How mid-October snuck up on us so quickly is a wonder. I go through moments where I feel like the days are dragging and other moments where I don’t remember which day of the week it is because the days are rushing by so quickly. We are maneuvering our way through some still very rocky days for public education and still dealing with the effects of the global pandemic. It is extremely important to me that you know YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB handling everything that you are going through. Every day will not be perfect and in each moment you may not feel like celebrating, but please know that every day has a purpose. I have felt the exhaustion and pressure to do everything I can for my students, but despite the thought that everything will just go back to normal, we are seeing the effects of the pandemic on our students more than ever. The academic and social issues we are all seeing no matter what level we teach is clearly evident. There was an expectation by many that children who required special services, those living in poverty, as well as ELLs would be the most affected from the pandemic, but those are not the only groups requiring more from us than ever before. We all want to help and be there for our students, but remember that you are also dealing with, processing and even recovering from the pandemic. We have shared with everyone who will listen that we were ‘Christmas break tired’ by the end of September. We have asked for deadlines to be pushed back and expressed that we get some relief. We will continue to do that as often as the opportunity arises. Burnout is real and many people are feeling it. We keep trying to be very positive to ‘better serve the students’ but please know that we all deserve a decent work experience. One that doesn’t drain every moment of our lives. You deserve to show up for yourself and serve yourself sometimes too. I read a quote the other day that made me understand why some teachers are so hard on themselves but no matter what people who don’t do this job may say “ you are not lazy, unmotivated, or stuck...after (a couple) years of living your life in survival mode, you are exhausted. There is a difference! I thank you for continuing to do your best, even if you are not seeing the results yet, I believe it will pay off.
Good news to share that will benefit many of us:
After suing the former Education secretary, Randi Weingarten and AFT have won a case that will help members with public service loan forgiveness. The AFT can help all borrowers right now, be prepared to apply for PSLF under the new rules, get on track for PSLF and save money on their monthly payments. Here are the key points:
- They are implementing a waiver period, if a public servant made 120 payments over ten years, they should now qualify for PSLF.
- As part of the settlement in the groundbreaking case Weingarten V. DeVos, everyone who applied for PSLF and was denied, will get a review of their application and should now qualify for discharge.
- Our partner, Summer, will help AFT members navigate this new process. AFT members can sign up for a free account with Summer here: https://www.aft.org/benefits/summer
You may need our FFT local union number which is: 01889, as well as your AFT number which is just your NYSUT number preceded by the letters NY. (Ex. NY9481941).
In terms of things of note for October, I hope you were or will be able to recognize:
Hispanic Heritage Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Italian American Heritage Month, Coming Out Day, Indigenous Peoples Day, Domestic Violence Month; AIDS awareness Month, Unity Day