Voice cover story: A common thread
Voice: January 2016
It’s all about the students.
Talk to teachers and support professionals in PSEA locals around the state, and that comment is a common thread – a tightly woven quilt of passion for educating kids and preparing them for life.
“I sometimes run into former students who are out in life and doing well, and they often express their appreciation,’’ said Lorraine Hall, ESP president at the Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit. “That makes you feel like you’ve served a purpose.’’
As a veteran educator and now PSEA president, Jerry Oleksiak has seen the outstanding work and service of PSEA members both in the classroom and on behalf of the Association.
“PSEA members do yeoman’s work in helping the Association advocate on legislative and professional issues,’’ Oleksiak said. “But what should never be overlooked is the passion they bring to their classrooms, and their schools, and their communities. They are the hearts and souls of public education in this state.’’
By the same token, many educators say they are well aware of the role PSEA plays in their day-to-day jobs, and for public education in general.
“I tell people all the time you have to speak up publicly,’’ said Veronica Connaroe, president of the Iroquois EA in Erie County. “We can’t just leave it to the lobbyists.’’
When they fight for issues like state funding, and with it classes and programs that help kids learn, Connaroe and others know exactly what they’re doing: helping their students. That, they say, is their real reward.
They are veterans of decades in schools, they are in mid-career, they are just starting out, and they are college students aspiring to be teachers.
The January 2016 issue of Voice features some of their stories.