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Want to Change Young Lives?

Get Ready to Be an Advocate

This is what I know for sure: Being an NEA member means that you will never be alone.

As I prepare to enter the classroom, it is my responsibility to know and understand the issues that affect my students’ ability to learn—and how I can touch their lives. The NEA Student Program provides us the opportunity to do just that. Thanks to excellent professional development, access to advocacy training, and linkages with seasoned NEA members, we will thrive and climb in the profession. And we will be the strong advocates that children deserve.

When it’s time for me to stand in front of my students, I want them to trust me to deliver quality instruction and know that I care about their lives beyond the classroom—whether they arrive at school hungry, dream of becoming a rocket scientist or a teacher, and whether they have a roof over their heads while they sleep.

As Student Program chair, I work to shine a spotlight on millennials—our generation—and on the strides we’re taking to confidently enter the classroom. Looking forward, our work will be challenging, our pay low and our student debt will probably be large. It’s the price that we pay to change lives; and it is worth it!

NEA Student Program membership makes the journey worthwhile. Being a part of this Association is more than about paying dues; they don’t change policy, our engaged members do. In the largest Association of educators, it’s our voice that matters. This year, our vote matters more than ever. We must elect pro-public education candidates who will support our efforts to improve the profession for students. Start now to educate yourself about the candidates and then head to the polls.

The NEA Student Program offers opportunities to ensure that as educators, you understand the power of collective action. Today, too many new educators are leaving the profession within five years of entering. We must restore our teaching workforce and grow. Let’s start by engaging with the Association at the earliest point in our career—freshman year of college.

Our future in education depends on you. This is my final year as chair, and I’m doubling efforts that focus on issues that matter most to future educators, like the rising cost of higher education and teacher preparation. But I can’t do it alone. I want to bring out the advocate in you! If you aspire to change young lives, you’re a born advocate.

Remember, when you are a member of NEA, you are never alone. Let me hear from you at cherrig@nea.org!

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Published In

1-Feb-16

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