As an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of English, I think FCTE can find something of a map in the NCTE vision, which was released as a draft document earlier this year. We exist at the state level to provide the following benefits to our members:
Through our website, our PDI, and the Florida English Journal, we provide Florida ELA teachers with access to current information and knowledge about our field.
Teachers need to take charge of their profession. We can’t do it as individuals, but we can work as a professional team to make our voices heard in Tallahassee. It’s well past time that the decisions that our politicians are making stop being political feel-good moves and become pedagogically sound choices.
Knowledge and information help to create agency. In other words, FCTE members benefit because they are informed. That allows them to act independently and make their own free choices. Here’s one example: The FCTE PDI does not enforce a one-size-fits-all professional development experience on its members. Instead, members create their own experiences by attending break-out sessions they choose to fit their needs and interests.
One of the most compelling reasons to join a professional organization is the network. Teachers still tend to walk into their rooms and shut the door. Having at least a little control over what we do is a good thing, but it’s easy to become isolated. We need to talk to others who do what we do, who understand what it takes out of us – and gives back to us. Many members will tell you that they have friends all over the state because they met them at an FCTE PDI.
Ultimately, however, the most important reason to join FCTE is because it increases our members’ impact on the students of the state of Florida. Better teachers = better students.
Membership in FCTE (and in our national parent organization, NCTE) does have benefits. Members broaden their knowledge, build their networks, find strength in numbers, and stay relevant and motivated. As a result, they make a difference in the lives of the students they teach, and in the end, that’s what it’s all about.
Come to our Professional Development Institute at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida, on Saturday, October 14, and let us show you what we’re all about. Bring a friend … or five! Together we’ll see just how relevant FCTE can be, even in the 21st century.
Carrie Perry, FCTE President (2016-2017)
@NCTE, #NCTEAffiliate, #FCTEPDI