Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Inspiring perspective

We are part of a worldwide community working to leave the world better than the way we found it through education. Being a teacher in a free and democratic public education system puts you in solidarity with teachers around the world who have the same goals you have. Please know that the work you do is absolutely vital to the well-being of our local community and our global community.

As you got ready for work today wondering how you were going to help that student who lost a loved one, know that there are teachers in Iraq getting up today wondering the same thing. You would be inspired by how determined they are to breathe life into their educational system and you need to know that our work on behalf of public education inspires them, too.

As you brainstorm with the school social worker how to get extra uniforms for your students, know that teachers in Indonesia are doing the same thing. Here uniforms are a part of school choice. In Indonesia, no uniform means that a girl has no choice for any school. You need to know that our work on behalf of all students inspires them.

You steel your nerves, gather your courage, and speak from the heart of your expertise at a meeting, fully expecting the brunt of retaliation that may be coming. Know that there are teachers in detention in China for doing the same thing who are inspired by our organizing work.

You may decide at the end of the day to stand up for public education, stand up for your students, to stand up for your colleagues as your way of standing up for a free and democratic public education despite some vague threat of intimidation. Know that teachers in Zimbabwe stood up with you in the name of democracy as they acted as election poll watchers across their country and they are inspired by our activism.

Your work and the work of teachers across the world must continue for our future to have the promise it is supposed to have. We have much work to do to make that happen. Please continue to stand together with me as a member of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers to do it.

Thank you!

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