Consistency this past semester has been difficult. Among the school cancelations for the many holidays, rainy storms, and, most recently, teacher strikes, having a full week of classes has been hard to come by.
We work in all nacional schools, in which the government contracts workers and teachers. The teachers go to the government to affect change. Our teachers have been on strike this whole past week for the second time this semester. Their current demands include basic rights like equal and better benefits, and higher pay. As in much of the world, teachers seem to be paid less for doing arguably the most important societal work.
Some of our students have not had class this week because their school was on strike. Others have not had class because their teacher left to strike, even if the school remained open. Peruvians hope that everything will be resolved by Monday, but we are told that until the demands are met the strike will continue indefinitely.
While attending a Father’s Day celebration at one of our schools last Monday, we had to stop the ceremony in the middle and everyone took cover inside while the protestors passed through the area. We feared they would hear people still working inside the walls of the school and become violent. Thankfully, none of that happened and the ceremony continued after a few minutes.
With this on our minds, recently I have been reflecting on some of the great teachers in my own life and wanted to acknowledge teachers’ selfless and tireless work. I believe that education is an area that consistently is undervalued and overlooked. Having served in a teaching position this past year, I have seen firsthand how simultaneously frustrating and rewarding the job can be. I have been blessed with some amazing role models in my own life who inspired me to pursue education passionately, to question critically the world around me, and to make change when I see injustice. My teachers did not always have an official title, but they still seemed to come into my life right when I needed guidance. I probably have not thanked them enough and just want them all to know how much they have helped shape me into the person I am today.
To our Cusco teachers, and all the other teachers in my life:
I stand with you.
I support you.
I love you.
With gratitude and admiration,