Professional teacher organizations are an awesome way for teachers to connect and network with other educators outside of their community. Most teacher professional organizations have high-quality professional development opportunities (both in person and online), professional journals, educator and classroom resources, legal advocacy, and conferences. These organizations are an amazing way to build capacity as a professional.
Most of the organizations listed are national organizations for US teachers. A few are international. Almost all of these organizations have outstanding state or region affiliate organizations that can provide you awesome professional opportunities and growth.
The American Library Association (ALA) is the oldest and largest library association in the world, providing association information, news, events, and advocacy resources for members, librarians, and library users.
Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the mission of ALA is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.
The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) is dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction. ACTFL is an individual membership organization of more than 12,000 language educators and administrators from elementary through graduate education, as well as government and industry. Since its founding, ACTFL has become synonymous with innovation, quality, and reliability in meeting the changing needs of foreign language educators and their students. From the development of Proficiency Guidelines, to its leadership role in the creation of national standards, ACTFL focuses on issues that are critical to the growth of both the profession and the individual teacher.
The American Federation of Teachers is a union of professionals that champions fairness; democracy; economic opportunity; and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their families and communities. They are committed to advancing these principles through community engagement, organizing, collective bargaining and political activism.
Founded in 1943, ASCD (doing business as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is the global leader in developing and delivering innovative programs, products, and services that empower educators to support the success of each learner. ASCD is a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading. ASCD’s innovative solutions promote the success of each child.
ASCD promotes effective instruction and instructional leadership, and members include both teachers and administrators.
ILA (formerly the International Reading Association) is a global advocacy organization, and literacy is their cause, their passion, and their reason for being. ILA publish cutting-edge research on literacy, and they translate this research into practical resources for educators, students, and leaders involved in spreading literacy all across the world. Armed with a deep understanding of the history of reading and literacy research, they advocate for teachers’ and students’ needs and set the standards for how literacy is taught and evaluated.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier nonprofit organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world. ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world. ISTE is a powerful way for educators to connect with peers, share knowledge and ideas, and help lead the transformation of education. ISTE also offers innovative ed tech resources to support professional learning for educators and education leaders.
Founded in 1947, The National Art Education Association (NAEA) is the leading professional membership organization exclusively for visual arts educators. Members include elementary, middle and high school visual arts educators, college and university professors, researchers and scholars, teaching artists, administrators and supervisors, and art museum educators, as well as more than 45,000 students who are members of the National Art Honor Society or are university students preparing to be art educators. NAEA represents members in all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, U.S. Possessions, most Canadian Provinces, U.S. military bases around the world, and twenty-five foreign countries.
Since 1975, the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) has been a non-profit membership organization that works to ensure that language-minority students have equal opportunities to learn English and succeed academically.
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is the world’s largest organization of early childhood professionals. NAEYC promotes high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. They advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children.
The National Council of Teachers of English is devoted to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education. The Council promotes the development of literacy, the use of language to construct personal and public worlds and to achieve full participation in society, through the learning and teaching of English and the related arts and sciences of language.
Founded in 1920, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) is the world’s largest mathematics education organization, with 80,000 members and more than 230 Affiliates throughout the United States and Canada. Interested in Membership?
The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA’s 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), founded in 1944 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, is the largest organization in the world committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership of 55,000 includes science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in and committed to science education. Click here to read a fact sheet about NSTA.
Founded in 1921, National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has grown to be the largest association in the United States devoted solely to social studies education. NCSS engages and supports educators in strengthening and advocating social studies. With members in all the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 69 foreign countries, NCSS serves as an umbrella organization for elementary, secondary, and college teachers of history, civics, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and law-related education. Organized into a network of more than 110 affiliated state, local, and regional councils and associated groups, the NCSS membership represents K-12 classroom teachers, college and university faculty members, curriculum designers and specialists, social studies supervisors, and leaders in the various disciplines that constitute the social studies.
PDK International, publisher of Kappan magazine, is a professional association for educators that brings together the top leaders, thinkers, and doers to collaborate and inspire one another.
By providing professional learning opportunities, targeted networking, and relevant research, PDK helps researchers and practitioners deepen their expertise, elevate their careers, and ultimately experience better results in their work.
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) is a global professional association for English language educators involved in the teaching English as a second, foreign, or other language. TESOL International Association’s mission is to advance professional expertise in English language teaching and learning for speakers of other languages worldwide.