Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Teachers Like Me Support Unions

Several years ago, when Suit was principal (if you are a new reader, do a search for Principal Suit--I promise it will be fun reading), I was told to transfer schools, because "I didn't share his vision." 

Let me explain. 

Vickie was a student in my math A class at that time.  She was a sweet girl but could not, for the life of her, pass an exam.  I spent hours many hours working with her, got her a tutor and her grades were starting to go up.  And then, she got invited for "milk and cookies" during the time our class met.  I refused to let her go as she needed the nourishment for her brain more than for her stomach.  (She did not want to miss math and agreed with me.)  Suit was upset with my decision and called me to a meeting in his office.  I did not know \my AP, and the APO would also present.  I knew there would be trouble when he began the meeting with "I know you are an excellent teacher..."  And, before he could finish, I said, "Get to the but", which he did.  We exchanged a few words (I can't remember them now).  My AP and the APO said a few words in my defense but not much.  I guess he intimidated them.  Anyway, as soon as he suggested I transfer, I looked at him and said, "This is a good school, in a good neighborhood.  It is easy to park and close to where I live.  I'm not going anywhere, so deal with it."  I got up and walked out and never spoke to him again.

While the union is not perfect, it does offer protection, something needed to stop evil, vindictive principals from preying on good teachers because who have the courage and the conviction to stand up for their students and stand up for what is right.  Without this, an unscrupulous individual could have ended my career on the spot.  This is not to say the union is the end all.  Some teachers are still having careers unfairly cut short and some are facing ridiculous fines for actions that were never wrong.  And, bad teachers are protected too.  Unfortunately, in a democracy, that happens.

I can't imagine working without a union and feel for those who don't have anyone watching their backs.

For more posts on the same topic go here.


Schoolgal said...

Excellent post.

Anonymous said...

The young "newbies" have no clue as to how the union has helped all of us and will continue to do so unless they close them down! What a shame they don't realize how valuable it is for someone to watch your back, especially in these times of Mayor Moneybags!

Suit Lover said...

Good post.

Educational Encounters said...

I agree completely. I am a third year teacher, and the union is trying to help me save my job from a vindictive principal. I really think it boils down to who is there for the career, and who is there because of their heart.