Education Opinion

Free to Be Me

By John Wilson — November 09, 2011 2 min read
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I woke up at my usual 5:00 A.M. on September 1st and realized that my life had changed. No longer did I have to drive that mile down 16th Street to the National Education Association (NEA) headquarters for my usual 10-12 hour day. No longer did I have to be available 24/7 to deal with the latest attack on my profession. No longer did I have to manage the stress of being responsible for 555 of the greatest employees or 3.2 million of the best members in the world who, on any given day, could turn my office into a drama department. I was retired. I was free--free to be me!

Today, I am honored to be a part of the blogging community to share my experiences, my ideas, and my rants and raves. As a member of the teaching profession for over 40 years, and a practicing classroom teacher for 23 of those years, I join ranks with those who honor and respect the teaching profession. I expect every person who deems to call himself or herself a teacher to be ethical, highly qualified, high performing as well as give unconditional support and love to every child they teach.

Beyond my commitment to teachers and education support professionals, I have been a child advocate. I am distressed with the growing poverty rate of our children. I have spent my entire adult life advocating and developing programs that assure poor children will stay in school, have access to quality health care, and be provided the basic necessities of food, clothing, and love. Expect me to have a lot to say about how we treat children, and I will not hesitate to take on the bureaucracy and the policymakers that drag their feet to the detriment of our children.

Finally, I know more about the NEA than most of those who write commentaries based on folk lore, political diatribe, and sometimes just plain untruths. I always get a chuckle out of those who would write about the NEA and yet never bother to call, text, tweet, or email anyone at the NEA to confirm their facts or challenge their opinions. So often, they get it wrong.

I have been a member of the NEA since 1966, when I was a student at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC. I have served on their highest level governing body, and I have served as their highest ranking staff member, executive director. I know the good people at the NEA, and I intend to challenge them to use their power for good teaching, the best interests of our students, and unifying all supporters of public education.

I am excited about launching this blog. I encourage you to share your comments with me as well as information and ideas for this blog. I am unleashing my best, and I invite you to unleash yours.

The opinions expressed in John Wilson Unleashed are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.