Meet Your Colleagues

Alicia Latman

Alicia Latman has been a kindergarten lead teacher for six years and is now starting her second year at Academy of the City Charter School in Queens.

Q: Why did you decide to become a charter school teacher?
A: always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I never really thought about any other careers. When I was little I would play school. I would gather the neighborhood kids in our garage, and that would be my “classroom.” I had really great teachers and I always wanted to pass it forward with good-quality teaching.

On my birthday a few years back, I interviewed with Academy of City, not really knowing a ton about charter schools. It ended up being very positive for me. I think our school culture ends up being very reflective of the teachers here.

Q: How has the union made a difference for your school?
A: When we organized at our school it was a really positive experience. Having a union enables teachers to speak up and feel their voices are being heard. It means teachers are truly being heard, not just listened to.

Q: What would you say to your colleagues in non-union charter schools?
A:The union really is the teachers. We are the union, but we also have the entire UFT behind us, guiding us and helping us work together as a union. Forming a union may be difficult at first, but it ends up being a really wonderful thing that helps and encourages teachers to make a school the best possible place for students, parents and teachers, for everyone involved. During the contract negotiations process, having everyone there together working towards the same goal made me more comfortable about speaking up and really brought everyone together.