By Heather Spirko, The College of New Jersey

I grew up surrounded by a family of educators, so becoming an educator was always my dream. As a future educator, making a difference in the lives of children is what I strive to do. Joining NJEA Preservice has given me countless benefits while in the process of obtaining my teacher certification. This association has given me many different opportunities as a future educator, networking with others in the field, and gaining valuable skills along the way.

Through the many conferences NJEA Preservice has enabled me to attend, I have learned a great deal about my future as a teacher. The NJEA Legislative and Political Action Conference gave me the opportunity to meet members of the New Jersey General Assembly and Senate, political candidates, and many other leaders in government that have an effect on me and public education. I learned about important issues such as future of unions, pensions and benefits, and the future of statewide student assessments under a new governor’s administration.

Being able to network with current teachers and educational support professionals is another benefit NJEA Preservice has provided to me. I’ve interacted with teachers from different school districts and even states. These connections yield good advice, connect me with teachers who have been in the field for many years, and provide good leads for future employment as an educator. I’ve also developed some great friendships along the way.

While attending the NJEA Conventions and other conferences, I am given the opportunity to be a part of many different workshops such as getting hired as a new educator, the effective use of instructional technology, and the leadership skills I’ll need to advocate for myself, my students, and other NJEA members.

NJEA Preservice has created an inspiring group of future leaders and advocates in education. NJEA Preservice has helped me gain opportunities as a future educator, network with others in the field, and taught me valuable skills for the classroom. NJEA Preservice is the best association that I could have joined as a future educator. 

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