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Aspiring Educator on the Hill

4/2/2020

Deeann at the Hill

I know the world is crazy right now, but I wanted to share with you an awesome experience I had with Educator Day on the Hill (EDOH) and EDOH Plus on February 20th and 21st. First off, if you did not get a chance this last legislative session, I highly recommend that next session you go!

Let's start with EDOH Plus.  The night before EDOH, I went down to UEA headquarters to meet with some of the wonderful educators participating in EDOH. We had dinner together and learned the most effective ways to reach out to our Representatives and Senators and practiced what to say with each other. I don’t know about you guys, but practicing is always helpful, especially when you are advocating for students in a way that can help influence real change in the laws affecting education. I was lucky enough to be sitting with Lauren Merkley, Utah Teacher of the Year (UTOY),  who was an awesome help!

UEA provides folders with some extremely valuable information in them. They gave us legislative tracking sheets with the bills affecting education, flyers with our education priorities, and a cool sheet that has all of the Representatives and Senators pictures in a map of where they sit, so that you can identify them when you see them. We then dispersed to get some sleep before the big day which started bright and early.
 
EDOH was a great experience. It started with a brief overview of some of the information covered in EDOH Plus for those who were unable to attend. We were visited by some Representatives and the Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Sydnee Dickson. We then got into the fun stuff where we were able to attend standing committees and were able to observe the Senate and the House. I was amazed at how quickly the voting could be in the House. I also realized how important it is to reach out to our Representatives and Senators. They do not always have enough time to fully research every bill. We can help draw attention to how the bills affect education and help encourage them to vote appropriately. For a wrap up, we had lunch together, had a few more Representative and Senators stop by, and got to share our experiences from the day. It was inspiring to sit and listen to teachers discuss the successes they had with their Representatives and Senators. UEA also provided Thank You notes so we could write notes to our Representatives and Senators. Edited

Overall the whole experience was awesome, not only did I learn about how to advocate for my students, but I also got to network with experienced teachers and see them advocate for their students.

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