NEA President's Message
A Unique Profession
Dennis Van Roekel,
Teaching is a unique profession.
There is an unparalleled satisfaction that comes from standing in front of a classroom and helping children learn, fulfill their dreams, and strive for success.
But your commitment to children doesn’t end in the classroom. As I learned very early in my own career, being a teacher and being an Association activist go hand-in-hand.
To do my best in the classroom, I had to advocate for my students and my peers—and that meant collaborating with fellow educators through my Association to improve teaching and learning conditions in our schools.In teaching, as in other professions, there is power in numbers. When you join your colleagues and speak as a unified group, you are able to build a network capable of advancing a proactive, positive agenda for great public schools. This is evident in the work of the NEA Student Program on critical issues like college affordability.
NEA mounted an unprecedented effort in the 2008 election to mobilize our members and their families—and our Student Members led the way. In the months leading up to November 4, you educated voters with the groundbreaking “Got Tuition?” campaign, which rallied political activism on college campuses.
By lending your collective voices to this crisis, you raised awareness and executed a successful nationwide effort to make higher education more accessible and affordable for all students.
NEA is rooted in the power of collective action—it is one of our core values because we believe that to strengthen the quality of our profession and public education we must harness our resources, work together, and speak with one voice.
By joining the NEA Student Program, you have embarked on a lifelong career of activism to improve student learning and the education profession. Whether you need professional development, mentoring, or better salaries and working conditions, NEA will be there for you.
I look forward to meeting and working with you in the year ahead.