Student WEA members - our future
Dozens of Student WEA members are gathering this weekend in Federal Way to discuss unionism 101, leadership, cultural competency, culturally responsive strategies and classroom management. On Monday, many of them will attend WEA Member Lobby Day in Olympia.
Central Kitsap EA member and trainer, JD Sweet says he wants participants to take this training and be willing to try to bring the best of the old, along with new ways of doing things.
Elizabeth Blandin, Central Kitsap EA member and trainer says, “WEA provides a lot of resources, such as this training. We want new teachers to network with each other. And, we don’t want them to accept status quo. They are change agents, even though they are new to the profession.”
Erin Eggert, trainer and Lake Washington EA member says, “I feel privileged to be part of this work. We are helping to show them how to build relationships with their students.”
Sweet, Blandin and Eggert say their involvement training on behalf of the union first began because their local leaders reached out to members, offering new leadership opportunities. These three WEA members now occasionally travel across the state to provide similar trainings. NEA grant dollars also contribute in a great way, they say.
Student WEA President Brandy Alley has attended many trainings. She says this one is different because there’s a focus on “prepping our kids to be better citizens, while building relationships in the classroom.”
While some participants have attended other WEA trainings or participated as a WEA Representative Assembly delegate, others mention this is their first WEA training.
Julie Wilske is studying to be a second-grade teacher. Her education career began as a para.
“Attending this training has helped me look into my own self biases,” says Julie. “The support of our union and colleagues is incredible.”