Pending Teacher Strikes in Portland and Medford

Some unsolicited advice about being a substitute during a teacher strike.

I know that some of you desperately want a teaching job. I also know that some of you need money. I would, however, strongly recommend that you not take a teaching job in a striking district. Our district went on strike in 1999, when I was still teaching so I have first hand knowledge of the risks you run.

Substitutes were paid a lot of money to "replace" us.They were also promised things if they would work, like first crack at any new teaching jobs. Those promises were never fulfilled and the district knew that none of us walking the picket line would have been happy about welcoming them into our school as a colleague after the strike ended.

Emotions run high during a strike and, in my unsolicited opinion, teachers who replace striking teachers are committing professional suicide.

I also believe that hiring replacements prolongs the strike itself. If schools had to shut down during a strike, it would force everyone to remain at the table negotiating a settlement. Teachers aren't being paid during a strike and they would be putting pressure on their negotiating team to settle while the community would be putting pressure on the school board to settle.

Posted by Shelley Smolnisky ( on Feb 11, 2014 at 12:43 PM

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