Dave Wing is the president of the Kawartha Pine Ridge ETFO Local. He started teaching in 1989. Today he is married (to another teacher) and has two children, ages five and seven. He spoke with Voice about his leadership journey.
What motivated you to become a teacher?
Coming out of university I decided that my degree wouldn’t likely lead to gainful employment. I had some friends who were becoming teachers. Teaching was not a lifelong dream; I came to it later.
At that time employers were recruiting on campus. There was pool hiring: you knew in March that a board had hired you but you didn’t know what the job was or where you would be placed.
In my heart of hearts I wanted to teach Intermediate; I settled on grades 4 and 5 because of the location of the school. I did that for two years then I taught grades 5 and 6 for the next eight years.
Now I wouldn’t teach anything but Junior grades. I loved the children that age. They still are, if not in awe, quite taken with teachers. They want to be at school; they want to learn. The school where I taught fluctuated between 90 and 100 kids total, so I had the unique experience of not only being part of a school, but also being part of a community.
When did you first become active in the federation?
I became a steward. In a small school everyone takes on many roles, so not many were keen to take on another responsibility. I had never needed federation help, but I had colleagues who did. They turned to me and my interest developed from that. They were just asking me who they should talk to. I found the answers and realized there was a support network there, and that our school could use someone.
Then I became a local executive member and coordinated professional development workshops. In our local at that time there was no formal PD chair. I was an unreleased vice-president for four or five years, and learned more about the federation in that role. Then I became a first vice-president, which is a released position in our local.
In this local the first vice-president is grievance officer and PD chair, works on many other committees, and acts in the president’s stead – you know, “other duties as assigned.” In the last few rounds of bargaining I was the chief negotiator; that was just how the roles played out. What really piqued my interest was the impending union amalgamation in 1997–1998. Before I was in education, I never understood the need for two federations, so I was excited about the prospect of working together.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your work; what is