I'm the UFT chapter leader at my school. It's kind of a crazy job. I get called to go here, do this, or discuss that on a regular basis. But I'm also an ESL teacher, and I almost always teach beginners. One day, the kids asked me why I had to leave a class early. I told them I was the chapter leader. They didn't really understand that. The more I explained, the less they seemed to get it.
The next year, a new group of kids asked me the same question. I decided to explain to them in a way they might understand and accept. I told them I had two jobs. First, I teach them. Second, I had to go to a lot of stupid meetings. This, they understood. They asked me who made me go to all these stupid meetings and I said it was the principal. The kids all agreed that if the principal said I had to go to stupid meetings I really had no choice in the matter.
One day, the principal walked into that class. He walked around the room, looking around, and a young girl raised her hand.
"Why do you make Mr. Educator go to stupid meetings?"
The principal stood still a second. Then, he said, "I thought they were important meetings!" and stormed out.
The next time I got called out of class, the kids asked me why. I told them I had to go to a stupid meeting.
"No, Mr. Educator," said the kids, seemingly in unison. "It's an important meeting."
Footnote--the kids were right, actually. But had I told them it was an important meeting, I'd have had to persuade them. They were perfectly fine accepting the concept of my attending stupid meetings until the principal went and gave me away.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.