When I began teaching in New York City in 1975 I didn’t initially see the need for a union or get involved in union activities. I knew, from history and the stories my parents and grandparents told, about the struggle for unions, but like so many today, I took the existence of a union and a contract for granted. My chapter leader gave me some advice and made sure I had all the necessary forms when I got appointed, but that was the sum of my union involvement until I moved to a position as an Education Evaluator on School Based Support Teams.
In that position, as a Special Education Teacher/Education Evaluator, I was much more exposed to the whims of management than I had been as a classroom teacher. Administrators didn’t often walk into my SIE VIII classroom as most of them were afraid of the volatile students I taught. I worked with my co-teacher and we succeeded in making a difference for most of our students.