What does your union mean to you? Fairfield Ludlowe High School teacher Sara Goepfrich, who serves as a building rep in her school, says it’s easy to be an island in your own classroom and do your own thing, but that approach doesn’t work so well when it comes to protecting teachers’ rights and securing resources for students.
“The union is not some entity outside of ourselves. The union is everyone we work with, it’s us, and through our union we can advocate for our needs and for our students’ needs,” says Goepfrich. “Unions give a voice to our profession to allow us to advocate for what students need to be successful in the classroom. They also create a support system for new teachers to ask questions and gain support in a non-evaluative way. Unions allow us to advocate for things that are unpopular but really necessary for students. Things that administrators might push back against or that might be seen as making waves.”
As a special education teacher, Goepfrich says she goes to bat for her students and is glad the union has her back.
“There are times that I have had to advocate for things for my students that cost money that are needed to help a child be successful. Sometimes I have not agreed with all of the programming choices that have been made. Thanks to the support of my union, I’m able to advocate for what my students need.”
Goepfrich, who has been teaching for a decade, strongly believes, “Having a collective voice is absolutely imperative for our security, our professionalism, and our success in the classroom.”
Here at CEA, we’re recognizing building reps around the state for their dedication to their colleagues and their willingness to devote time out of their busy schedules to this important job.
Do you know a great building rep who deserves to be recognized? Let us know and we could feature him/her in the future.