This post was written by NCTE member Claudia Marschall.
NCTE membership may seem like a luxury, but I consider it a kind of “professional health” insurance.
Think of it this way: health insurance exists to keep you covered in sickness and health, and perhaps most essentially, it helps you maintain wellness. NCTE membership helps maintain professional wellness!
By connecting with colleagues around the country—sharing methods, materials, and supporting morale—NCTE membership confirms that what we do in our classrooms continues to be relevant. What English teachers do connects everything; without reading, writing, listening, speaking, and viewing skills, nothing else can be successful.
I used to jokingly tell my students that my class was the most important one of all—but it really is true.
Curriculum standards, methods, materials, and modes of evaluation have changed over the years. Navigating those changes varies with building, district, state, and federal education requirements; administrators on every level approach implementation differently.
But the relationship between students and teachers remains the same. Engaging your students and letting them know you care about what’s meaningful to them has always been first priority. Without that nothing gets done, and with it, you can do anything.
You may have colleagues unaware of the value of NCTE membership. Let them know about the support they’ll receive through NCTE’s publications, web site, Convention, and perhaps most significantly, about the collegiality they’ll find.
For early career educators, membership may be a factor in helping them remain in this profession by providing perspective and encouragement when they need it.
Spread the word—NCTE membership is vital “insurance” for teachers’ continued well-being throughout their career!
Claudia Marschall taught English language arts and theater arts in the Buffalo Public Schools from 1978 to 2007. She is the Co-Chair for the ELATE Commission to Support Early Career ELA Teachers.