Page 10

Get Active, Get Involved Become an EIS Rep In the previous edition of the SEJ, we highlighted ten reasons to become an EIS Rep. This month, we speak to four members who have taken the decision to get active in their union and become EIS Representatives. Here, they explain their own reasons for becoming a Rep and share their thoughts on the benefits it has brought them and their colleagues.

Jason Boyle

Paula McEwan

Growing up in Canada my father and grandfather both worked in the automotive industry. They were both heavily involved in the union and always stressed the importance of being part of a union and supporting it. So when the EIS Rep in my school retired a few years back I jumped at the chance to get involved. There are a lot of positive things to being an EIS Rep but for me the most positive has to be playing a major role in helping to facilitate a collegiate atmosphere within the staff team. It is important for any staff to have a go to person who can either answer questions or find out the answers. It is also helpful to have one point of contact that colleagues can come to for advice especially for less experienced members of staff. Lastly, there needs to be someone on staff to recruit new members and to stress the importance of being part of Scotland’s largest teaching union. There is strength in numbers and you never know when you might need the help and support that the EIS can provide.

I joined the EIS as a student member sometime between 1988 and 1992 because they came to college to speak to us and were giving away a purple clipboard if we signed up! When I became a permanent member of a school staff in 1995 there was a Rep in the school that opened the envelopes and left paperwork on the staffroom table for anyone who was interested but didn’t hold or attend school or local meetings. I’ve always believed that if you want to improve or change something you have to be part of it, so when discussions started around the 21st Century Agreement I began attending Local Association meetings, putting in my tuppence worth and reporting back to my school staff on what had been said and decided. It was a short time after that I became the named Representative for our school and I’ve been doing it ever since. The most positive thing about being an EIS Rep is being able to negotiate positive change within a school, whether that is reaching consensus on the Working Time Agreement each year, suggesting and trialling ways to reduce workload across the school or working with colleagues in other schools to share and develop our ideas across other schools. If you want to improve your working conditions, or reset your work/life balance, or fill in less paperwork of a day, then you have to get involved as an EIS Rep and be the instrument of that change, and if you can improve working conditions for others then even better. You might feel better after a moan in the staffroom but it won’t change anything – you have to be in amongst it!


The Scottish Educational Journal

Profile for EIS SEJ

Scottish Education Journal April 2016  

This month's issue has a special focus on the Scottish Parliament Elections and the EIS manifesto for Scottish Education.

Scottish Education Journal April 2016  

This month's issue has a special focus on the Scottish Parliament Elections and the EIS manifesto for Scottish Education.

Profile for eis-sej