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Member Spotlight

Stephanie Duwve: I Can Continue to Make a Difference

The child of educators, Stephanie Duwve is a second-grade teacher and Ohio New Educator's leader in Sylvania, Ohio
Stephanie Duwve, wearing a PPE mask, sitting at the front of her classroom reading to her students.
Published: 04/12/2021

I suppose in some ways it was inevitable that I became a teacher. Both my parents are educators—so I’ve spent a lot of time in classrooms, helping to prepare for the start of school or special events, visiting during a day off, and waiting for my parents during their long days.  
 
But I don’t think I was prepared for how much I would grow to enjoy teaching. In particular, I have enjoyed working with my union to help new educators.
 
My first position was not what I’d planned or prepared for and I struggled.
 
But with the help of some great mentors—including my family—I survived and learned a great deal about teaching and my own potential as an educator. Despite the upheaval brought on by the pandemic, I grew to enjoy teaching more each day as a second-grade teacher. 
 
Early in my career, I was encouraged to become involved with my union—and that has been an unexpected path that I value. I have the opportunity to attend union-led programs, specifically focusing on leadership and new educator development.  
 
The union facilitates my work on policy that will help educators teach without the unnecessary burden of excessive testing or counterproductive state requirements.

The union is much more than a place to take complaints or get information. I believe in the many ways that our commitment to organizing through our union benefits the profession, but, most importantly our students. 

I am just in my fourth year, but I have begun to see that these are areas where I can continue to make a difference. 
 
I want to continue working on the issues such as testing and teacher qualifications—but even more broadly those related to teacher voice. I’m excited about the future of education, including the new emphasis on social and emotional learning—and the ways those types of changes will benefit students.
 

National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

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.