The following post to a listserv speaks to the whole issue of why have any sort of professional organization. Here ’tis:
I never thought I’d be in this position, but I have brought a suit against
the school board on a constitutional conflict. Without my teachers’
association, I could never have done this. Without legal representation, I
and many others would have been “forced” into giving up our legal rights
guaranteed to us under the constitution and the bill of rights. Horray,
Now I’m sure that just about every school board member and administrative in this country would assure teachers that they intend to respect their rights, constitutional and professional. They have no such intention. Not because they hate our freedoms but because they have exigencies to deal with and we teachers are the weakest point. If they cut sports or fine arts, you have parents all over you. If they cut on infrastructure, they have various governmental agencies all over them. If they cut on services, they have the courts all over them. So guess who gets cut? Us.
Sad to say, there are teachers who believe that their salvation lies in being nice and being loyal and doing their best. Surely, they think, that will be rewarded. What it does is put a big sign on your back that says “sucker”. These admins, under pressure, are going to go for the weakest link; the link with a lot to lose in a battle; the link that is less organized and less aggressive in defending its interests. That’s us.
Is there a personality type that goes into teaching, a passive-agressive personality? Sometimes, it seems so. Never one to confront – it’s not nice – but quick to miss deadlines, miss meetings, arrive late, leave early, take shortcuts in the classroom, run roughshod over kids, and ignore things they should attend to.
Belonging to a professional organization demands you take personal and professional responsibility. You would think admins would love that. But what they love more is a passive body of teachers they can manipulate in order to give the appearance of compliance with governmental and community demands. Kind of like the old Soviet line: they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.