Join An Organization For Professional Development

Despite Groucho Marx’s declaration that he would not belong to any club that would have him as a member, it is good to belong to one (or more) if it would help you improve your skills and further your career. Of course, belonging to such associations does require a commitment of both time and money, so your choice should be based on what you can handle. I am a science teacher, so my list reflects this. I am sure that all of the teaching fields have their own equivalents to the ones below:


The National Science Teachers Association was founded in 1944 and is the largest organization in the world committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership of 55,000 includes science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in and committed to science education. NSTA also drafts national science education standards that provide a cohesive approach to K–12 science instruction. They have several area conferences and a national conference each year. They offer four science journals, each specializing in a different grade level (primary, middle, secondary, and college) as well as books and other publications.


The American Chemical Society is the world’s largest scientific society (more than 163,000 members) and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization chartered by Congress, ACS is the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers, and related professions. The Society publishes numerous scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy, and career programs in chemistry. They also give more than $22 million every year in grants for basic research.


The Science Teachers Association of Texas is a chapter of the National Science Teachers Association and was formally organized in 1957. STAT membership is more than 6,000 strong and is a statewide organization of elementary, middle level, and high school teachers, college educators, supervisors of science, and others dedicated to maintaining the highest levels of science and education in Texas schools. The annual meeting of STAT is the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST). Attendance in recent years has exceeded 7,000 participants, which makes CAST the nation’s largest statewide meeting of science teachers. STAT provides funding each year for conferences within the 20 educational regions of Texas. The regional conferences are intended to bring the best of CAST presentations to a local forum and to encourage new memberships.