Why am I striking?
Why am I striking?
Because we are being exploited.
Because our care is being exploited.
Those daily moments of care:
that chat after lesson
with the kid who hangs around
to tell you about their hamsters
but who just needs some kindness
in their life. Or the care
for the kid who doesn’t know how
to tell their parents. Care
for the kid who just can’t sleep
or the one who rarely eats.
Or our care for each other:
for the young teacher,
hands clammy, eyes shadowed
by meeting upon meeting
of unrealistic expectations.
Or the long-time workmate
graven by year on year
of the same old changes,
their face lined by columns
of data, still on duty at 2am,
eyes scanning the corridors
of their bedroom ceiling.
Or our care for families
other than our own: the bitten
lip of the call to the mum screaming
down the phone, taking out on my ear
what she can’t take out on the state
that has told her in every cut and policy
that she is worthless and alone.
Or the call still being made at 6pm
to the terminally ill mum
whose son is struggling and failing
to be the man he thinks his mum needs
him to be, when he still needs to be
a lost boy, and we need to be a parent
to both mother and son, and its still
6pm and I will now miss my own kids’
bedtime, because somebody needs to care
about people and the idea of society.
All this care is being exploited
by the same politicians who have dodged
taxes, done dodgy deals with their mates,
cut budgets to the bone, said
there’s no magic money tree
whilst they gorge on its low hanging
fruit, who can find money to heat
their stables but not a classroom,
who can feast on cheese and wine
but not feed hungry kids in winter,
who can break their own rules,
but make new rules for workers,
who bully and cheat and lie and smear,
and then talk of their own integrity
and professionalism. Look at us.
Look at the teachers you clapped.
We could teach you a lesson.