Young educators speak out about work, life, and their union

By SHERRY POSNICK-GOODWIN Photos by SCOTT BUSCHMAN

IN CASE YOU haven’t noticed, the teaching profession is undergoing a profound generational shift. Thanks in large part to Proposition 30, schools are hiring — and many of the newbies in the classroom resemble students more than educators.

But it’s more than looking young. Millennials entering the profession in recent years have a different mindset. They have different needs and expectations than their baby boomer, Gen Y or Gen X counterparts.

As the first generation raised with social media, millennials (now in their 20s and early 30s) are eager to share, collaborate, and utilize technology in new and exciting ways. They embrace change in the classroom — and within their union.

Millennials’ relationship with CTA, in fact, is generally very positive, in large part due to CTA’s recent outreach efforts. A 2015 survey of almost 1,300 new teachers (defined as having less than 10 years’ experience) in California found that 86 percent had been contacted by CTA in the past year.

“Over a year ago, we asked chapters to set up member engagement teams,” notes CTA President Eric Heins.

There is much more to be done to engage younger members, but their generational traits, according to research, indicate that they’re ready to roll. Millennials are widely praised for being creative, smart, flexible, idealistic, and committed to social justice. (The media have also given them a bit of a bad rap, describing them as selfie-absorbed, entitled slackers.)

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