Stories

Mary Shapiro’s Story

Mary Shapiro, a 35-year Minnesota veteran teacher, remembers a time when belonging to a union meant being part of a “local only” association concerned almost entirely with improving working and learning conditions in her school.

“When I first started teaching, union representation wasn’t political at all. The union’s role was…

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Nathan Strenge’s Story

By any measure, Nathan Strenge is an outstanding teacher. Accepted into the Gate’s Foundation’s Teacher Advisory Council, he’s won national teaching honors and been nominated as Minnesota’s Teacher of the Year. But the enormous skill and dedication that earned such recognition were not enough to move the union Nathan financially…

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Linda Hoekman’s Story

Linda Hoekman loves teaching and says she can’t imagine doing anything else. As a high school physics teacher, she loves seeing the joy in students’ eyes when they finally grasp a challenging concept. She assumed that’s what motivated every teacher but learned that not all teachers are determined to give their…

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Aaron Benner’s Story

Aaron Benner is an outstanding Minnesota teacher who knows firsthand what happens when students, and teachers, feel unsafe in the classroom.

“Safety is critical,” he says. “Learning suddenly is on the back burner, everything goes out the window once the classroom has been compromised. Instead of looking at the teacher,…

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