Updated: February 23, 2013 6:26AM
Now comes the awkwardness.
The hard part was taken care of during the wee hours of Sunday night into Monday morning, when negotiations between Lake County Federation of Teachers Local 504 and the District 46 Board of Education resulted in the proverbial white smoke.
“The parties have reached a tentative agreement on all outstanding issues,” the Grayslake teachers’ union reported on its Facebook page. “Both sides look forward to welcoming the students back to school.”
“Classes will resume (on) Tuesday,” agreed the board at d46.org. “The tentative agreement outlines the terms of a new two-year contract. No details will be shared until it is ratified by the teachers’ union membership and then approved by the District Board, which is expected over the next week or so.”
The harder part begins today. Co-workers — teachers and administrators — who were adversaries not just during the three-day strike, but for much of the past year have to go back to being, at the very least, civil to one another. If you’ve ever been a part of a job action or a contract dispute at any workplace, you know that the elephant remains part of the room.
Random comments on social media alone illustrate the hard feelings that don’t go away when a strike ends (or, in this case, is suspended). Trolls jump in, throw a bomb and enjoy the show:
“Sticking it to the public again. Still failing the children and collecting much more in pay.” “You have no idea what you are talking about.” “I think it’s clear you like attention.” Actual comments from January 2013, but repeated nationwide as one of our many divides grows wider.
Let’s try to light a candle here. Last Thursday, a group of eighth graders at Park School in Round Lake got up early on day two of the strike.
An older sibling had suggested they do something for the teachers, so she drove them to get coffee and doughnuts to hand out on the picket line outside Prairieview School. The students got up and did it all over again on Friday. Why? Because, they said, they missed their teachers.
Somebody must be doing something right to get 14-year-olds out of bed when they aren’t required to be. If nothing else, that small moment offers hope that our kids will make sure the grown-ups behave appropriately.