Uncomfortable Teacher Association Meeting

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MissyB, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. MissyB

    MissyB Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2014

    I'm a first year teacher so I have no idea how Teacher Association/Union meetings usually go but I've found myself avoiding eye contact during every one we have had. I work at a small school, one teacher per grade K-8, and all the teachers are very nice and seem to get along at any given time; unless we are having an association meeting. Our meetings usually end in raised voices, one teacher (who used to be an administrator here before they stepped down) taking offense at anything remotely anti-administration, and the four new teachers seemingly afraid to talk.

    The first meeting of the year was bad, with the rest of the staff split on whether the new lesson plan requirements from the principal were allowed and we agreed to give it a try for awhile after much "discussion." I wanted to bring it up again at our last meeting this week but there was an argument over who would be attending our negotiations that last over an hour. In the end our president (and senior ranking teacher) resigned office.

    Are everyone's this drama filled or is this just something that has been building at this school over time and is finally exploding?
     
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  3. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Nov 9, 2014

    I have never seen 10 or more teachers gathered together discussing something like report cards, testing expectations, lesson plans, how to "teach..etc and have all teachers agree.

    I would consider this the norm in my district.
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Nov 9, 2014

    Disagreement I would expect. And actually appreciate. Not raised voices.
     
  5. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Nov 9, 2014

    We don't have these kind of meetings.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Nov 9, 2014

    I avoided conversations about any union topics my first year as well. It served me well because I really wouldn't have known what I was talking about anyway.

    We have one anti-union teacher but he leaves during union meetings. For the most part we all agree that the union works hard for us and is good for us and our students. We had another anti-union teacher but she left the school because the consensus for the union in our school was so strong, and she would get into arguments all of the time where no one took her side.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Nov 9, 2014

    I think it is harder for new teachers because the union can't protect them in the same way that they can for the veteran teachers. If you're a probationary employee, you can be fired for any reason or even no reason at all, and there is nothing the union can do for you. We don't have traditional "tenure" in my state, but there are still some due process rights for non-probationary teachers. So there is sometimes tension between old and new teachers when the union brings up wanting to do things like stick to the contract, refuse more staff meetings, etc. As a probationary employee, I don't feel like I can participate in those things without fear of retaliation. This year, we still don't have a contract because no agreement on salary has been reached. The district offered one step raise, but no cost of living raise (meaning no percentage raise on the base salary). Based on the step I'm on, I got a huge raise from just the salary step increase. However, many teachers in my building (and across the district) have "topped out" on steps and therefore got nothing. They keep saying this effects all of us because we eventually will all be in the same position (and getting mad that new teachers won't "fight" with them)- which I totally understand, but when I'm in that position I'll also have the job protection from the union that they currently have.
     
  8. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Nov 9, 2014

    I'm not a first year teacher, but I'm also not tenured so union protections don't fully apply to me. Therefore, I keep quiet at union meetings. However, I definitely appreciate the hard work of the union leaders.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 9, 2014

    I'm in a strong association. If an administrative directive was outside our contract, it would be addressed without infighting at a union meeting.

    Negotiations can be tough and those who take on that position need to be well versed in the current contract, poll staff for their priorities in a new contract, be good communicators and mindful of all members needs...

    No one should be fearful f aking questions or bringing up concerns and association. Leadership needs to be committed to the good of the group. How sad that your association is 'exploding'. This is never a god thing and is disastrous going into a negotiations.
     
  10. hbcaligirl1985

    hbcaligirl1985 Cohort

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    Nov 9, 2014

    When I was a LTS, I had to attend the staff meetings. I would see teacher being condescending to each other and talking over the principal. I didn't say anything because as a LTS it wasn't even my place to do so.
     

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