My First Election

Did you run for student council when you were in high school?  I didn’t.  I haven’t really run for anything.  The only thing that might, sort-of, qualify is the election of building stewards for the union.  But that’s more of a situation where you volunteer to do it and there’s an election to make it official.

Last Fall I decided to try to get elected to the Board of Trustees of our pension fund.  For the last 13 years I’ve been on the PAC associated with the fund.  It’s the perfect education for the board because you learn about pension legislation and try to educate legislators about your issues, etc.  It has also helped to be on two contract negotiating teams and a trustee of the union scholarship fund.  I guess I had to be elected to be a trustee for the scholarship fund, but it’s more like an uncontested election and there isn’t really any question of being elected.  The point is, I’ve got decent credentials to be elected to the board for this election.

The tricky thing about this election is that there is another person on the board with my same last name.  The other one has been retired for about 15 years.  Many active teachers do not know him.  Many retirees do.

When you have the same last name, people have various expectations.  It’s hard for people to understand that you can still be completely professional.  The two of us actually do have experience at this already, but it was about 15 years ago when we taught in the same building.  We were colleagues in the same department with rooms in opposite hallways and rarely saw each other.

When I decided to run for the board, I got all of the paperwork ready and submitted.  Mr Same-name did not know I was running.  He found out when another board member told him.

The results of the election were made public at the annual meeting this past Thursday.  The top three candidates get elected and there were four of us running.  I’ll admit that it was nice to hear that people were glad that I was running and supported me.  I actually received enough votes to keep up with the incumbents.  The candidate that finished fourth was very gracious and said that he didn’t expect to get elected and he thought I had great credentials for the board.

So now I start my first 3-year term and learn more about investing and pension legislation.  My vocabulary will be expanding with Large Cap, Mid Cap and Small Cap Growth, actuarial assumptions, stocks, bonds, equity, annuities, real estate, securities, and the list goes on.  Mr Same-name and I will take on a new adventure of being colleagues of sorts once again.  We’ll have our professional relationship in the board room.  Outside that venue, I’ll still call him Dad.

The Voice

It’s gone.  It left on Thursday.  I’m hoping it will return by Monday.  I believe the key will be to remain silent.  But that will be interesting since today I’m supposed to be at the bargaining table from noon – 8pm.  I can whisper my questions to a colleague or write down my thoughts, I suppose.  At any rate, it will be easier to stay quiet than yesterday.

Teaching without a voice is rather interesting.  For the most part, it can be better than teaching with one.  The kids are more attentive because they have to be.  Everything is being communicated with hand signals and writing.  When a student understands and verbalizes it, I have them repeat that for the class.  It’s a more cooperative effort.  It makes me wonder if I should try this approach when I’m healthy…

So why did I go to school instead of calling in sick?  I actually felt pretty decent.  The main issue was my voice.  And even without a voice, I can get more done any day than a sub can with one.  Like any teacher will tell you, it’s more work to be gone than to be there.  I honestly didn’t have the time to make sub plans.

So we’ll see if recovery is in the cards for me this weekend.  I really hope so.  If not, I can at least figure out when I could take a day next week.