When meeting new people, a question you are often asked is," So what do you do for a living?" Seems like an innocent enough getting-to-know-you kind of question. Before I became a teacher, I worked two part-time non-profit/movement jobs in Detroit. The getting to know you conversation would go something like this:
Them: "So, what do you for a living?"
Me: "Oh, I am a bookkeeper and program manager for a small non-profit made up of union members who were working to bring the 'movement' back into the labor movement. We are educating about the importance of ground up, rank and file organizing in order to overthrow the entrenched leadership of the arguably most powerful labor union in the country!"
This month, we are kicking off a new column, featuring Rachel Parsons, a teacher in New York City. With teachers on the front lines in the battle against public education, Rachel discusses the complexities of the job, including the complex dimensions of race, class, gender, sexuality, and how they intersect with learning and schools. Rachel will also touch the question of democratic voice in education for students, teachers and parents, challenges of working with the union, and the daily rewards and challenges that make up the job. —Ed