By Gail Kablau
Well, it’s holiday season! We have spent so much time dealing with COVID-19 and the November election, it kind of snuck up on us – at least it did for me. And, yes, sadly we are still dealing with the pandemic and election fallout, but let’s take a break from all that. Whether this time of year you enjoy family, religious, or cultural celebrations, find creative and positive ways to enjoy them.
This year, Thanksgiving week came on the heels of the NEA American Education Week, and the end of the WERC recertification election. While it’s nice to have a week where there are official “thanks” for ESP members (Wed. Nov. 18th), I am thankful for the opportunity to work with my ESP colleagues, and to connect with so many of you around the State all year long. Although, I have to say, going into the long holiday weekend knowing that the majority of Wisconsin Locals who participated in the recertification election were successful did give me another thing to be thankful for.
But, let’s not wait for holidays and days of official recognition to stop and take note of our contribution to public education. Let’s make sure to take the time to celebrate each other every week, especially now as we work our way through whatever education looks like in each of our neck of the woods throughout this pandemic. Let’s continue to be creative in how we do our work, and recognize each other’s accomplishments, large and small, on a regular basis.
Thank a colleague who showed you a new way to do something. Check in on each other to make sure everyone is OK. Send an electronic card just to brighten someone’s day and let them know they’re doing a great job. Or just listen to a team member who needs to get something off their chest – really listen – listen for understanding, not to respond. Not only will you make their day, but it will brighten yours as well.
Don’t forget to reach out to those who are struggling. Make sure to keep fighting for those who are being punished with layoffs and furloughs when our Districts choose to balance their budgets on the backs of our ESP members. Find ways to help them celebrate at this time of the year, too.
And when navigating the upcoming holidays, take a real look at how and what you are celebrating. This year, let’s make our focus more about family than “things”. What traditions do you carry on from year to year? Do you still find joy in those traditions? If not, make new ones, and carry those forward.
December 10th begins my weeklong Hanukkah celebration. Hanukkah means “dedication” in Hebrew. It is a celebration of freedom from oppression. It is a reminder to me that we must always be vigilant and take action whenever we see an unjust or excessive exercise of power. So, for this year’s celebration, I will honor those who have exercised their right to vote, both in the National election and for recertification, so we can continue the important work we do as a Union to fight for what is just. I know that many of my Union ESP brothers and sisters were integral in making those elections successful. I celebrate all of you.
How will you celebrate this year? Let’s Talk!
- Join the NEA ESP Facebook Group
- Follow @NEArESPect on Twitter
- Key Facts About ESPs
- Helping ESPs Cope Through SEL
Gail Kablau is the WEAC Education Support Professional (ESP)-at-Large Board Representative. Contact her at: email@example.com.