This article was written by Bill Tschida, ACSA Member Assistance & Legal Support Team
The after effects of a strike are long lasting and healing can take years. ACSA Membership Services tapped our former assistant superintendent Bill Tschida for strategies to keep in mind as school administrators work with their staff to move forward following a strike. Bill had the following advice to share:
- As a school site leader, principal, assistant principal, or vice-principal, stay as neutral as possible. Let the district negotiators do the negotiating. Do not put yourself in a position where you have to explain or clarify what is going on in negotiations. There should be a spokesperson as the “one voice” speaking for the district.
- When the teachers return to the school site from the picket line you, as a site administrator, will find yourself in an unusual position. Some teachers and staff will look towards you for guidance in the immediate days after the strike. Others will project their animosity and hard feelings on to you as a representative of the “district.”
- Recognize that trust can take time to repair and restore. Twenty or 30 years after strikes, some people still act and feel like the strike was yesterday. A teachers’ strike is never completely over in some people’s minds
- Trust does not come easily. Exhibit patience as you work to slowly rebuild trust among your school site colleagues.
- Measure your words as you talk to students, parents, faculty and the community about the strike. Words can be hurtful and words cannot be taken back.
- You may find that the relationships you have built up over time will sustain you and lead to healing, or you may find that many of these relationships are broken.
- Look for support from other school administrators during this emotionally and physically exhausting time.
For questions about strike preparation and other member services, please go to www.acsa.org/legalassistance or email us at .