Monday, January 26, 2009

While I should be sleeping

I'm trying to wrap my head around the transition that I'm going to have to make this week, from being Melissa the Picketer to Melissa the Teacher/Student. It's going to be a hard one, and I'm going to have to start working on it first thing tomorrow morning. Which is the reason that I'm not sleeping right now, when I should be. I need more time.

The back-to-work bill was read and voted upon this afternoon. Only 8 out of all of the MPPs present voted against it--only the NDPers, which we expected would be the case. This means that the bill will likely pass second and third reading by Thursday, which puts us back at school next Monday. What a scary thought.

The end of the strike feels right now like someone has died. For many reasons. I'm going to be losing the shared sense of purpose that we've all had for the past three months. I'm going to be losing my new schedule of picketing from 7-11. I'm going to be losing my four hours a day outside in the fresh air. I'm going to be losing my belief that the York administration will stop playing games and give us what we need. I'm going to be losing the chance to see my friends for four hours a day. I'm going to be losing a hell of a lot, and right now, gaining who-knows-what. A binding arbitrator will be either chosen or appointed this week (depending on if CUPE and York can play nice or not), and he or she will decide what we get in return for our 80+ days on the picket lines. For myself, I don't really care. I'll probably get a small pay increase, maybe a couple of improvements to my benefits, and that's about it. But my friends could be losing a lot, and that makes me incredibly sad. After all of our hard work, our hundreds of hours out in the cold, our dedication and spirit, it hurts for it to end like this.

From the moment that I first heard about the back-to-work legislation, I felt a certain sense of relief (tempered by fury at York) that all of this would be over very soon and we could all move on. But while I'm sorry that my students can't be back in class immediately, I'm very grateful personally for the time to process that the NDP's resistance to the bill is giving me. I couldn't go back to school on 24 hours notice. Not a chance. Emotionally, mentally, physically, I'm completely unprepared to go back to being Melissa the Teacher/Student. So now, I've got some time to adjust, some time to work, and some time to mourn. It's going to be a hard adjustment, and it's going to take some time. Starting tomorrow.