Let’s Talk ESP Blog: Building the Collective
By Gail Kablau
Education Support Professional
WEAC ESP-at-Large Board Director
We spend a lot of time talking about the power of the collective in our Union, but in order to build that collective each of us must bring our own individual voices, and our voices must be heard.
We know that the best way to recruit new members is by having one on one conversations, but we can’t forget to continue to have those same conversations with our returning members. Needs change from year to year. We must truly listen to all of our members to know what kind of support they need, and how that might change the goals of our Local association.
If we truly listen to what our current members and those we want to recruit are telling us, then we can become a powerful collective in meeting our goals. Simply having a large number of members does not accomplish that – we must know our members, and then use their strengths to get them to be involved and active – only then does the collective gain that power.
This is true on the State and National level, as well. Local leaders need to let their Regional or Urban leaders know what they are experiencing, so they can assess what their goals need to be in order to meet the actual (not perceived) needs of their members. Communication needs to be two-way. If you don’t feel the State and/or National organization is meeting your Local’s needs, you must communicate that. When WEAC holds their monthly Local Leader Network Zoom call, make sure your Local leaders participate in it or send a designee. The same is true for when your Region or Urban holds their regular meetings with the Local leaders. Stronger locals can use their voices to teach those who are just growing, or have been stagnant for a while, learn ways to get stronger.
While there can be power in one voice, taking that one voice and adding the collective power behind it can mean the difference between sweeping changes for all, or just changes for that one person. Our collective is only as strong as the individual voices who join it. I urge all of your to add your voice to the collective in which you currently belong.
As the state-wide ESP-at-Large Representative on the WEAC Board, I write this blog to start a conversation to be able to hear your voice, and as a Union leader bring it to the State collective. What message do you want to send? Let’s Talk! I’m ready to listen.
- WEAC ESP webpage
- Join the NEA ESP Facebook Group
- Follow @NEArESPect on Twitter
- Key Facts About ESPs
- Helping ESPs Cope Through SEL
- Education Support Professional Organizing Toolkit
Gail Kablau is the WEAC Education Support Professional (ESP)-at-Large Board Representative. Contact her at: email@example.com.