Thank your ARA delegate today
The May long weekend is coming and to me that means only one thing: it’s ARA time.
ARA is our acronym for Annual Representative Assembly, which is ATA-speak for annual general meeting. More than 450 delegates representing our 55 locals (plus one special local — the Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association) across the province will be gathering to hear from our new minister, congratulate our award winners, debate policy and set next year’s budget. Who could ask for anything more?
I am never disappointed when the weather is not up to expectations. Well, maybe a little because I don’t get lunch on a patio, but that’s a bit petty. I have enjoyed many ARAs and, in fact, this year will be my 30th anniversary. To save you all the Google search, the gift is pearl and the flower is lily. I can’t imagine doing anything else for this extended weekend.
My memories include events quite different than we have today. ARA used to be three-and-a-half days long and was held during the Edmonton or Calgary spring break, alternating yearly. Every year had a banquet and many social events. My local always had a pool on when the budget debate would adjourn. It always began with a skit from the Parkland contingent. The budget is always debated into the evening of the second-last day of the assembly. One year, I was very confident of my prediction of 8:32 p.m. until we reached that time and were not even finished the first program area. While the debate was invigorating and lively, I was very tired when it was finally passed at 1:23 a.m.
There are many memorable debates and even more memorable people from those 30 assemblies, and they are too numerous to mention here. The teachers that take part in this event are so dedicated to our profession that there was hardly a squawk when we moved it to the May long weekend. While this might not be for you, please be grateful and maybe even thank someone who is doing this work for all of us. It doesn’t even have to be pearls or lilies. ❚