Not just a teacher Union
I was reading a few documents and emails and in the space of one day the IEU was twice grouped into being described as one of the ‘teacher unions’. Clearly this is not correct. We need to be careful with such inaccurate use of language and correct it promptly.
The use of language is significant in shaping thoughts, ideas and power. We know this from gender bias in language; language that is not LGBTQI inclusive or language that is not reflective of the racial, religious and cultural diversity in our society or Union causes numbers of people to be not seen, heard or reflected in the dialogue, communication or media. The use of language can promote or reinforce power imbalance.
This happens too often with regard to our Union’s support and operational staff and non teacher members. Let’s face it. We tend to default to a teacher focus much of the time.
So let’s be mindful that the IEU is not just a teacher union. We are much more than that. The IEU is an education union. Our Union’s coverage includes many professionals employed in the non government education sector who are not teachers. This includes a myriad of essential roles: clerical and administration staff, communications roles, archivists, classroom learning support officers, grounds and maintenance staff, IT managers and technicians, bursars, boarding staff, Indigenous education workers, counsellors, canteen staff, library assistants, laboratory assistants, music instructors and education head office employees, to name just a few.
This is why we are called the Independent Education Union and not the Independent Teachers Union, as once we were. Be proud and aware of who we are.