I Have a Greater Appreciation for My Teachers After Strike

By Kayla M. Sutter
Managing Editor

hung over my head since the beginning of the semester.

Since I am involved with the newspaper, the threat of a strike due to the outdated contract was a constant topic of discussion between my peers and I.

Every student was confused about the entirety of it and what would happen to the semester if it occurred.

It was a constant hush-hush topic that sent some students into panic while others did not care the slightest bit.

I was confused on how to feel about the strike at first, but as the semester progressed and more tension grew, I knew where I stood after I did all of the research to try and understand both sides, PASSHE and APSCUF.

Katie, The Editor-in-Chief, finished layout for the newspaper around 3:30 a.m. on the morning of the strike.

We decided to stay awake to see the fate of our classes.

At exactly 5 a.m. we sat glued to our phones on her back porch. When the strike was officially announced, Katie and I sat there, not quite surprised, but stunned it was really happening.

We talked about all of the different ways we would have to cover the strike, and how we had a duty to perform.

Campus on the first day of the strike was eerie. For a Wednesday at 9 a.m., there was little activity.

I went to take pictures of the picket line at the front of campus, and was met with many different news outlets from the area walking around as well.

It was surreal. I never thought that my professors would be on strike.

Seeing my professors walk the picket line struck a nerve in me. I wanted to jump in the crowd and support them.

I believe that what they were fighting for was important. They were fighting for us, the students. They were fighting for the adjuncts. They were fighting for the quality of our education.

I did not agree with the students who thought the strike was a mini-vacation.

The ones who partied the night before the strike, donning signs that read “Strikemas 2016.”

The ones who ran to social media to celebrate, making a joke out of the entire thing. Did they not realize how serious this was? It actually infuriated me to see other students making a mockery out of it.

One thing that frustrated me more than others were the students that cursed the teachers for “disrupting their education,” due to apparent selfishness.

The ones who spoke nothing but negativity and disapproval towards the professors that stood on the picket line.

I could not stomach the constant complaints of students against the professors who put their lives on hold to strike for us, the students.

I was shocked to see some students begging the professors to come back, as if it was their fault. I didn’t understand students supporting the State, just because they “wanted to graduate on time.”

The State walked out on negotiations at 9 p.m. the night before the strike. APSCUF stayed at the table until the last possible moment.

The State wanted to change education as we currently know it. The professors were fighting to ensure the quality of education for us, and future students.

Another thing that I did not understand was how certain higher-ups on campus completely fought against anyone supporting the strike.

Administration that should stand behind their faculty were seen on social media bashing the faculty, and interacting negatively with students who openly supported the strike.

Students who supported the strike were very respectful about it, for example one student simply tweeted her support by saying “We students support our professors in the strike #ESU #ESyou #strikeday,” and an employee of the administration responded, “I assume this means you are also supporting a tuition increase? Want to understand!?!? #WhoPays?”

Administration also tweeted to “Go to class and hope sanity prevails and faculty are there to teach. Again, go to class… #WhereWarriorsbelong.” This tweet is basically the administration calling the professors insane… is that a way to speak of the faculty you oversee?

I was somewhat embarrassed to see the lack of support for our professors here at ESU specifically; other PASSHE schools had the utmost support from their administrations.

That was obviously not the case here, bringing light to some major issues in the minds of certain members of the administration.

It was embarrassing to witness a member of the administration tweeting a student, “Is this a demonstration of critical thinking skills?”

I do not believe that is a way to ever talk to or about students and professors at the University you work for.

In contrast to all of the negativity towards the professors during the strike, there were many positive aspects to it as well.

I learned to respect my professors and what they do so much more than I already did. These individuals give up so much of their time for us, the students, without a second thought. They fought for us during the strike and always will.

Witnessing students join the faculty without a second thought was incredible, too. Even though the campus was literally divided, I’ve never felt individuals come together like I did witnessing the strike. The everlasting support that students and faculty have for each other is so amazing.

In the end, the faculty got what they wanted: a fair contract. They defended our education until the end.

Campus without my professors was a scary place. I missed them dearly during the strike. I look at my professors post-strike and have such a grand appreciation for them.

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