Sculpt Me A Union

I’d ask a sculptor to carve a “union Strength” arm to represent my 2015. For #ThrowBackThursday I’m reposting this article from my teaching website I wrote in January 2015.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Immortalized in Stone.” Your personal sculptor is carving a person, thing or event from the last year of your life. What’s the statue of and what makes it so significant?

16414431556_9695483388_zI am involved in my teachers union and I have to say it is a challenging endeavor sometimes. You are sending out the message that your troubles are the fault of the district. As someone who is always trying to not blame, and failing most the time, I sometimes struggle with this. Unions, like any political organization, can fall into the trap of dehumanizing the district employees. In my district, we have over 300 teachers and about 6 district employees making decisions that affect parents, students, and yes, teachers. My goal in my union is not to attach people but rather show the value of a union. Parents in my district value teachers, they show that by their numbers when they come to our meetings and get involved in organizing with us. I want to be a force that helps their families and specifically their children. Name calling and blaming will only get people riled up for a moment. To gain real buy in from parents, we need to show them what’s in it for them.

16397808826_06c276df4b_zIn working for the union, I have come to see that district employees often make poor decisions about teacher working conditions and salary. At the same time, unless they are informed by the teacher, who are the ones that truly know what is going on with the students, they make poor, uninformed decisions about students. They are all basically retired from teaching which happily means they were once teachers. When this is the case, it’s a bonus for parents and their families because they were once in the trenches. They do tours around schools i their power suits but that can never compare with the teachers spending 6+ hours with kids every day assessing their needs. Because of this disconnect, a union should exist. It gives the teachers a higher level of clout and participation in school dealings? Have an opinion? This is a topic I am currently living through Please feel free to start a discussion.

Author: Damien Riley

I'm an online diarist, blog film critic, & podcaster. My views on films and life are often 'left of center' on, but I have respect for other viewpoints. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.