July 1, 2006

NEA Representative Assembly volunteering

I drove about 3-1/2 hours today, back and forth to Orlando for my orientation session at the National Education Association Representative Assembly, which starts its official sessions tomorrow. I'll be at a microphone station tomorrow through Tuesday, but it seemed silly to go to a morning orientation session and spend the night there when I could as easily drive back home, turn around, wake up at 5:15 tomorrow morning to drive back, and have half a day more with my family.

After the orientation session and lunch, I walked through the exhibit hall. There are the usual booths you'd expect—on insurance, on different disciplines, on various gadgets good and bad (the most clever simple idea: a hard-plastic cover to go over a flat desk and that can take dry-erase marker), as well as the sponsors' booths (such as a satellite-TV company, where about a dozen others and I watched the overtime and penalty kicks of the England-Portugal game). There were a bunch of empty booths (in terms of no teachers being interested). And there were the consumer-item booths (massage recliners and foot stuff seemed popular, as were clothing and jewelry). Then there were the affinity-interest groups, such as the women's interest caucus, the NEA Democratic caucus, and a bunch of others—and, lest you think the NEA is one-sided, there's the Educators for Life caucus and a Creation Science caucus (the latter of which makes me wince).

The most interesting, which I'm not sure enough appreciate, is the booth commemorating the 40th anniversary of the merger of the NEA and the American Teachers Association, the former Black teachers association in the years of legal segregation... and for 12 years after Brown v. Board.

I don't know if I'll have internet access there... I'm sure I'll have to pay for it unless I go somewhere with either my particular cell-phone company's hotspot. Maybe there'll be a cybercafe for the convention. (There is at the Florida Education Association delegate assembly.)

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Posted in Random comments on July 1, 2006 5:59 PM |