E4E Teachers Talk Back: William Heuisler
E4E - LA member William Heuisler has been a teacher for 10 years and currently teaches 11th grade U.S. History at Animo South Los Angeles. He is also the secretary of the executive board of Asociacion de Maestros Unidos (AMU), the union that represents teachers and counselors at Green Dot Public Schools.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
Teaching is the only career that I can come back to day after day, year after year and still feel happy and fulfilled. When I was younger I babysat, tutored and coached little league—I have always enjoyed working with children. That led me to explore work in education and I found that it was a natural fit.
What is the issue in education you are passionate about?
I am most passionate about the academic success of students. As the future leaders of our country, they need to be prepared for the world that awaits them after high school. It is my job to guide them to practices that ensure their success after they leave, to make sure they are able to think critically and independently.
Why did you become involved with your union?
I began teaching with Green Dot Public Schools because I supported their vision. In order to ensure that we continue to move toward that vision, we need to include teacher and school input. I want to make sure that my and my colleagues’ voices are steering the direction of that path.
How can teachers be more involved in their union?
The easiest way for teachers to get active in their union is by asking questions and giving feedback to their site representative. Clear communication between representatives and the rest of the site is imperative to ensure that all teachers are being represented in their union. Teachers need to feel that their voice is considered in the changes that affect their classroom, and feel valued in their profession.
What is your advice to teachers that are looking to become leaders in their schools?
First, I think that before you can become a leader, you need to focus on perfecting your craft of teaching. This way, you can become a role model for others, which ultimately makes you a better leader and instills trust in those who you are leading
Why did you become a member of E4E?
A friend invited me to an E4E meeting where I met several teachers who were generating education policy recommendations. I was inspired by the idea of valuing teacher input in policies that affect their profession and students. In order to address these complex issues in education, we need an advocate that validates teachers’ experience and knowledge by elevating their voice in the decisions that come from the top down, and that is exactly what E4E provides.