A small, yet mighty group!
Although I was nervous and unsure of the process, lobbying was an experience that I WILL do again!
Coming from rural southwestern Virginia, the "big city" can be rather intimidating! I was blessed to travel with two colleagues that have represented our Education Association in years past. They were familiar with the ins and outs of Richmond.
Even though Virginia sits in the middle of the United States map on the east coast, we are southern! AND southern hospitality reigned! We were treated phenomenally by all we came into contact with from secretaries to restaurant employees to shuttle drivers! What great people live in our capital!
The evening before lobby day we were given a briefing about the issues that are important to Virginia education. Of course, high on the list was the Standards of Learning and reducing the number of tests students must take. Our VEA leaders explained what questions might be asked of us and we were given some ideas for responses. (Sooooo helpful!)
We had appointments with three legislators that represent our districts. At first, I felt out of my element, but as the day progressed I realized that the legislators truly needed to hear our stories of how children were being effected by the testing and policies made by our government. Most were open-minded and understanding of our issues.
(Of course, politicians can say what you want to hear. We will see what happens when voting takes place. Make no mistake, we WILL be watching!!)
It is always good to branch out of your comfort zone. I would definitely lobby again. It was an eye-opening experience. If you get the opportunity to lobby for your association, DO IT!!! Only together can we make a true difference for our students and ourselves!!