teachers strike court .
(photo credit: Channel 2)
If the National Labor Court forces striking secondary school teachers back to work this week it will be an extremely negative lesson for high school and middle school pupils, teachers said on Monday.
"If they make us go back to the classroom without ending this properly, what type of message will we be sending out to our children?" asked Aliza (not her real name), a math teacher from a Jerusalem-area middle school, who has been striking with her colleagues for the past month and half. "We wanted to show them that in a democratic country, a person can stand up for their rights and their beliefs. Forcing us back will show them that the average person has no rights at all."
M., an English teacher in a Ramat Gan secondary school, agreed. She told The Jerusalem Post on Monday that the strike "is not just about education, but should represent a lesson in social change."
"Forcing us back will create a very uncomfortable relationship between us and our pupils," said M. "I believe that it will be very humiliating for us."
"There are always some students that are looking for our weaker points, and if we come back having achieved nothing from this strike then this will be a prime opportunity for them to ridicule us," pointed out Aliza, adding that she has not been able to sleep for the past two nights worried about how she will face her students if forced back into the classroom.
"They are sending us back with our tail between our legs, and it will be very embarrassing," she said angrily. "It seems that education is becoming less and less important in this country. What is most disappointing is that we are portrayed by the politicians and the media as idiots and that all we care about is having our salaries increased."
A mother of four young children, with her oldest out of school because of the strike, Aliza explained: "It is not just about that additional NIS 200 a month on my paycheck that is important, I believe that the education system needs total reform. I want my children to start school next September with less than 40 children in their classroom."
Another middle-school teacher told the Post that she was resigned to the fact that the courts would eventually force them back but said that she did not intend to teach her pupils the set curriculum. Rather, she said, "we will have to take time out to explain to them about this social struggle and make it clear to them what our intentions were."
"I will follow the instructions of the union," responded Aliza, when asked if she would conduct classes as normal if forced to go back to work by the courts. "I don't know exactly what that is yet, but we'll figure it out."