Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Teachers Like Us Support Unions


I’ve been very disappointed in unions in the past. As a public school teacher and union member I earn about two thirds the pay I was making for a private education company. My health benefits are worse and I pay more for them. My office went from modern office space with ample access to all kinds of technology to a 100 year old building retrofitted to use electricity. My co-teachers are jealous of my laptop and my 3g internet, both for the unfettered internet and the actual access in all parts of the building.

So I am disappointed in my union for not getting the pay, health care, or working conditions I deserve, but I have never wanted to get rid of them. I recognize that if I do my job well enough, I will, at some point in time have someone asking for my head on a plate.

It’s simple I have a room full of other peoples children. I am supposed to do my best to make sure all of them meet a set of specific standards. At times some will and some won’t meet these standards. At some time or another I will fail to please either a student, a parent, or an administrator and sometimes all three. It's then that I will need someone behind me saying, no you cannot fire this person for doing his job.

It is true that of the hundreds of students who pass through my classroom there will be some who would have done better with another teacher. It is also true that there are some who could never have done better. All I really know for sure is that I do my best.

I take the time to practice my craft on a regular basis. I take the time to get to know my students and tailor my work to fit their needs as much as possible. I communicate with parents and administrators on a regular basis. I keep detailed records of what I intend to do and what has happened in my classroom. I do my best to educate all of my children. All I ask is that I be allowed to do my job and that means I need a union.

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