From the TUC

Shazia’s union helps her grow as a teacher – #heartunions

13 Feb 2017, By

8th – 14th February 2017 is #heartunions week, celebrating the great work unions do, and paying tribute to the reps who are an important part of that. The Unsung Heroes series is running all week, sharing stories from reps and members about how being part of their union has impacted their lives.

Shazia joined her first teaching union within months of securing her first job.

“Colleagues mentioned the importance of being part of a union and gave me some suggestions as to which union I should join. Once I realised the benefits of joining far out-weighed the cost I was happy to pay the monthly fee as I believe it is value for money.”

She quickly discovered that joining a union was a huge part of growing as a teacher, furthering her career and feeling more confident and able in the classroom.

“I first joined the teaching union – ATL and very quickly was asked if I would be happy to be the school rep. I later joined my second teaching union – The NUT – as their CPD [continual personal development] programme looked really interesting.

“As a teacher, sometimes the constant marking and planning means you can quite easily forget about your own development.

“Accessing CPD programmes through my unions has enabled me to grow as a teacher. I feel more confident when teaching and I believe sharing experiences with others is invaluable for your personal growth.”

It’s not just in the classroom that being an active union member has helped Shazia grow. It’s a great way to build on other important skills.

“I am currently the President for the Bradford division (NUT) and I was also elected to the NUT’s Young Teachers Working Forum. Since joining I have attended the union’s annual conferences.

“My role as a school rep has further developed my communication and negotiation skills. My involvement with unions has given me the confidence to communicate with senior management.”

Finally, being part of a wider community is a key part of the union experience for Shazia.

“My union gives me the opportunity to meet and liaise with other teachers across my region and the country.

“I believe when you feel strongly about something it’s great to join other like-minded people and collectively you can support each other and make your voice heard.”

The big aim for #heartunions week is to encourage more people to join a union. Please share this page with friends, colleagues and neighbours. If we each get one person to join a union this week, we’ll be well on the way to getting a better deal for working people all year round.

To find a union –

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