I'm a teacher currently working without a contract. My local government rejected the union proposal of a 0% pay increase this year, 0% next year, 1% the next year and 3% the year after that. I sat in front of a room of thirty-four students today and told them that there had been a tragic shooting at a school in Connecticut. My classroom contains almost 75% more students than were killed in Newtown, and I recall Gawker articles during the Chicago teacher strikes about urban schools with 40+ students in a classroom. Teachers' unions deserve so much more credit than they receive. Schools are targets and while obviously, fortunately, I've never been the victim of a school shooter, I have absolutely felt scared for my personal safety at work. I deserve to be compensated at a rate that matches inflation. I deserve to teach in teach in reasonable conditions with windows that can be opened and appropriate climate control. My students and I should not have to risk going into lock down for hours in a classroom that is twelve degrees Celsius (or in the case of Chicago teachers, thirty-five degrees Celcius). Events like today's remind us that in addition to benefiting learning, small class sizes could be a safety measure as well- thank God there weren't forty children in that classroom. The next time you get frustrated with a teachers' union, whether they are speaking out or taking job action, think of the six adults who were killed today, look at the statistics on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shootings#Notable_school_shootings) and remember that teachers literally put their lives on the line for their students.