A few of us had an impromptu discussion on our lack of a contract yesterday. I don't feel like any teachers talk about it at school, but maybe it's just because I'm not hanging out with the union reps, or folks that are having the discussions. Truth be told, I'm not thinking about it too much, and that makes me feel guilty. I come from a strong union state and union family, and have always found the union efforts in Baltimore to be somewhat laughable. At school, even this year, I feel like the issue is barely affecting my life.
Still, my post about working to rule has generated a few interesting discussions, from folks who don't much like unions, to the Baltimore Sun's Classroom Connections blog, to Education Week's blog. I don't know what to make of it all, and wish I had a bit more guidance on the issue.
More is happening than I thought. I heard that the Drama Club advisor began this year's first meeting by telling the students that by advising Drama Club, he and his colleague were going against the union's orders, and asked the students to have their parents call the school board about this issue. I tought this was a powerful way to get your point across, in a serious speech to kids, kids who know you care because you're there, anyway, advising a group after school.
And I want to support the union, I really do. I don't have nearly enough planning time now, and the thought of giving any more of it away is ludicrous to me. And, it is about the kids; when a teacher teaches 170 of them, he needs time to get back essays and plan dynamic lessons for them.
So, yes, it is important. But apparently I don't think it's that important, because I'm not working to rule.
But, if the union had said, "Alright, our position is that your class size will be capped at 25, and that you will have a 12-month contract instead of a 10-month contract, and that every teacher should be issued enough textbooks, a working computer, phone, and overhead projector every year," then, damn right, I'd do whatever it takes to support the union's position. I would not stop working at 3:15, but I would take all of my work home with me to further the cause.
So my opinion about the matter is that it apparently is a bit about what they're fighting for. Planning time is just so disappointingly meek. It's important, but not nearly important enough.
So that's my current take on it. Still supporting the union, but, because I don't think the union is my voice, I'm not supporting them by working to rule.
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