California Educator

August/September 2020

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W E S P O K E W I T H a few members of the new Student CTA Executive Board as they set SCTA and individual goals and prepared to enter the teaching profession: Commu- nications Editors Ariana Avila and Haley Castello, President Viridiana Castro Silva, Secretary-Treasurer Jessica Chamness, Southern Regional VP Selaima Tamotuu, and Central Regional VP Tristan Wieser. First things first. What attracts you to the teaching profession? AVIL A: Teaching is a profession that teaches all professions. It's a gift to be in children's lives every day. CASTELLO: My goal is to be involved in underserved communities because teachers did that for me. There are so many brilliant students, and I can't wait to work with them. CHAMNESS: Making a positive impact on students' lives like my teachers did for me. To pay it forward. Both of my grandparents were teachers, too. It's just something I've always wanted to do. TAMOTUU: In high school I had a crazy teacher who was so passionate about her job — she inspired me. I want to be crazy and out of this world, just like her. WIESER: One person can do so much, and we can have an impact on history if we apply ourselves. That's why I teach. CASTRO SILVA: I've wanted to be a teacher since I was 3, and that hasn't changed. The time I've spent in the class- room is rewarding. As a board, you have "distributive leadership." What does that mean? CASTRO SILVA: It means all board posi- tions have equal value. We need everyone to run SCTA. While I was elected president, I'm not the face of SCTA. We all are SCTA. We enjoy being part of our union family, CCA and CTA, knowing we can go to them if we need any help. CHAMNESS: As a board we are not afraid to make a stand and make change. We're not afraid to do the right thing, even if it is difficult. What are your visions for racial and social justice, in SCTA and the larger world? AVIL A: Social justice is our focus, and it won't be complete in a year. An import- ant board objective is dismantling white supremacy culture and institutional racism. It's a long journey — reshaping the educa- tion system, adding equity to every part of a student's journey. TAMOTUU: SCTA has a direct mission to call out racism and help educate about such behaviors. A fish doesn't discover water. It lives there. We are equipping our members and ourselves with tools to grow in our field of study. If we don't address racism now, future generations will be in a constant cycle. It has to break at some point. CASTELLO: This is not just a trend for us. We'll keep on, and we hope to see more SCTA members involved. CHAMNESS: We'll continue to educate ourselves and others on racial and social injustice so we can interact better with our students and with each other. WIESER: [We are] encouraging civic activism, especially with November elections. Protests and statements are meaningless unless our members are at the ballot box each election. In six Looking at the Future The new Student CTA board speaks out By Cynthia Menzel Ariana Avila Haley Castello Jessica Chamness 59 A U G U S T / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 0 CTA & You

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