Rank & File Teachers Unite
Notes from 7/1, 8/5, and 9/2 2009 meetings
Lessons Learned from NYC Teachers: Strategies for Organizing Your Chapter
- Stay informed, but don’t put pressure on yourself to know everything! Get connected with resource networks (ICE, GEM, Teachers Unite) and knowledgeable allies. Check ednotesonline.blogspot.com.
- Know the contract
- Your District Leader can be a resource with basic information.
4. Distribute leadership among all teachers
5. Set up a leadership committee with representatives from each department
6. The School Leadership Team is a possible avenue for organizing
7. Organize a Consultation Committee of UFT members with diverse views in your school who meet regularly with the principal to solve problems
Ø Different Consultation Committee strategies you can try:
a) Form the committee each month and find people depending on the issue
b) In advance, ask everyone to commit to one month of being on the committee
c) Get whole chapter involved in the Consultation Committee process:
i. At your chapter meetings, find out the issues identified by teachers
ii. Ask if anyone wants to work on these issues and bring them to a pre-consultation committee meeting to plan the agenda with other teachers
iii. Have the consultation committee meeting with the principal after working out details with other teachers
iv. Write up what happens as a result of the meeting and report out to the chapter!
d) Put an envelope or folder up in an accessible location where teachers can drop off notes with concerns/issues for the Consultation Committee to work on.
Foster communication among your school community
8. Organize a newsletter (online or paper--hardcopies in mailboxes can be an important documentation/organizing tool) or listserv for your chapter
9. Possibly 2 listservs (one shares official announcements, one provides analytical/critical points of view)
• Consider setting up a parent listserv
10. Get your colleagues talking, provide a coffee space for chatting
11. Set up a blog as a continuous resource with useful information
12. Set up a weekly coffee with your principal if appropriate
13. Support targeted teachers as a chapter, not just as an individual
Ø Mass email to Randi/UFT
14. Always remember: the role of the Chapter Leader and Delegate is to defend the contract!
Defensive strategies: Be a visible leader, cultivate allies and protect yourselves
15. Speak–up in meetings!
16. Build relationships with parents
17. Emphasize documentation among teachers (keep track of anecdotals with administration, recordings, etc.)
18. Suggest that you and your colleagues carry your schedules with you at all times (including their plan for the week) in case your principal asks you to do more. This way, teachers can show the principal their schedules and ask the principal when he/she thinks the request could be conducted, and/or what should be dropped to make room for it. (See time accountability tool attached to this page "Weekly Plan for Non-Teaching Periods")
19. Support untenured, new teachers through monthly chapter meetings and consultation committee meetings.
Ø Assign “delegates” within a school to inform new teachers of their rights