I can tell you of the petty nonsense I’ve faced as a teacher, the plethora of veteran teachers they tried to get rid of because they’re too old, the times I didn’t think my job was safe because I had an opinion that’s far from mainstream, the people I’ve met who were harassed on a daily basis for being too ____, and the places we try and hide our system’s dirt in backrooms and rugs.
Instead, I’ll tell you of a principle theory. Union means unity.
When two or more people within a given circle feel a common struggle against an oppression, they must amalgamate against that oppression. In our country and so many others, corporatists and Reaganites obfuscate these unions and re-brand efforts from public (and private) service workers to the American public as unpatriotic and greedy. In the corporate sector, an employee can negotiate their own terms, rarely have to take work (and the emotional baggage) with them home, and have more autonomy in the pace and structure of their jobs.
Not so with teaching.
Yes, our unions may need tweaking to keep up with the current demands of teachers, students, and environments. But I’ll be damned if one of the nation’s highest callings continue to get pushback for the most basic of working conditions. This isn’t a job for some of us, it’s a career.
Jose, who stands with you …