The 2018 Student PSEA Conference is only a few days away, and suddenly we are all faced with some big decisions to make: Which blazer should I wear? Should I take notes on my tablet or a notepad? Am I going to be the change I wish to see in my organization and run for a leadership position?
Leadership is one of the key components that Student PSEA prides itself on. We provide endless opportunities for members to step up and become leaders within our association so that they can effect change at the chapter, region, state, and even national level. It’s not hard to fall in love with this incredible, organized group of aspiring educators, which is why it’s important for us to have this conversation: What does it mean to be a leader?
To be a leader of an organization of almost 7,000 members, you have to be a little crazy. If you haven’t already seen it, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the Dancing Guy video. You might be wondering how a lone shirtless dancing man turns into a pop-up dance party, or you might be wondering how this relates to our professional organization. The truth is, in the words of Chris Clayton, Student PSEA is a “revolution,” and you are all a part of the largest statewide aspiring educator-driven movement in our country.
“Leadership is over-glorified.”
If you watched the video, you saw how one man inspired a group of strangers to join together in a dance party like no other. However, that man wasn’t the crazy lone wolf. It was the first follower who decided to join along fearlessly. That’s what we do in Student PSEA. We lead by example and inspire others to join us on our journey to make the future of public education in Pennsylvania great.
When we think of leaders, we often think of our state executive board, our region presidents, and our chapter presidents. You may be thinking you don’t have the personality or the experience to run for such influential positions. However, the second you walk into a Student PSEA meeting and participate, you, too, are a leader. In fact, you’re the most important one. Whether you’re writing a letter to a lawmaker, building a Little Free Library for a local community, or even speaking up and making your voice heard at a general meeting, you are running the movement that we are so passionately organizing.
How will you “be the change?”
While experience can be beneficial for larger roles within our organization, it is most certainly not required. If you are passionate and driven about our mission, you are qualified for whatever leadership position you desire. And you have a large amount of leadership opportunities to choose from.
NEA Student Chairperson
NEA Board of Directors
NEA Resolutions Committee
Delegate to the NEA Student Leadership Conference/Representative Assembly
Student representative to PSEA Committees
Delegate to the PSEA House of Delegates
Each of these positions has a different time commitment associated with it. However, every single one of them is vital to the success of our organization. When choosing which position is best for you, it is important to consider the time and energy you are able to commit to your role. Whether you choose to do everything in your role, or nothing, you are leading nonetheless, and it’s up to you to decide what type of leader you want to be.
As leaders, we must be intentional with our thoughts and actions, choosing to love through every situation. Our main job as Student PSEA leaders is to encourage followers to join us in our movement. With only an average of 4 years as a college student, we must make the most of every moment we have to ensure that we leave a positive mark on the organization that has given us so much.
If you are curious about the leadership opportunities available to you, or if you would like to learn more, please visit our conference website and come to our Ice Cream Social Thursday night, April 5th, to meet with current SPSEA leaders and ask them any questions you may have.
I look forward to inspiring change with you this weekend in State College.
Marie Hutchings, Student PSEA President