Open Letter From a Skeptical Teacher


As a teacher, why should you have a TSA chapter?

Tom Strahin, from Preston County, talks about his first experiences with TSA!

A fellow teacher had been pushing me to become a TSA advisor. I tried to ignore the constant urging, but he wouldnít stop! For two years he had asked me to attend the Fall Conference. "Bring a couple students with you," he said. This year, the plan was to take him up on the offer, drag a few students along, and depart the conference with a sigh of "Iím sure glad thatís over"! Boy, was I in for an awakening!

After a session titled ďWhat is TSA?Ē I was bombarded with questions. From these students? No--theyíre just appeasing me. But later in the day, I was really flattened. I slipped in the back door where students were involved in some activities. Where were my guys? They were with their new friends working. I got the "thumbs up" sign from one of them--they were competing--and loving every minute of it!

The last day, I divided our little clan up to attend different sessions, giving them each a small notebook to take notes for our vocational director. Not only did they gather materials and take good notes, but they had to tell me about all of them! Quiet them down??? Boy, this was a switch!

I really didnít want to be a TSA advisor. What began as a stunt to stifle my friend from badgering me about TSA backfired. And Iím sure glad it did! Iím surprised that as a veteran educator, I could have been such a lethargic judge of opportunity.

Since returning from the conference, my students have organized a chapter. They come to class more enthusiastic and eager to learn than ever before. They want their parents involved. A recent PTA conference was scheduled from 4-7 p.m. Due to such a large turnout, the meeting lasted until 8:30! What do I get out of being a TSA advisor? More motivated students and enthusiastic parents sounds like a winning combination to me.

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