I’ve left my union.
Well, let me clarify, I’ve resigned from positions of leadership within my teachers’ union. I’m still a card bearing union member, but I no longer sit on my executive board. I’ve resigned, officially, with a letter and all.
I did all this pretty quietly this summer. Although many in my life know the story, it being splashed all over social media, I’m reluctant to tell it. I’m too proud. I’m also, in a sense, still in shock. Believe it or not, as loud as I am, I never wanted to be the one to make waves within my own organization. I mean, really, if you know me, you know I’m one of the loudest cheerleaders for my union out there. Rah Rah… Go union, that’s been my cheer.
It still is my cheer, I’m just cheering much more quietly these days. In many ways, I’m cheering to myself, silently, hoping to hold on, hoping to find that spark again.
I realize that sometimes in life, you have to step back to jump forward. I’m in my stepping back now. I’m in the watching and learning stage now. I’m learning that to make it in a large organization, you have to know how to play the game. And, believe it or not, I’m not good at playing. I’m far too emotional.
To me, none of this is a game. It’s serious stuff. To me, this is more than a career, more than a paycheck, more than a contract … To me, this is my children. This is my country. This is my life.
I am sure that I am not the only one in my union that feels this way.
I know my union is made up of passionate, caring individuals who commit their life to being a steward. Like me, they spent much of their summer at trainings, or traveling to assemblies, or rallies. Like me, they know solidarity is needed to fight
the corporate reformers intent on making a buck off our schools.
My union brother and sisters make the sacrifice every day. They speak up knowing there is little a contract can do to protect their jobs these days. They travel to union events knowing they can’t afford it. They spend their nights posting and sharing to the world hoping someone, somewhere, with power, will care. My union brother and sisters make the sacrifices every day, and I thank them.
But, I’m stepping back. Sure, I’m a little bitter, I won’t lie. Yes, I’m more than a little disappointed. I’m sure you can tell. Those who know me, well, they know me well.
But, in the words of my dad, ‘When you start to stink like fish, it is time to go’.
So, I’m gone. I’m pulling my line and headed back to shore for a while. I’ve decided to focus my activism on the BATs and the parent groups that I’m connected with. I’ve also decide to focus on my writing. I have a voice and a huge megaphone, not as big as Whoopi’s, but pretty big. I hope to use it.
Before I go, I want to send a thank you to all in my union. Thank you for making the sacrifice. Thank you for sticking it out. I will continue to stand up for you and support you from the sidelines. That I promise.
We are one.