I was looking to meet new people when I got to college, especially other education majors who were passionate about helping and truly understanding kids. I immediately signed on to our aspiring educator chapter for the Illinois Education Association. This was a great first start that would eventually prepare me to enter the education profession. As a student member, I got an early look at real-world education issues and I owe a lot to the association. In fact, I wouldn't be an educator without the association.
This is the third district I've worked in and have found that it's hard to feel completely comfortable when you're always in new places. The Illinois Education Association has been a constant for me, from the friends I've made and my colleagues to the role models and leaders I admire and the professional and leadership opportunities I've received.
IEA and NEA are passionate about issues related to social justice, especially trauma-informed care. This is at the core of my education values and it's an issue IEA has rallied around. Everyone is working together, from the school board and administrators to the union, to build better relationships with students and to get to know what's happening in their lives.
My goal is to get more aspiring and new educators involved in their profession, which ultimately keeps quality educators in the classroom. Learning about different education issues, getting to be a part of national conferences, and seeing how unions work and make decisions as a group is mind-blowing.
My students are three and four and so the education field could look so different by the time they're in junior high and high school. I want to be a part of the process that helps to keep quality educators in the profession and be involved in policy decisions and political action—these are the things that can change and shape my students' education world.