Renewal, for me, is #return, a bold necessity in all facets of life. I am a proud #unionist and public school educator, attending National Education Association Representative Assembly. As a member of the largest labor union in the United States, this is my first opportunity to be immersed (from the safety of my home) at the national level. I am able to listen to all the debate, share my voice and experiences, and vote on policies that seek to address the many, multifaceted challenges in public education (and greater society) today. There are voices here from at ALL levels of #publiceducation even amidst continuing gun violence in Chicago.
Today, I am no longer in survival mode as the pandemic goes into its 3rd year. I am learning to become an armed educator with a whole new set of skills (and self-care tools). I am NOT, however, nor do I wish to be armed with a gun. I would be understating to say my classroom and my community has been touched by ALL of the issues presented in the first half of Day 2. These eighteen years as an educator have been marked with gun violence and its aftermath: from the tragedy at Pulse in my childhood and adult neighborhood to the unannounced weapons search in a small, sleepy, masked first period during the height of a hybrid (face-to-face and virtual classroom) to the myriads of lockdown drills , as well as teaching Civics on January 6th, to being verbally assaulted by chants of “baby-killer” because masks were mandated across my district (the 9th largest in the United States). My classroom has been affected by #censorship and grass-root movements to shut down learning. I have been called names, been targeted, and threatened. So, too, would I be understating the impact these challenges have had my health. Not only have I sought other employment in another field, I lost my passion and energy for this good work.
And #goodwork it is. I told myself this through the challenges of the past few years, which were exponentially intensified and personalized in #publicschool unfriendly Florida and its convoluted, ill-conceived evaluation system and unsustainable practices. I did not know that I was in need for renewal, but here I am being renewed. And with this renewal, comes commitment. I am renewed by the #democraticprocess here, and the passion of my Brothers and Sisters. And it has been a much needed change from the constant onslaught of the new American nattering nabobs of negativitism.