Monica Horne is a visual art teacher at Arundel Elementary/Middle School, teaching grades PK-2. Her teaching career started at Elizabeth City Middle School in Elizabeth City, North Carolina in 1998 after earning her undergraduate degree. In 2000, Mrs. Horne moved to Baltimore City and taught at Pimlico Middle School for 3 years. In 2003, she started teaching at Hazelwood Elementary Middle School and was there for 14 years. During her last four years at Hazelwood, Mrs. Horne served as the BTU Teacher Building Rep. In 2017, she started working at Arundel, where she began serving in her current capacity as Union Learning Representative (ULR).
How has this school year been going for you?
This school year has been great. My students are excited about art and many of them show great effort in each lesson. Virtual Instruction was not all bad. Learning how to use Google Slides really helped me organize and structure my lessons better, and this year the ability to use that technology to be better organized is really paying off. Also, this year, we’ve been implementing “Capturing Kids Hearts” in our classrooms. CKH is a set of SEL strategies which is helping with creating a peaceful and encouraging teaching and learning environment.
How long have you been a Union Learning Representative (ULR) and why did you volunteer for that role?
I’ve been a ULR since 2018 during my second year at Arundel. I saw the information on a BTU Facebook Page and inquired about it. I thought this would be a great role for me because of my passion to keep members up to date and promote solidarity. I met my husband during my first year at Pimlico Middle. He was the BTU Teacher Building Rep and was instrumental in getting pertinent information to our members, fighting for our rights and for fair treatment in the workplace. When an opportunity to serve as BR came about at Hazelwood in 2013, I jumped at it. When I was transferred to Arundel there was already a teacher rep in place; however, with my experience serving as the SST chairperson, test coordinator and SLO Ambassador, I understood the importance of an informed membership and the advocacy role played by the union. Because I know the union is only as strong as its membership is united, I wanted to do all I could to help our members to stay informed. With the new contract, the changes in the teacher evaluation process and the implementation of Achievement Units (AUs), I also saw a great need to make sure our members were as knowledgeable as possible, not only for their own sakes but also for the sakes of our students. This year, Arundel found itself with no teacher BR, so I stepped into that role along with the role of ULR. I found that my role as ULR overlapped with my role as BR in many ways and required me to be accessible to all of our members, not just teachers.
How do you support members as a ULR?
It is important to attend meetings as well as to provide many opportunities for members to know what I know. I work hard at publishing monthly newsletters, and to help members, I follow-up with Field Reps and other BTU personnel to seek answers that I may not have. I designed a Google Classroom where my members can find information and resources to be empowered, and of course I make myself available by phone and conduct visits to my colleagues’ classrooms and offices.
What other roles do you fill at your school, in BTU, or in the community?
At my school I am the ULR, BTU Teacher Building Representative, and Resource Team Lead. I am very active at my church where I head the dance ministry, Vacation Bible School, Back to School events and I support our Angel Tree Ministry.
Why is it important to you to be active in the union?
I believe it is important to be active in the union because we are stronger together. Our union fights for the betterment of our livelihood and deserves our support however we can show it. What affects one of us affects all of us. The union represents the opportunity to multiply the power of individuals and achieve for all members of a given profession what those members could never achieve acting as individuals. In a profession like ours, the collective voice of the union gives educators the chance to advocate and improve not only the circumstances of our educators but also those of our students.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’d like to thank Nathan Ferrell for nominating me.