Has a teacher’s strike ever held back the education of our children?
It really depends on the country you are in and what your political views of any strike action may be. The reality for the majority of western economies the strike action of teachers is broadly symbolic in terms of its impact.
Think about it from this perspective, many reading this article may recall a teachers or lecturers strike from their youth. Yet the many reading this still have their qualifications, the quality of which is often decided by our aptitude and attitude rather than the 100% input of our educators since infancy.
In a typical year there may be a couple of strikes in some western nations. They tend to be single days, avoid exam periods and tend to be short-term affairs. In fact, in the United Kingdom over the last ten years, more children have lost valuable educational time to snow stoppages and flooding in some areas when compared to the actual number of strikes.
In fact there are more years without strikes than there are those years containing single days of action.
For the children, the occasional strike is a bonus; they all enjoy the slightly chaotic change to their routine and treat it with some excitement. But for parents, especially those working, it can be a major issue. As these are the voters for the next government this may encourage their support or rejection of government policies.
There is a temporary delay in some of the learning that a student will have covered during that day. But in a thirty to forty-week academic year with many years to cover and reiterate key subjects. The impact dissipates rapidly.
Again, you may think that this is different for a University or College, the reality is similar as we find that each of these have two or more years to compensate for a short stoppage.
If the frequency of the strikes increase and they are timed with key events in a child’s academic assessment (not development, these are very different), then the impact will become immediate as the system cannot cope with this loss of data. But unless this author is missing some key facts, most strikes avoid these in part due to the nature of the teachers on strike still in their minds wishing to remain professional.