The Challenges Facing Students and Teachers in 2018

Steve Adubato goes on-location to the 2017 NJEA Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, to talk to Sean M. Spiller, Vice President, NJEA about the issues facing teachers and students both in and out of the classroom.

1/29/18 #2112






"We have the Vice President of the NJEA, Sean M. Spiller is in the house. Good to see buddy. Good see you. Always. The theme, right off the bat, the theme of this year's convention is all about social justice? Yes. Talk to us about it. You know what? I think we all recognize it's important for all of us to be fighting for... helping communities, helping people. It's a buzzword sometimes nowadays, people using it, but I think at the core of what we stand for, unionism, is about, at the core of what our members do with education, it's about helping people. It's about giving people a shot at that American Dream I always like to say. And that's social justice. Making sure everyone has that chance, everyone has that opportunity. Making something more fair. That's what this is about. You and I have had conversations before, to fully disclose, our younger children in the public schools in Montclair, a town you know very well. Right? I know well, yes. You have a role there in Montclair? Yeah, a Councilman in Montclair. [laughter] My Councilman. [laughter] Yes. But here's what I'm curious about. Education in your life? Teachers in your life growing up? So so so important. And impactful. I always share with people that, you know, your parents, I think, are some of the most impactful people in your lives. But beyond that, it's a... it's usually an educator, or somebody in that role, whether it be formal education or some people, it's a coach, some people it's another mentor, but for me? Yeah. There were so many along the way that I can... Many or a few? For me? I'd say, I can think of three that... and and the reason I think of it that way, I became a science teacher, and... Was there a...? Excuse me for interrupting Sean. Was there a science teacher who really connected with you? And that's why I came up with that number, because as I thought back to it, they were all science teachers. So I think, absolutely, you know, that's absolutely the case. What grades? High school, college, and before that was, I guess, also high school, right? As I was going there. Really? So yeah, and it was... it was something where I always looked to them as an inspiration. I always, you know, just loved being in their classes, and, you know, when it was even in college, I just loved to, you know, have a relationship with them as much as I could. You know, it's your formative years. But for me, it really made a lot of difference. So yeah. What did you..."