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Field-Specific Professional Organizations in Education

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  • 0:01 Educational Organizations
  • 1:13 Benefits
  • 2:56 National Councils
  • 4:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Joining a professional education organization can provide educators with all sorts of benefits. But how can a teacher find an association in his or her content area? Watch this lesson for the benefits of field-specific organizations and how to find one.

Educational Organizations

Sherri is a new teacher. She's really excited to be teaching science and technology at a local high school. She can't wait to get started!

One of her fellow teachers mentioned to her that she should get involved in educational organizations. Sherri is already a member of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), a national union for educators. But is that all there is?

Sherri might be surprised at the number of organizations out there for educators. Dozens of organizations would love to have Sherri as a member. Some of them, like the AFT, are organizations for all educators. Others are subject-specific organizations, also called field-specific organizations, which are member-based associations for teachers of a specific content area. For example, Sherri is a science teacher, so she might want to join an organization for science teachers.

But what, exactly, is the benefit to Sherri of joining? And how can she find an organization that's right for her? Let's look closer at field-specific organizations, including their benefits and some of the major ones.

Benefits

Sherri is already a member of the AFT, the national organization for educators. So why should she consider joining a science-specific association for teachers?

There are many benefits to joining a field-specific organization. They include:

1. News and information

Many field-specific organizations provide newsletters to keep members abreast of new developments in the world of teaching and their subject matter. For example, Sherri might want to join a science teacher organization called the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), which includes information in their newsletter about the latest breakthroughs in science, as well as news about science education. In addition to newsletters, many associations, including NSTA, put out scholarly journals with articles that cover best practices in that subject area.

2. Professional development

Want to network with other educators and learn how to be better at what you do? Then professional development is the path to go. If Sherri joins a field-specific organization, she will be able to attend workshops and conferences that will allow her to learn more about how to be a better science and technology teacher and also allow her to meet and network with teachers from all over the country.

3. Discounts

Whether she's looking for car insurance or a magazine subscription or any number of other things, Sherri is likely to find discounts through a field-specific organization. Because they have many members, associations, like the NSTA, are able to offer group discounts, which can save Sherri, and teachers like her, lots of money.

National Councils

All that sounds pretty good, right? Sherri sure thinks so! She's decided to join a field-specific organization. But which one? How can she find an organization in her content area that is right for her?

Most subjects have a single national organization that is more prominent than the others. For example, as we mentioned, the National Science Teachers Association is the premier field-specific organization for science teachers. But what about other subject areas? For example, Sherri works with a really nice English teacher. How can she find an organization for her?

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