A Tangible Difference by UEA Policy Ambassador Alexandra Smith
Legislative report submitted by UEA Policy Ambassador Alexandra Smith, Spanish and ELL teacher at Sand Ridge Junior High in Weber School District
As an educator, it can often feel as if we are being forced to constantly give more of ourselves to the betterment of society and receive nothing but contempt in return. I am still early in my career, but a teacher is all I’ve ever wanted to be. So, I just accepted that I would happily throw myself into every school year until the day came when I could no longer do so. I had this mentality when I was approached by our building association reps about Educator Day on the Hill in January of 2019. I was intrigued because these were seasoned educators, talking to me about the future with so much passion and hope for a change. I wanted to know their secret. I wanted to be like them.
Alexandra Smith (center) is one of nineteen
2020 UEA Policy Ambassadors
My first visit to the Capitol was daunting. It was early, cold, and I felt out of place. The meeting started right on time and we were given so much information, I could hardly keep it all straight and then, we were off. Sitting in committee meetings, talking to state representatives and reaching out to senators. I witnessed two different protests and was able to sit in the gallery of the House of Representatives. The whole day was surreal. I went home and was just so fired up, I understood then why my building reps were so passionate. It is so easy to be passionate when you know deep down that change is happening and you get to be a part of it.
I was asked this year by the same association reps to consider a Policy Ambassador position and I jumped at the chance. For my second visit to the Capitol, I was prepared. No longer was I overwhelmed, disillusioned and nervous. I spent my day helping two of my colleagues navigate their first visit and was able to meet with several state representatives as I moved about the complex. I had strong talking points and confidence that led to some very promising conversations. My voice mattered. My presence mattered. With this program, I have even more opportunities to make a real tangible difference in this profession which means so much to so many people.