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NYSUT Student Membership provides exciting opportunities for future teachers

By Ben Amey



s the nation continues to grapple with the ongoing educator shortage, NYSUT is looking to engage future teachers before they even step into the classroom — and partnering with student groups on SUNY campuses to do it.

The Teacher Education Student Association, or TESA, at SUNY Potsdam is something of an incubator for the NYSUT Student Membership program. The group and its president, Nicole Pelliccia, have utilized NYSUT resources and connections to provide a richer experience for college students studying to become future educators.

Pelliccia, the daughter of two NYSUT members, has been going to protests and rallies in Albany since she was in elementary school. Getting college students involved with the union prior to graduation is crucial, she said.

“I think it’s very beneficial for students to start in NYSUT early, especially if they are planning on teaching in New York state,” said Pelliccia.

Members of SUNY Potsdam’s Teacher Education Student Association


Members of SUNY Potsdam’s Teacher Education Student Association welcome students back to campus.

She added that learning about the union from peers has made NYSUT more relatable to college students, so it doesn’t seem like a big scary thing during their first year of teaching.

The student group has leveraged NYSUT resources and contacts to bring in speakers this year, including NYSUT members to talk on first-year teaching experiences, the differences in teaching before and after the pandemic, and other topics.

Don Carlisto, Regional Staff Director for the North Country region, has been working with Pelliccia and TESA to have the NYSUT Student Membership work in conjunction with the work they are already doing.

Student members have access to NYSUT resources on professional development and certification; NYSUT Member Benefits programs, such as insurance and discounts; and also can begin building the relationships that will fuel their careers after college. For more info, visit nextgen.nysut.org.