August is past its midpoint. I am looking forward to getting back in my social studies classroom at Oregon High School, and all of the colleagues I know are excited to start the new school year. That does not mean we don’t love the summer. It’s not contradictory to lament the end of summer and celebrate the start of the new school year at the same time. Both are special to us, and we shouldn’t have to hide it.
As the president of WEAC Region 6, I am accustomed to dealing with apparent contradictions. I love public education even though its unrealized potential sometimes keeps me awake at night. I am fascinated by government and politics even though they are often the source of terrible ideas that make it harder for my students and me to succeed in the classroom. I love teamwork and collaboration, but my role as a union leader requires me to speak up and ask difficult questions of the administrators and school board members we work with on behalf of our students and our profession. It’s complicated.
In my experience, these kinds of complications are what prevent many good people from joining the union or getting more involved with it. It has also been my experience that good people do join and become more involved when they are given a chance to talk through the contradictions and understand the crucial role that the union plays in educating students and making our world a better place.
If you are someone who likes to talk to people and is good at explaining things, then you are what your union needs. And we need you right now more than ever. All of the locals in Region 6 are finalizing plans for reaching out to new employees and signing them up. This is all about talking to people and getting to know them.
The way for you to get involved is to get in touch with your local union’s leaders and tell them what you can do. Make plans to attend the union’s back-to-school meetings for members and potential members. Most importantly of all, talk to your colleagues about the union and tell them why you joined. Encourage them to contact local leaders or the Region 6 office if they have questions you can’t answer.
You can email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org and call the Region 6 office at 1-800-397-2287. We can mourn and celebrate together.
President of WEAC Region 6