Editorials

The many faces of the UFT

Say the word “teacher” and the image that comes to most people’s mind is a person standing at the head of the class.

The UFT knows differently.

Teaching has a broader meaning, encompassing different kinds of educators, including those who work with children every day, but not necessarily at the head of the class or in the classroom at all.

To showcase these educators, who are members of what the union has traditionally referred to as its “functional chapters,” the New York Teacher is introducing a new feature to shed light on the vital work they perform.

“What I do” will appear in every other issue, so that UFT members can get a snapshot of how, exactly, their many types of colleagues spend the day.

Each segment will highlight a member from one of these chapters, be they guidance counselors, occupational and physical therapists, paraprofessionals, secretaries, lab specialists, school nurses, speech pathologists, attendance teachers, psychologists, social workers, audiologists or others.

We’re talking about members without whom a school could not run.

And there are educators and members providing crucial services to the children and families in our communities who do not set foot in a school building during their workday: the homebound teachers, hospital bedside teachers and nurses who take care of us, our children, our parents and loved ones at home or in hospital settings.

The list goes on.

What they have in common is the high standard with which they perform their indispensable work every day.

It’s high time we take stock of who they are and what they do and celebrate these members.

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