California Educator

May 2015

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Ask Dean take our profession back and become the rightful direc- tors of what happens in our schools and classrooms, it is our expertise, hard work and determined effort that will pave the way. It always has. As I prepare to move gracefully into retirement, I do so with a humble heart for your faith in me as your president and with pride for all we've been able to accomplish for the past four years. I'm also excited for what lies ahead for our union. I know the new lead- ership team will continue to keep the students at the center of every decision they make and will lead CTA wisely through the years ahead. Thank you for the work you do, for giving voice to the voiceless, for standing up and standing strong. You inspire me. So, I'd like to pay homage to the folks who shaped me and still inspire me on a daily basis, the educators and education support professionals who sit at the core of this remarkable enterprise we call public education. You're the teachers and the counselors, the nurses and the librarians, the speech-lan- guage pathologists and the social workers. You're the instructional assistants and the school secretaries, the bus drivers and the custodians. The list goes on and on. You're the folks who hold the school together, who work tirelessly to build and sustain positive learning environments for kids, and who often do so under some of the worst circumstances imaginable. You're continually asked to do more and more with less and less, and you do it, consistently, selflessly, and always with the highest regard for the students you serve. As your president for the last four years, I've had the opportunity to visit schools in Finland and Shanghai, and I've met with educators from Toronto and Singapore as well. We've talked about the dynamics of teaching and learning and argued over differences of opinion about "best practices." All of these places are high-performing countries and cities that we're continually being asked to emulate. But I'll tell you right now, the best teaching I've ever seen, the most innovative practice anywhere, is right here in California classrooms. In fact, California students, when you factor in the challenges like poverty and learning a new language, are among the highest-scoring students in the world. Considering the years with insufficient resources, the lack of relevant professional learning opportunities, mandated, scripted curriculum, and the incessant, toxic standardized testing, many would call this a miracle. Well, it's not a miracle at all. The success of California's students is the direct result of your hard work and determined effort. Educators are some of the most courageous, determined, resilient people on the planet. And as we push back against the corporate reformers and the privatizers, as we fight to Dean E. Vogel C T A P R E S I D E N T ank you! As I contemplate the last few weeks of my term as president of CTA, I find myself drawn to the memory of what brought me to this position in the first place. I'm not referring to the union work in all its various manifestations. I'm remembering the calling I felt, from somewhere deep within me, to be a teacher, an educator, and how hard I worked to be the best educator I could be. It's been a long time since I was an elementary school counselor in Vacaville, and even longer since I was a classroom teacher. But I still miss teaching, and I miss it every single day. Nothing has ever made me "tick" like being in a classroom with kids, and I'll always consider myself a teacher first and foremost. CTA/NEA-RETIRED If you, like me, find yourself near- ing retirement, or if you are making plans to retire, please sign up for CTA/NEA-Retired. Whether you plan to retire 20 years from now or have just recently retired, membership will deliver rewards throughout your lifetime. Plus, membership in CTA/ NEA-Retired offers a seamless way to stay connected, be protected, and enjoy the benefits of membership. Learn more at 3 V O L U M E 1 9 I S S U E 9

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