In which I mention a couple of awards
Today I am receiving two awards for union service. At first I didn’t think it was such a big deal, but here we are, moment is about to arrive, and I’m pretty pleased.
A ten year chapter leader pin doesn’t sound like such a big deal. I remember, twelve or thirteen years ago, filling in for my chapter leader at the Bronx HS DR meeting (Shulman back then)… every CL in the room must have had ten years… maybe a few a few less, probably a bunch a bunch more. Fast forward to today though… I have eleven continuous years of service… five elections (though just one contested)… and today I am the longest serving high school chapter leader in the Bronx. By far. (there’s one guy with more years, but just a couple at his current school).
Trachtenberg Awards go to… I’m still not quite certain. Good chapters or good chapter leaders. And lots of people get them. I’ve been encouraged to apply for at least the last four years. And I think we’ve run an ok chapter, even a good chapter. But I resisted. Until last year, when we did two particularly good things.
First, several teachers had a proposal to adjust our school’s grading system, but over several years found they couldn’t move it themselves. They brought it to the chapter, and we discussed it, shaped it, worked on a presentation, and shepherded it through a longer discussion with administration… leading to agreement and its implementation this September.
Second, Bloomberg announced that he would speak at our graduation. Several members of our faculty organized an appropriate (did not in any way disrupt the kids’ graduation, but visible for all to see) demonstration of our thoughts on this, and managed to involve almost all of us. (It was a combination of bright UFT stickers and in the same UFT light blue “Respect Teachers” stickers). OK, so some of them may have been motivated by a desire to head off a less appropriate demonstration (they worry about me, and I probably, tongue-in-cheek, played on those fears a bit), but they did a great job, involved most of those who might have hesitated, produced the stickers themselves, etc, etc.
They hand out the awards at Teacher Union Day, at the Waldorf Astoria in midtown, where I am heading now. So I’m patting myself on the back, twice, although one of the awards is really for the chapter. The Trachtenberg Award stays with the school, not me.