Report by Chair Jonathan Frey Jr.
The truth is, the Chicago NEA Aspiring Educators Conference this year was life-changing for me. I had never attended any type of educational conference before this, and so there was a huge culture shock to begin with. But as the week went on, the connections I made, the people I met, and the associations I created with those who presented were amazing.
I think sometimes I forget the importance of human connection amidst all the issues facing aspiring educators and professionals already in the field of education. Of course, the breakout groups were interesting, but at this conference, talking with other future educators from across the country brought me the most joy. From North Dakota to Florida and Georgia; to North Carolina and Nebraska, I created relationships with people I never would have met had it not been for this conference.
I truly believe that if real change is bound to happen, for anything, it must take a collective effort focused on that change. Together we are stronger, and this is especially true in education. We must believe that we can be the change we’re wanting to see every day in our classrooms, and as representatives of the education field. Because of this conference, I know that our aspiring educators from across the country are more ready than ever to take the reins to advocate, lead, and inspire real change in the classrooms where millions of our children, and our future children, will learn.