My Turn: Rafael Garcia – Maryland State Education Association


My Turn: Rafael Garcia – Maryland State Education Association

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Rafael Garcia is a Special Education Assistant at Tuscarora Elementary School in Frederick County. He is a member of the Frederick Association of School Support Employees (FASSE).

I was an assistant special education instructor for the past school years at Tuscarora Elementary School in Frederick County. Prior to that, I was in service as a member of the United States Navy Hospital Corps.

When I left the service, I entered law enforcement as a deputy sheriff in my hometown in Virginia. But when I moved to Maryland six years ago, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I enrolled at Frederick Community College in the nursing program, but quickly found that it was not the right fit for me. I knew that I loved working with children. I participated in many command events while serving in various local Special Olympics programs. With this in mind, I decided to pursue a career in special education.

I never questioned my decision. One of the most rewarding parts of my job is knowing that, slowly but surely, I’m making progress with the students I work with, whether it’s their first time counting to 10 or taking a deep breath. and manage to defuse. Each success is one more step to bring them to their goals. These are pivotal moments for me in my career.

In my free time, I like to go out in the desert. I regularly hike and camp in the Rocky Mountains and elsewhere to relax and recharge my batteries. I also love hunting and fishing, which isn’t about what I can or can’t catch, but rather the process. And music festivals and sporting events with my kids or a group of close friends are always fun.

I am still relatively new to FASSE, but I can say that from the beginning, I have been well received. I went to the Summer Leadership Conference in July to participate in the Emerging Leaders Program and came away with a real sense of what it was like to be in the union. I learned that the union is there when the going gets tough, but its more important role is to organize us as workers to be the change we want to see, and that means taking action, not just talking. I was recently elected building representative for my building’s support staff and have incorporated the values ​​of the conference into my new role. I see this as the beginning of the change I want to bring about in our profession. We all need to work together, even when our views may differ.

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