Educators often pursue the field to make a positive impact in their communities. We inspire students, create life-long learners, and help develop productive citizens when they leave K-12 education and go on to careers or college.
But for Adria Watt, she thought she would take a different path to help make change for Anne Arundel County residents.
“In college, I completed an internship as a Legislative Aide in the Maryland General Assembly, and I also completed an internship at a Baltimore City elementary school through the Shriver Center at UMBC. Through these experiences, I came to the realization that becoming a teacher would be the most effective way to have a direct impact in the community,” said Watt. Her mother was another inspiration. An educator for her entire career, Watt thought she would never become an educator because of the endless work she saw her mother put in. She continued “I also saw the positive impact my mom had on the families of students she taught and developed a new appreciation for her work. After I completed my degree in History and Political Studies at UMBC, I began teaching at Arundel High School.”
Both parents had an impact on how Watt would get involved with TAAAC though. Her father was a proud union member as well.
“I was inspired to attend NEA and MSEA leadership conferences by a colleague, fellow Board of Directors member, and friend, Jorge Cordoba. I admired Jorge’s hard work and dedication to fighting for teacher and student rights. When he asked to me to show up, I couldn’t say no,” said Watt, a Special Education Department Chair. Now, she works to show other educators that the union “isn’t some mysterious organization”… we are our union together!
“The union is only as strong as its members and we all need to be active, vocal, and persistent in advocating for our rights. We all need to show up for each other. We can only achieve our goals by working together,” said Watt, who also serves as the Advisor for the Justice for All Club and the Black Student Union.
The union also helps Watt advocate for her students, allowing her advocacy to continue even when she is outside the walls of her school.
“The high school students I work with inspire me to be my best self for them and only make me want to work harder to give them access to the education they deserve,” said Watt, who says the relationships she builds with her student’s fuels her passion for activism.
“I hear teachers talk about how they are unpleased with certain things in the school system,” said Watt. “If teachers aren’t happy, then they need to make their voices heard. Show up, use your voice, and fight for what you believe in! Things won’t change unless we do the work.”
Watt wants educators to know that other union members need them to make the union a powerful presence in Anne Arundel County public education.
“If you would like to get involved, reach out to your Building Rep or someone on the Board. We would love to have you!” said Watt.