There is a dismantling of community in our culture that has become particularly evident to me. Instead of working together for the betterment of our country, states, cities, churches, workplaces, and homes there is division and dissension. The prevelant idea seems to be “we are better off on our own.“
And in this media-driven, activity-ridden culture it is easier than ever to BE on our own.
Instead of aligning together to address and satisfy the varied needs of the group, we are tearing each other apart in our quest for self-fulfillment. There is no room for compromise and no such thing as middle ground. It seems we have lost the ability to put ourselves into someone else’s shoes. Dangerous territory, in my opinion.
I am fairly conservative by the world’s standards and feel strongly about a lot of things. But I value the perspectives, needs, and opinions of others – even when they contradict my own. Because sometimes, just when you think you have got things all figured out, God shows you another side.
I am a union girl by marriage. My husband taught elementary school for almost a decade and has been involved in union work in some form or another for 22 years. I have watched him fight tirelessly for the rights of others throughout our entire relationship and have seen firsthand the beauty and power of a group serving/working/moving/growing together. There is SO MUCH that happens behind closed doors, stories I wish were mine to share. What I see from the inside is quite different from the sinister image portrayed in the media and by some politicians. Here are a few truths from my perspective:
1. Bad teachers do get fired; a Minnesota statute (122A.40) outlines the process for termination. The union does not prevent bad teachers from being fired.
2. Teachers and educators need representation. If you only had a glimpse of the incredible challenges faced by teachers and educators today you would surely feel the same. It is C R A Z Y.
3. When teacher salaries are discussed in the media, other benefits (such as insurance) are factored in. I have always thought this to be so deceiving! For example, as a legal secretary my pay was $22,000/year. If you would have added my insurance benefits to that number, it would have looked like I got paid a whole lot more than $22,000/year. (To give you an idea of what a real teacher salary looks like, when our boys were young and my husband was teaching we were living at poverty level – had we so chosen, we would have qualified for economic assistance!)
4. Teachers and students do not share the same schedule. In addition to working long hours and having additional duty days throughout the school year, teachers are often in the classroom weeks before and after the school year ends.
5. The union is a support structure for teachers and educators, providing tools and resources to help them be better together. The union helps to facilitate contract negotiation, address workplace safety (a very real issue when dealing with so many behavioral and emotional challenges today), complaint procedures and the like.
When working in community, we learn to consider more than just our own needs when making decisions. There is also increased momentum and strength when we have others to lean on for encouragement and support.
In my opinion, we need MORE community (the real-life kind) not less. That’s why I am pro-familyneighborschurchschoolsandunions.
Because we are better together.