“You guide by example. “said Jorge Cordoba, a Pupil Personnel Worker at Meade High School, referring to his own children who often attend rallies and are learning to make their voices heard about issues that matter to them. For Cordoba, his activism and how he shows up for his students, including his own family, are deeply connected.
“As a PPW, I was inspired to help students who are homeless, students who are in really difficult situations that need resources,” said Cordoba, who began his career in education as a biology teacher in Colombia. He continued, “I think teaching is a way to improve society. You can see the difference you can make in some kids. They become better human beings.”
In order to provide the students with the support they deserve, Cordoba was faced with systemic problems, which led him to become active in TAAAC.
“When I started as an ESOL teacher at Arundel High School, we didn’t have any resources. We didn’t have books, we didn’t have dictionaries, we didn’t have Chromebooks. There was an empty classroom, with a teacher, without chalk. That’s how critical the situation was,” said Cordoba. That need for resources fired him up fired him up to advocate for funding for the program.
“Only an empowered teacher can empower students. I found a way to empower myself through the union,” said Cordoba, who has joined the ELL cadre at the National Education Association to learn from educators around the country. Cordoba says, “When we have organized as TAAAC, we become powerful and people listen to us.”
Speaking to new educators and union members, Cordoba says advocacy can start small. Any action you take together with your colleagues – whether in your school, in your community, or at the Board of Education – will build your power to make a change. He says to educators looking to join TAAAC, “A union is like the closest thing to having hope…We need more ideas, more people participating.”
During Educator Appreciation Week, Cordoba wants the community to know that our schools belong to everyone in the community, even if you don’t have kids.
“A good school increases the value of your home. A good school brings good teachers. A good school kids better and go to a good college or get a job for their trade and skills. Good schools make a difference for everyone, even if you don’t have young kids,” said Cordoba, who also is on the Board of Directors for TAAAC. He continued, That is why we need better salaries for everyone – bus drivers, TAs, cafeteria workers, custodians, teachers, everyone. It’s going to benefit the entire society.”
Watch Cordoba’s shoutout to his colleagues for Educator Appreciation Week, as well as shoutouts from other educators, here!