PAT held our Annual (except during the pandemic) Representative and Organizer Retreat in Newport, OR on October 1st-2nd. We had almost 100 members and staff show up and get training on the fundamentals of representation, using grievances to build power, and how to win a strong contract through organizing. We finished up the weekend with sessions on organizing parents and communities and the role of our union in promoting racial justice. We also spent time connecting and decompressing at the coast, hopefully rejuvenating our spirits in preparation for the work ahead of us.
Finally, I hope that if you are feeling overwhelmed you can have some compassion for yourself. Remember, educators are constantly told to carry broken systems on their backs. One Special Educator here at PPS has this as her email signature: “I will not run myself ragged, to fit into raggedy systems” and I find myself quoting this a lot.
You are enough, you have the capacity to grow, you are doing the best you can with what you’ve been given. We are here for you.
President, Portland Association of Teachers