I have an internship at Avery middle school this semester with a social studies teacher; this past Friday was my first day there. One thing I noticed in the classroom was that every student was issued their own Mac Book to complete homework and assignments on. The students took their Mac Books home and to school. This was incredibly different from my own experience in public school. In middle school, we only had exposure to technology in a technology class. It only met a few times a week. In high school, we had a computer lab and laptops teachers could check out, but they were very rarely used.
Throughout my college career, I’ve have taken coursed that train for different classroom techniques and learning methods, but the above example just goes to show how quickly schools are changing. One day the things I’m learning now about teaching may become obsolete.
So how does one keep up in an ever changing world?
By reading an article by Kelly A. Cherwin titled, “Why Join a Professional Association?”, it has become clear to me that professional associations offer many resources to keep you up to date on your job, such as seminars, training, or certification classes. Additionally, many professional associations also offer resources such as case studies, articles and books. You may also meet other professionals and create a network of individuals and friends that you can share ideas and experiences with. For a teacher, this would undoubtedly beneficial. Since the world of education is constantly changing, teachers can stay up to date on educational tools and information by taking advantage of the benefits of a professional association.
The National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) offers many of the benefits described above. One resource they offer is their journal Social Education which includes “techniques for using teaching materials in the classroom, information on the latest instructional technology, reviews of educational media, research on significant topics related to social studies, and lesson plans that can be applied to various disciplines.” By staying informed, social studies teachers will be taking a step towards ensuring their students gain the most up-to-date education the teacher can offer. Of course, this depends on what kinds of resources are available to the teacher, but by being a member of NCSS, the teacher would have more access to resources than a teacher who was not a member.
NCSS also holds an annual conference, which has “more than 400 sessions, workshops, and clinics” and brings together “top professionals in social studies education.” I glanced at some of the workshops from a NCCSS* conference last year. There was a numerous amount of workshops provided, and they ranged from topics such as “Understanding Homelessness: Providing an Authentic Context for Fostering Students’ Awareness” to “Listening to History: Using Oral History To Create Engaging Project-Based Learning in the Classroom,” and many more. I am certain that teachers who go to these conferences gain ideas they can apply in their own classrooms.
*NCCSS is an affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies, based in North Carolina.