Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving to All

I wish a happy holiday to every reader of this blog, whether regular, occasional, or accidental.  This is one of the best holidays. Unless you're the one doing the cooking and cleaning (I'm not), all you have to do is get together with family. I'm grateful for having family with which to get together, and I certainly hope you do too.

Of course, there's your crazy uncle in the red hat who thinks being a teacher is akin to being on welfare, but sometimes it's best to smile and let him pass. After all, whether or not you engage him he's still going home to hear the Gospel According to Fox News.

I'm thankful for living by the Nautical Mile in Freeport, pictured at left. I walk there every morning with my best bud Toby. I tell him all my deep dark secrets, and he's never betrayed my trust. We make a lot of friends, both human and canine, on that road. (I'm not quite as thankful during natural disasters like Sandy, when the canal comes to my house to visit, but I won't dwell on that today.) I'm thankful for the balance Toby and I experience walking up and down the canal in absolutely every kind of weather.

I'm thankful today for having the best job in the world. Every day I get to wake up, go to work, and meet kids who inspire me. They come from all over the world, and they have every sort of story to tell. If I succeed in making them write and speak enough, I get to see them. Of course that's not always the case.

My second job is chapter leader of the largest school in Queens. That job is insane, but who's to say that's different from being a New York City public school teacher? Sometimes I'm able to help people. Sometimes I'm able to get people over the fear that seems to be inherent in this job. Sometimes I'm not, though, and that's reflective of my job as ESL teacher. Some students were dragged here kicking and screaming, or arrived months into my program, and are not yet ready to
learn English.

I'm thankful for being in a union. I'm thankful to have hundreds of thousands of brothers and sisters ready to stand with me if Michael Bloomberg succeeds at buying the presidency. I'm thankful to live in a state where we have collective bargaining, and not to have to go on strike when our state's leaders say, "Screw you, we're upping your insurance payments and reducing your salary because we can."

I'm thankful for being in a position where I can work to change things for the better. I'm thankful to be in a position to encourage and enable others to do the same. I'm thankful for all the people both in my building and in UFT who support me in this work. I'm thankful to be in a position to contribute to defeating demagogues like Trump and Bloomberg, and to be able to work to empower leaders who actually care about those of us who do the work in this country.

I'm thankful for everyone who takes a moment out of his or her day to read these reflections. I hope I bring you a little hope or enjoyment here and there. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday weekend. Make no mistake; you absolutely deserve it.
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