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Learn The Importance of Professional Organizations for Teachers

Teaching is not an individual career; it's impossible to work as a classroom teacher and be entirely removed from your peers and colleagues. In fact, the strength of teachers often comes from their connections with other educational professionals. As a teaching student or working teacher, it's essential that you lean on your fellow educators and learn from your experience.

The earlier you can build your professional network and keep it growing, the more you may benefit as you get established in the field of education. Educational networking puts you in contact with other educators, educational administrators, and legislators that advocate for children's right to education. 

National Education Association

Your teaching career may get you involved in local and national organizations. One of the largest organizations for working teachers is the National Education Association. Although this group supports public education, parents, and schools in general, its primary focus is educators. By empowering educators and giving them what they need to work efficiently, this group hopes to strengthen public education in the United States and improve student outcomes.

group of teachers sitting in a circle learning from each other

Many teacher organizations run annual events that bring educators together and provide them with succinct updates on legislative issues. Many members believe that teacher news and events are the main benefits of joining the National Education Association. The group has its finger on the pulse of national education, providing daily updates on major education bills and programs that affect your work as a teacher. The NEA gives teachers ways to stay active and get involved, showing you how to reach out to your legislators, advocate for public education, and protect your students from legislative actions that could restrict their right to education.

The National Education Association also offers professional resources that support teachers in the classroom. As a member, you may read up on research-based teaching strategies that work for students of varying needs, create lesson plans based on NEA resources, get classroom management tips, and ask for advice or support.

Since this group contracts with numerous service providers and companies throughout the country, members also get access to benefits that save money and time. As a working teacher, you may want to make your budget stretch as far as possible. NEA offers member discounts for travel, automobile insurance, home loans, appliance purchases, and dining, among other options. They also offer a line of NEA credit cards and maintain a database of scholarships, grants, debt cancellation programs, and student loan forgiveness programs.

You may build your teaching community at in-person events, such as seminars and conferences. You can also get involved online, thanks to the constantly changing content offered by the NEA. Their content covers recent legislation, teaching techniques, holiday teaching resources, and fun reads on the benefits of teaching at a public school.

The NEA is the perfect way to become engaged in the world of education and start connecting with educators at all levels of experience. 

American Federation of Teachers

When you work in a public field like education, getting involved in a union is essential. Union representation helps you protect your rights, income, and benefits, while ensuring that all teachers are held to high standards. Membership in the American Federation of Teachers comes with many membership benefits. This professional organization for teachers focuses primarily on legislation and political actions that may influence the field of teaching. However, it also strengthens the national teaching community through networking events, discounted services, and other programs.

Through the American Federation of Teachers, you may save a significant amount of money on your regular expenses. Discounted services are available in many areas, including travel, cell phone costs, shopping, legal aid, banking, and continuing education. Whether you're a new teacher, a student teacher, or an experienced educator, there's always something new to learn. Share My Lesson is a program run by AFT that allows you to share your most effective lesson plans with other educators. You also get access to the database of lesson plans shared by other teachers. This allows you to make the most of your lesson planning time. The student debt clinic is a popular resource for those who have private or federal student debt. You may learn how to pay it off more efficiently, qualify for debt cancelation plans, or apply for loan forgiveness programs.

While it's important to get involved with the teaching community as a whole, you also want to connect with those who teach at your grade level. You may sort resources to find those applicable to early childhood, K-12 public education, and higher education. You can also join more specialized groups at each level of education to discover how recent teacher news may affect your career. The group also oversees a number of student organizations that may help you on your quest to become a teacher.

The AFT makes it easy to take advantage of the benefits of a teachers' union. They allow you to search for your local AFT association or union, and from there, you can join and start utilizing member resources.

ASCD

Formerly known as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, this group is now known just as the ASCD. This is an international organization with over 125,000 educators in over 138 countries, broadening your reach as an educator and giving you access to some of the most experienced teachers in the world. No matter which type of education career you are pursuing, you may qualify for ASCD membership. The group represents classroom educators, principals, superintendents, administrative staff members, postsecondary instructors, parents, and others who are passionate about education.

One of the biggest benefits of becoming a member is the huge amount of information you can access. Teaching best practices change all the time based on research and analysis. With subscriptions to research-based magazines, you can stay on top of this research and analyze it for yourself. Members receive Educational Leadership, Education Update, ASCD Express, and Policy Priorities. ASCD also runs webinars for those who cannot attend local events. When you join, you can opt for basic membership, select membership, or premium membership. Education students can also join at the student level. Online memberships range from $39 to $149 per year. Those who choose to receive print publications pay between $59 and $239 per year.

The overall goal of ASCD is to figure out, "How can teachers help students succeed?" They believe that the answer lies in empowering teachers and educational professionals. You can learn new techniques and explore resources through conferences and events, such as the Conference on Teaching Excellence and the Whole Child Symposium. As you utilize the ASCD's resources, you should learn how to see your students' needs more clearly and meet them with the variety of resources in your toolbox.

You may also improve your teaching skills through continuing education for teachers. Options offered by ASCD include online learning, video training, in-person training programs, and exclusive webinar series.

Getting involved in a professional organization for teachers should be one of your top priorities when you start your teaching career. Stretch your wings as a teacher by joining the ASCD and taking advantage of their member benefits.