By Tiffani Hamman, William Paterson University

When I first decided to become an educator, I knew I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that I would be getting the most out of my years as a teacher candidate. I knew about NJEA, but I wasn’t sure about NJEA Preservice.

At first, I felt slightly intimidated. I had thought I wasn’t cut out for networking or joining something so much bigger than me. I researched more about the preservice group and realized that everyone was in the same boat as me; aspiring educators looking to expand their knowledge. When I heard we had an NJEA Preservice chapter at William Paterson University, I knew that joining was the best decision for me.

During my time as an NJEA Preservice member, I’ve been broadening my knowledge to find the next best tool to use in the classroom through various workshops and conferences and through networking with my fellow peers and educators already in the classroom. I’ve only been a member for about a year, but I feel that my time with NJEA Preservice has given me an upper hand in the field of education.

In just the year that I’ve been in the organization, I’ve been to two conferences, a workshop, and several meetings. I attended the NJEA convention in Atlantic City for the first time. Through emails from NJEA, I’ve been kept up to date on serious issues happening in the union that will soon enough affect me. I’ve also had access to professional articles on teaching, and so much more.

One huge resource that has helped me was the edTPA workshop. EdTPA is a very intensive teacher assessment that all aspiring educators must complete and submit during Clinical Practice 2. These workshops, provided by NJEA Preservice, have enabled me to better understand this assessment and helped me gain knowledge about a very crucial aspect of the certification process. If I were not a part of the NJEA Preservice I wouldn’t have this kind of access to tips and resources about the edTPA.

Joining NJEA Preservice has also made me stronger as a person. With my new knowledge and as an ambassador for my university’s preservice association, my peers look to me for guidance about our future as educators in New Jersey. NJEA Preservice has guided me on a path of resilience and a path of continual education. After my time in NJEA Preservice is complete, I intend to join the NJEA Early Career Network to keep myself up to date on everything new in the field of education. I cannot thank everyone in NJEA Preservice enough for all of their time and dedication to something so important to every clinical intern in education.

Does your school host student teachers and practicum students?

Students who are preparing to become teachers are the future of our profession and NJEA leadership. That’s why it’s vital that you encourage preservice educators in your school to join NJEA Preservice.

A part of NJEA, preservice organization offers important professional development opportunities. NJEA Preservice members host their own student-geared conference and attend the NJEA Convention along with NJEA members.

NJEA Preservice members lead the profession on their respective campuses and go on to become local association leaders after graduation. To sign up for membership, click here.

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