The media is a bit of a tizzy at the moment about unions. They seem to think teachers are overpaid and that unions are to blame for all bad teachers ever. A group called EDUsolidarity asked bloggers to write a short post about how the union makes us better teachers. So here is mine:
I am a little mad at the union right now. This may sound like a silly beginning to a post that is supposed to be about how the union allows me to be a better teacher but bear with me for the moment.
I am a little mad at every thing right now. I just got pink slipped which allows me the opportunity to be pissed off. I have gotten a few comments of late about how well I have been handling this thing and in truth I think I am doing a fair job. I am postive (as in have a positive attitude about this) about 85% percent of the time. And really, that’s all I can give you. So you are just going to have to deal.
Here’s how being in the union makes me a better teacher. It makes me feel safe. I may have been laid off but the union has not kicked me out. They have gotten me a lawyer and explained to me the steps I need to do in order to make sure I am being treated fairly. They offer advice and suggestions. They make sure I am getting everything I need. I feel protected.
There are a million daily things to worry about as a teacher and even more now that I have to job hunt all over again and the union has taken a few of them off my plate. I may be the lowest ranked math teacher in district but that doesn’t change the way I am treated or cared for. I am not worried that I will be tricked out of my job or that I will lose my benefits tomorrow. I am not worried that next year some other teacher will get my job if it is available. I have maybe a thousand less things to worry about because of the union. I may even be a little less mad knowing some one has my back.
So well I am a little angry at the union for protecting someone based purely on the number of years they have taught I understand that one day when I have been teaching a long time and I have kids and can’t stay til 6, 7, or 8 at night the union will protect me and I will still feel safe. And I will be a better teacher because of that.