Teaching assistant Anthony Andrews is secretary/treasurer of the Rochester Association of Paraprofessionals. He was interviewed by Angie Rivera, RAP president and SRP at-large director on the NYSUT Board.
Tell me about your job and why you love what you do.
As a teaching assistant in the classroom, my job was to assist in the educational and social development of the students. I assisted with the implementation of individualized education programs (IEPs) and monitored the students’ progress. I supported students with emotional or behavioral concerns and assisted them in developing appropriate social skills. The thing I loved most about my job was the interaction with my students, learning from them, helping them understand the content of their courses. I loved to see when they make the connection between what they are learning and their lives.
What was your path to union advocacy?
As a kid, I saw the passion that both my parents had toward union rights, as part of making a decision when fighting for and supporting their colleagues. I joined my union right away in 2000. I learned how to advocate for myself and my colleagues. I became a building rep, was elected to the Executive Board, served in various committees and recently became the full-time secretary/treasurer of my local.
How do you make a difference?
I make a difference when I build positive relationships with the members, students and community. I focus on their needs and how I can support them.
I make a difference when I can be the voice for those who need a voice or representation on many levels. I make a difference when I see the smiles on people’s faces or receive a thank you for my support.
What do you do for fun? Hobbies?
I enjoy my time with family and friends. I volunteer a lot at work, doing union business. I support the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, the labor parade and rallies. I support all events and activities from my union. I love working with cars in my free time. My goal is to keep working with my union to make a difference in the members’ lives.