I’ve Retired from Classroom Teaching. How Can My NSTA Membership Still Benefit Me?

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Kathy Brooks says that her NSTA membership helped her tremendously during her almost 30-year career as a middle-level science teacher. And, she says, her NSTA membership is still just as valuable to her now that she’s retired from classroom teaching. Brooks says that you don’t have to end your involvement with NSTA when you leave the classroom. “There are a lot of ways NSTA can help you with your career and ways that you can be involved in the organization,” she says.
Brooks: NSTA has been a wonderful resource for me throughout my career. For example, when I was in the classroom I used SciGuides and the NSTA Learning Center for lesson ideas and to beef up my own knowledge on scientific topics. And, when I was named a district project manager to oversee revisions to the K–12 science curriculum, I turned to NSTA’s Safety Issue Papers, written by the NSTA Safety Advisory Board. I used the papers as documentation and support for the safety precautions we included in the curriculum. The funny thing is, I now serve on the NSTA Science Safety Advisory Board. I’m editing and working on position papers that were once a lifeline for me and helped me do the right thing in the curriculum.
In addition, I’ve always enjoyed attending NSTA Conferences. Presenting at the NSTA conferences has helped me gain confidence. I retired from teaching a year ago because my district offered an early retirement at the right age for me. After retiring, I became an educational consultant for the Capital Region Education Council (CREC) in Connecticut. I think that all of the presentations I made at NSTA conferences has helped me with my consulting work.
I still attend every NSTA conference that I can. Now that I’m retired, though, I look at the conferences from a different angle than when I was teaching. I have the opportunity to share my experiences with other teachers who, like me 20 years ago, were so eager to learn. Giving back is part of our professional duty. It makes me feel good when I share something I’ve done in the classroom for years and somebody says, ‘wow, that’s really cool’. Also, part of my consulting work involves giving presentations on energy education. When I attend the conferences now, I go with the intent of getting more ideas for teaching about energy.
In addition to the conferences, I still rely on other NSTA resources for my consulting work. The company I consult for has a contract with Connecticut utility companies to oversee the eeSmarts program. It provides free professional development and curriculum materials to all teachers in the state. Consultants like me take the materials into the classroom and model the lessons for teachers. This summer, I had to write two investigations—one on energy and one on water. I’ve taught a great deal on water, but not as much on energy. So, I turned to a variety of resources in the NSTA Learning Center to get a better handle on my own understanding.
NSTA membership certainly has given me a lot of support over the years. I used my NSTA membership a great deal when I was teaching, and I still get a lot of use out of it now that I’m retired. Just because I stopped teaching full time doesn’t mean I’m not interested in science education anymore. I am still very involved with NSTA because I’m young enough in my retirement that I want to stay current.
Not a member of NSTA? Learn more about how to join.
Jennifer Henderson is our guest blogger for this series. Before launching her freelance career as a writer/editor, Jennifer was Managing Editor of The Science Teacher, NSTA’s peer-reviewed journal for high school science teachers.

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2 Responses to I’ve Retired from Classroom Teaching. How Can My NSTA Membership Still Benefit Me?

  1. I am retired from the classroom after 35+ years. During the last 15 years NSTA has been a lifeline in terms of improving science instruction in my multiage grade 5/6 self-contained classroom. NSTA made a huge difference in the science learning of my former students and NSTA continues to make a a huge difference now that I am the K-5 State Science Coordinator. My work has changed, now I work with adults, teacher leaders, curriculum coordinators, administrators and informal educators. NSTA resources inform ALL of that work.
    I cannot imagine giving up my membership ever.!

  2. Maria M. Crespo says:

    Is there no discount in the membership rate for retired teachers_

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