Steve (Fairfax County Federation of Teachers Local 2401)

VIDEO

Steve discovered his passion for working with kids while coaching little league baseball in high school, “we weren’t the best team, but we did a lot of growing, a lot of learning and we had a great time.” Steve realized that he worked well with children and found out that not only could he impart knowledge but he also could “make a difference in their attitude and how they perceived themselves.”

Steve is the current President of the Fairfax Federation of Teachers. He has been an educator for 22 years and talks fondly of the age group that he prefers to work with. As Steve puts it, children between 2nd and 4th grade “are very curious at that age. They’re thirsty for knowledge. Socially, they’re generally very open to learning when it comes to dealing with other people. [They] tend to be very compassionate of each other and care about other people.”

Asked about the misconceptions around teachers’ unions, Steve points out the obvious, “A teachers’ union is a group of teachers. You cannot separate teachers’ unions from teachers. Everyone I talk to, represent, and survey is a current classroom teacher.”

For Steve, an obvious source of pride is how active his local membership is in the community. He easily rattles off a dozen community projects his members are engaged in including everything from programs for nutritious food, later start times for high school students, literacy programs, poverty relief- the list literally goes on and on. “The same things that the parents want are the same things that teachers want because, ultimately, they are the things that help the children do the best and that’s what we’re all here for.”

“It’s the quality of communication. It’s the quality of relationships- whether or not people trust each other and whether they genuinely care about the perspective of the other person to the point of making adjustments.” This theme of genuine collaboration and partnership clearly motivates Steve. He adds, “That’s the level that’s needed to make a difference in public school systems.”

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