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ATPE Is Just Different

Association of Texas Professional Educators
Association of Texas Professional Educators

Date Posted: 8/20/2015

I imagine most of you have eaten at a Chick-fil-A restaurant a couple of times in your life. If you are like me, it’s way more than “a couple of times,” and you have trouble counting how many different locations you have visited. For those who can relate, isn’t their outreach just a little “different” from other fast-food franchises? To me, the wait staff is warmer, friendlier, more sincere, and more service-oriented across the board. I can even tell their positive lilt in the voices coming out of the drive-through speaker!

It’s not like the other restaurants are unfriendly. In fact, I can find certain individuals like at the “golden arches” who meet or even exceed the standards at Chick-fil-A. So what’s the deal? Well, it just has to be more effective leadership based on a better philosophy, right? I’m sure when interviewing potential hires, the managers look for exactly the same qualities mentioned above, and once hired, employees are constantly coached to make their outreach something people notice as “special.”

My point is, the leadership, philosophy, and therefore the members of ATPE are also unique, and to me—without question—set apart from the union organizations. Just like I can tell the voice in the drive-through speaker sounds different, so do I think I could tell sight unseen a conversation between ATPE members compared to union members. What are the keys? First, less complaining about what can’t change and more vision about what can. Second, the feeling that this job is way more than a paycheck, and there’s a much deeper commitment than the three reasons many people teach—June, July, and August. And, third, more of a “servant’s heart”—a love for students and a spiritual calling to help them become fine adults. Can you find these attributes among union members? Of course! Often—and widespread! But take it from me folks, ATPE is just “different.” If you don’t agree, find out for yourself!

Okay, it’s now 9 a.m. Time to go and get that #1 breakfast combo, a chicken biscuit with potato rounds and a half-n-half sweet/unsweet iced tea. Wait! It’s not Sunday, is it? (And as we all know, that issue could start a whole ‘nother conversation. )

Dr. Kenneth Poppe is a science/math teacher at Carter-Riverside High School in Fort Worth, Texas, and this year's ATPE Secondary Educator of the Year. He received his doctorate from the University of North Texas in 1986 and has worked as a professor on university teacher education staffs and a field rep for alternative schools at the state department of education. But his ultimate love is the classroom, where he started his career in Dallas in 1971.

Views and opinions expressed in guest posts are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of ATPE.