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Lessons From The Picket Line

Award-winning teacher Jeremy Zwang-Weissman provides “Teachable moments” for students and parents on the Virgil Middle School picket line

As most dedicated and committed teachers in Los Angeles do, Jeremy Zwang-Weissman wears many hats at Virgil Middle School; science teacher, music teacher, and running coach. His versatility, energy, and interests allow him a unique perspective of the students under his educational care; “It’s the only job where I can be musical and scientific every day of my life.” At Virgil, Jeremy was honored as Teacher of the Month for December. Jeremy is also a committed member of United Teachers Los Angeles.

On this third day of the UTLA teachers’ strike, Zwang-Weissman was joined by several parents and students who came to show support for educators and their cause to improve their local schools and ensure every child in Los Angeles has access to a quality public education-no matter their zip code.

Teacher and student of the month together- Weissman and Cardenas

Among the students was 8th grader Carla Cardenas, a Virgil student with perfect attendance and recently honored as student of the month for December. She came to the picket line to show solidarity with Mr. Zwang-Weissman and her other teachers at Virgil Middle. “I am here to support teachers because they support me” she stated emphatically.

In a strike, momentum is important. It is essential to building a critical mass of educators who can collectively bring about necessary reform. On the picket line In Los Angeles, there is a palpable sense of righteous energy that is sustaining the teachers and the strike. UTLA’s powerful message of reform and reinvestment has been embraced by over 84% of Angelinos and is changing the national education narrative started in West Virginia and still sweeping across the country.

Jeremy is a gifted teacher whose leadership skills and dedication to teaching make him very popular on the strike line as he showcases his musical talents. More importantly, his advocacy is welcomed by a community who sees educators battling for better learning conditions and more supports for their children and neighborhood schools.

His impact provides an illustration of the partnership UTLA has built with local communities; it’s the shift toward authentic public school support that has students and parents in the streets together with teachers demanding the schools every student in LAUSD deserves.

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