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New Educators Need Our Support

NEA President Lily Eskelsen García asks educators to go the extra mile to welcome and encourage new colleagues.
Published: 08/12/2016

In some professions, it might be a little weird to actually look forward to the end of vacation. But we’re educators. Nothing revs our engines like going back to school.

That doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and flowers. Our work is part artistry, part science, and anything but easy. We’ll have our share of struggles as we establish new routines, get to know students, and figure out what works (and what doesn’t) for a new and unique group of students. It all takes extraordinary strength and creativity.

But for us, it’s a calling. Each year—just like every student—is different, and we look forward to the challenges that come with starting a new chapter. For the teachers and education support professionals just beginning their careers, this challenge can sometimes seem unsurmountable. That’s why it’s so important to support our new colleagues from Day One. This year, go the extra mile to welcome and encourage all of them.

This year, approximately 290,000 new educators will join our profession. More than 170,000 of them are potential NEA members. Most of us recall—sometimes with trembling and trepidation, other times with a smile and a chuckle—those first early days. Sometimes we were lucky enough to have colleagues who guided us through. And if we were really lucky, they kept checking on us as the year proceeded. The new educators we will meet are hungry for the same support.

Here’s how I know this: When NEA recently held a “tele-town hall” to connect graduating education majors with first-year teachers, more than 8,400 students were on the call. They were eager to find out what they could expect and how they could succeed. You can help by sharing the brochure in this magazine and guiding “newbies” to the resources we provide.

Just as important, invite them to join your local NEA Association. Find out what matters to them and let them know that by sending in the pre-paid postcard, they can access high-quality professional development resources that will build their confidence and lead them to successful careers.

And let them know our voices carry more weight when we come together as a team to advocate for our students and our profession through our local Associations. After all, we do our best work when we have colleagues to lean on.

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The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.