Andrea, special education teacher

“I’m not anti-union. I’m for choice.”

After an unfulfilling career in corporate America, Andrea wanted to give back to her community and help young people. She decided to teach while raising her daughter. She has been a teacher for 13 years now and currently works as a special education teacher at an inner-city public elementary school.

As a proud product of public schools, Andrea understands how important and valuable a high-quality education is. “Education is knowledge. It’s power,” she says. “Once you have it, it can’t be taken away from you. That is something I try to convey to all my students.”

When she first started teaching, Andrea joined the union. And like many first-time teachers, she didn’t think she really had a choice. Over time, she realized she didn’t feel fully represented and join an alternative professional association she trusts will advocate for her. She’s still a member of her union, too, but grateful to have a choice and to know that there are other options out there.

Like most teachers who joined an alternative, Andrea encourages her colleagues to research their options, union and non-union alike. Her advice to teachers: “Ask questions, find out, seek out other members of other institutions that you might want to become affiliated with. To be informed is to be armed. The better armed you are, the better-informed decisions that you can make.”