Because I wasn’t happy about being told whom to for—or the fact that my money was being used to tell others whom to vote for—I decided it was time to get out.  The problem was that I wasn’t sure how to do that. 

             I had heard from several people that non-union teachers were treated rather poorly by their colleagues, but I couldn’t believe that.  I worked with the nicest, most caring group of teachers imaginable.  Still, because I had to ask someone, I sought out one of my fellow teachers who had always been very polite and helpful on just about anything.  She was one of my former teachers, and any time I had a question, I went to her.  And she was always more than happy to help.  I knew that she was very involved in union matters, so I thought she was the most logical person to ask about withdrawing my membership. 

             As was typical, she had a smile on her face that day when I approached her.  When I asked how to go about withdrawing my membership, her face turned very stern.  She looked me straight in the eye and told me that she felt that was the biggest mistake I could make.  She went on to explain that the state was full of anti-public education politicians, and that we needed to clean house with the next election (keep in mind this was late August 2010).  When I asked her who these politicians were, she responded, “Anyone with an R in front of his/her name”.  She then went on to tell me that I needed to vote all Democrat in the upcoming election.

            When I told her that I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of the liberal/Democratic agenda, she asked me if this was because I had heard that the NEA supports abortion  (um, no, it wasn’t about that and, in fact, I hadn’t heard that) because, in her own words, “the NEA does not support abortion.”  She then went on to explain that that was just the assessment of the Tea Party racists.  Nice.  By the way, I looked it up just to see what the NEA’s stance is on abortion.  More on that later.

            Back to the topic at hand.  Since learning of my desire to withdraw my union membership, this teacher now treats me very poorly.  Instead of the cheery smile I used to receive when approaching her, I now get an annoyed look and hear a curt tone in her voice.  She avoids me whenever possible and often ignores me when I speak, pretending she doen’t hear me.  Other teachers are not as obvious, but I’ve noticed a difference overall in my coworkers.  Even though I failed to withdraw my membership, I guess I’m no longer part of the “in crowd.”  Sad.