Sharon, high school science teacher

“I was a satisfied, enthusiastic union member for many years.”

As a high school science teacher, Sharon works very hard to connect the concepts she’s teaching with the real world for her students. That time her students couldn’t go downtown because of a flood? The rainstorm and past policy decisions about city infrastructure were important factors that impacted their everyday lives.

She sees this way of teaching as part of a larger effort to empower her students with information and critical thinking. “We want to have them be informed decision makers so they can advocate for themselves moving forward,” she says.

An empowered professional herself, Sharon was a satisfied member of her teachers union for many years. “I became involved because I wanted to try to address the pressures on my classroom that were coming from outside of my classroom,” she continues. “I followed the normal route, I got involved in my building as a union rep… and thought I was advocating for my colleagues, for my students, and for my association, for my union.”

Along the way, she got to the point where she felt her needs weren’t being met. Just as she encourages her students to do, Sharon did some research to learn about her options. She is no longer a member of her union, but was forced to be an agency-fee payer (required to pay money to the union every month). Recently Sharon has been freed from her forced agency-fee payer status as a result of Janus v. AFSCME.

Sharon works hard to teach her students to research, decide, and advocate for themselves and thinks teachers should do the same, “I absolutely support the idea of teacher freedom, because teachers should be free to make the choice that’s best to them, when it comes to the professional support they need.”