Welcome to your union.
Power and potential.
I talked about our power and our potential at this year’s Convocation. As educators and union members, we impact the lives of others. We make decisions. We put ideas into practice. We organize projects, performances, papers, conferences, and conversations. We create communities. We implement solutions.
Our life experiences, our empathy and compassion, and our years of service to young people have guided us. We know what our students need. When we focus our energy on what our students need, our work becomes even more meaningful.
As we are doing this, we must also take care of ourselves and each other. There are limits to what we can do each day and that is okay. Your lunchtime and your prep periods are yours! You can leave the school building at the end of your contractual day. Student work can stay at school and you can review it there. Successful educators and union members have balance in our lives. We make the time for meaningful experiences and relationships outside of work as well. Our wellbeing matters and it’s connected to the wellbeing of our students and our schools.
Our collective wellbeing also requires action and accountability. We have the right to hold policymakers, elected officials, and leaders accountable to ensure our school communities have what we need. The success of this work depends on more of us getting involved: Attend or organize a union meeting at your school, join a committee, plan a social event, speak at a Board of Education or Board of Alders meeting, or bring a few colleagues with you to our NHFT General Membership Meeting on Wednesday, October 4.
Remember our power and potential. Remember the importance of our collective wellbeing. As we focus our energy into solutions and wellbeing this year, we can build the kinds of classrooms and schools that we know are possible – where educators’ voices are heard and community needs are met.
Thank you for all you do. I look forward to seeing you soon.
President, New Haven Federation of Teachers