Reunions and Unions: My Summer Vacation Travel Log

Illustration of United States by Serge Seidlitz

Illustration of United States by Serge Seidlitz

By Nick McDaniels — As my summer vacation winds to an end, my summer of blogging would not be complete without a little travel log. At the end of July, I attend festivities in Milwaukee related to my five-year reunion.

This was my first time in Milwaukee since my last day of student teaching. A lot has changed and a lot is still the same. Marquette, as you all know, is building a lot. Most importantly than scenery, however, I was able to connect with classmates, some from the College, or, as it was when we graduated, School of Education.

I’m always proud to speak with my classmates who are doing great things for the lives of children. This proves to me that the experience we all had in the CollegeĀ of Education were formative in a way such that we all are grounded in teaching for social justice.

This is great affirmation, particularly for someone, living so far from Marquette, to know that I am not the only one who was profoundly impacted by my Marquette Education experience. Meeting with Education faculty and staff, including a meeting with Dean Henk, further solidified the long lasting connection I have and will continue to have with the Marquette Education community.

Connecting with friends from Milwaukee was enjoyable, and introducing my wife, Amie, and daughter, Charlie, to Lake Michigan and cheese curds was a terrific experience. The three of us then drove through the Upper Peninsula, stopping to visit some friends in Northwest Michigan before progressing home to Baltimore through my birthplace in West Virginia.

After a quick turn-around, I was off to Atlantic City, New Jersey with my fellow building representatives in the Baltimore Teachers Union for our annual retreat. As usual, I learned an incredible amount from my colleagues, about our union, about the struggles of public education workers. Most importantly, I learned about an important boycott for all teachers to be aware of.

BOYCOTT STAPLES. Staples is trying to undermine our brothers and sisters in the postal workers unions by having their workers, without an increase in pay, do post office work at the Staples stores. As teachers, a group that invariably spends large amounts at Staples during the end of August and September, we must be conscious of where we spend our money. DO NOT BUY FROM STAPLES if you want to stand in solidarity.

The union retreat led into a final few days of family vacation to Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore before returning to work to receive training as a teacher mentor. These travels have proved to me a few things.

1) I enjoyed taking the summer off and spending more time with my family;
2) I still value my Marquette experience and it continues to form and shape me as a progress through life;
3) I believe very strongly in the power of working people to create positive change for communities; and
4) I am a teacher through and through.

Wherever I go, wherever I went, education is always part of the plan, part of the conversation, part of the lens through which I view the world. I am happy about that and also happy to be back home, ready to gear up for another year in Baltimore City Schools.

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