Five ETFO members share their perspectives about the union and their engagement within it in an interview. Here is what they had to say.
Question 1: What would you say to new teachers about ETFO?
ETFO is the union for elementary teachers that advocates and protects our teachers’ rights. Get to know your union. Get involved early! You are your union and so many opportunities are available for new teachers. Grab a friend and show up to something local or provincial. Make sure ETFO has your contact information and stay connected to your Local. ETFO sends out lots of valuable information, but your Local should be your first call for clarification and support. Know your union and get involved.
Question 2: What benefits or advantages do you feel you have gained from being a member of ETFO? The collective strength of the union. Access to information and resources to help inform my practice as an educator.
Deep learning, meaningful connections with educators all across Ontario. Collective Bargaining is so important, especially when faced with systems that don’t show value for teachers and education. The government can talk about how they promote education, but their actions and budgets do not reflect this. Support and knowing my rights are protected as an educator is a crucial benefit of being a member of ETFO. ETFO fights for my rights as an educator and for the rights of my students in the classroom.
ETFO workshops are very educational and supportive of teachers’ needs even when we don’t know what our needs are. The Annual Meeting in Toronto and the Professional Learning offered create space to meet meaningfully with fellow teachers across the province. I also look forward to the events and workshops provided by my Local. Learning from/with racialized and marginalized educators wherever the opportunity presents itself in ETFO’s programming challenges my thinking and enables me to refine my teaching practice each year.