I am not in a union because I work at a private school.
I have a class size of 64.
I had a class size of 98 last year. Yes, all in one room at one time.
I am really good at my job, so I feel as secure about my job as anyone can feel in this climate of slashed budgets.
I have a really good colleague who is nervous about her continued employment if she has a bad day.
I don't think she should be nervous.
I have had colleagues who were not asked back, even though they had more seniority than I had.
I do not pretend to be in a position to judge if these teachers were good or not.
I can be told I have to stay late or come in early with very little notice.
I can get raises based on my (not my student's) performance, but there is no guarantee I will get raises.
I could get a pay cut based on budgetary needs (but this has not happened).
I can have additional duties added to my day, but this has never happened without compensation.
I have a weekend and there are additional days off during the month.
I usually work from home on these days, not because I am told to, but because my student's need me to.
I have a very flexible administration that can give me a yes or no answer very quickly if I have a question.
I have a lot more questions because there are fewer guidelines and policies.
I got to create the outline of the school's social studies curriculum.
I got to decide what my literature and math curricula would look like.
I got to decide what textbooks I wanted my students to have.
I did not get to order enough textbooks so that every student could have their own copy.
I can modify my curriculum at a moment's notice to meet the needs of my students.
I do not have to teach U.S. History in chronological order. (I teach it thematically)
I do not have health insurance.
I do not have benefits.
I have a husband whose career allows me to not require these things.
I have no idea if I would get any paid time off if I got pregnant or how much time I could take off without pay.
I just found out we have four-ish paid sick days a year.
I have gone into work when I was sick because I knew my students needed me, not a substitute.
I was able to take several days off at a moment's notice earlier this year when my father had a heart attack and required a quintuple bypass surgery.
I debated about, but eventually did not, Skype into my classroom while at the hospital to teach a lesson.
I had to attend meetings throughout the summer.
I had to miss work at my summer job to attend those meetings.
I work on modifying units, lessons, and try to learn new things over the summer whether I am at a meeting or not.
I have to work 70 hours some weeks (obviously some of this is from home), others I work 40.
I understand that while I don't get comp time for my 70-hour weeks, it is why I have the summer off.
I have worked 60-hour weeks in the summer and I have worked 0-hour weeks in the summer.
I don't know if people count reading PD books as work, but if they do, then I take back my previous statement about working 0-hour weeks in the summer.
I don't know where the line is between what I have to do and what I do because I want to be better.
I have to make a lot of 'I' statements because 'we' is very different without a union.
We really care about our students and want to do what is best for them.
We work well together as a very small team.
Some of these factors may be due to the fact that I am not in a union. Some of these factors may be due to the fact that I am at a fairly young school. Some of these factors may be due to the fact that I am young, don't have children, and am a certified work-a-holic. I know many of these things were true when I was in a Union as well.
This list isn't a list of brags or complaints. It's just what my life looks like.