Serving as a TSA chapter advisor at your school means more than having a “technology club.” It means your school is a part of a national organization that promotes and recognizes excellence in technology students through applied Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competitions and leadership activities.
Each year TSA brings together leading technology educators to revise, review, and develop competitions at the middle or high school level. Every competitive event is correlated to STEM concepts, and the criteria for evaluating each competition is detailed. TSA competitions (approximately 30 on the middle school level and 30 on the high school level) can be implemented at the local, state and national level.
Once affiliated, your chapter has access to Total TSA, which includes full guidelines for competitions, as well as correlations to STEM and Common Core State standards; leadership activities, with suggestions for using the activities with specific events; and, membership materials; this section provides the information you need to know for running and maintaining your chapter.
Many state TSA delegations host a yearly competition conference, as well as a leadership conference. These conferences give student members the opportunity to test their technology skills, and many students then choose to compete at the national level conference. Membership in TSA is required in order to participate at any TSA-sanctioned event at the local, state, or national level.
Whether working on an activity at the local level, or competing at the state or national level, all students who use TSA materials benefit from being a TSA member. Opportunities exist for chapter, state, and national leadership roles through elected offices and working committees. Networking among chapters is encouraged, and a mentor program is available for chapters that would like to be paired with a more experienced chapter - for the purpose of strengthening chapter participation and having questions answered.
For most TSA advisors, TSA is not the only organization they are involved with. Many also coach sports, serve as class advisors, or work on other school activities. So why do they also advise a TSA chapter? Most would tell you that they do so because they feel TSA offers:
•a sense of belonging to a group of students interested in STEM areas
Here is a sample of what many TSA advisors had to say about TSA in a recent survey:
"TSA gives the students an opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in a friendly, competitive atmosphere. TSA develops leadership and communication skills."
"TSA is student friendly. Kids like it. It appeals to a variety of students."
"TSA involves students who would otherwise receive little attention as an athlete, etc. The competitions also challenge students to think."
"TSA gives students an opportunity to perform at a level above what they thought they were capable of."
"TSA gives all kinds of kids positive goals to strive for and allows them to use technology in innovative ways. I am always amazed by how many of my TSA members go on to achieve incredible results in TSA, school, and life."
How Much Time Does It Take?
There is no question that being an advisor for a TSA chapter (or any other student activity) takes time and commitment. How much time is a function of several variables:
- Co-curricular or extra-curricular. TSA is designed so that it can be a part of a technology classroom, or can be an after school activity.
- Program of work. This is the basis of chapter activities for the year. The program of work is designed to accommodate the amount of time the advisor and members are willing to devote to the endeavor. Considerations for the program of work include: competitions, fundraising if needed, service project, and social events.
- Organization. Organizing your technology program around TSA can actually save time. TSA is designed to be student run through elected officers – this is often a great classroom management tool.