October 2017 President’s Connection

Dear Members –

In our union, September/October is a time for talking. It is the time when the locals in WEAC Region 1 put on back-to-school union membership organizing drives. In Boyceville where I teach third grade, the Boyceville Education Association has held meetings with newly hired staff and returning members. We have followed up those meetings with building-level meetings and one-on-one conversations between members and potential members.

People won’t join the union if they are not asked to join. Just as students don’t know if they are following the rules if we don’t tell them what the rules are, union members will not continue to belong to an organization if no one tells them what it does and how successful it is.

When I explain what the union does to potential members, listen to their feedback, and answer their questions, I feel like I am helping them as individuals and helping all of their colleagues at the same time. The union gives professional educators benefits and advantages they can get nowhere else. And the more members the union has the more effective it can be. I tell them that when they join they will have many opportunities to work with the union to develop professionally, become more active in their community, make new friends, and have new experiences, including:

  • National Board of Professional Teaching Standards workshops and planning
  • Effective Educator, and mentoring assistance
  • Grant writing training and opportunities
  • Social and community events
  • Social justice action
  • New teacher meetings
  • Personal finance and student loan forgiveness workshops

There is a wealth of information about member benefits and union activities on the WEAC.org web site, including an inspirational back-to-school video message from WEAC President Ron Martin

Education is a profession in which WEAC honor our educators/members.  We are members of an honorable group and we need to keep repeating that!  We need to stick together and treat our professional union as any other professional group.  There is never a question whether doctors, dentists, therapists, and others belong to their professional group, they just do because it’s the right thing to do, yet members or nonmembers question belonging to our professional group.  We need each other and we need to support each other.  Without our collective group we are weaker.  We work hard every day for our students.  It is imperative that we continue to support each other through WEAC – our support group, for our teachers, support staff, janitors, and all people who work in the schools and most important of all our students.

We, as teachers, are visionary transformers of lives (as Tom Kidd said).  We should be laying out the red carpet for our teachers and lifting them up to new heights.  In keeping our teachers up, its effect is to raise up our students.  It is time to all come together and ask a new teacher to join with us to stand together. Have that conversation with your new teachers.  Spend some time this week and lift up another teacher!

Please don’t hesitate to call me at 715-556-4227 or the Region 1 office at 715-234-7049 if you have any questions, concerns or ideas.  If you’re ready to get more involved, talk to your union leadership or call our office – we are ready to talk!

Debra Bell

Region 1 President