be successful (if enough teachers choose this path) or other teachers who were involved may criticize you.  Since any path you choose will have some consequence, you need to decide which consequences you can handle.

Choose Your Level of Involvement

So, you have thought about your end goal and determined the consequences of different actions.  Now you need to decide how involved you want to be.  Here are some of the options for you to consider:

1. Do Nothing

If you simply do not want to get involved, that is okay!  Your job is to teach students, and if you can accomplish that best by staying out of the political side of education, that’s fine.

2. Support from the Sidelines

Maybe you do not want to actively be involved in strikes or demonstrations, but you can still support different causes.  You could write letters to your legislators, donate money, or get involved with a teacher’s union.  If you want to get more involved, you can look into the National Education Association or the American Federation of Teachers.  Both of these groups have state and local chapters, too.

3. Join in the Movement

Obviously, you can also choose to join the movement wholeheartedly.  This is certainly a viable option, and one that many teachers around the country are choosing.

Take Action (Or Not)

Now that you have determined your end goal, considered the consequences, and decided how involved to be, you can go put your plan into action!  Whatever you choose, this is an exciting (and challenging) time to be involved in education.  Just know that whatever you do, you are making a difference by being an educator in today’s complicated world!