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Why are you a member of SHAPE America or your state association? Is it for all of those membership benefits? Is it so you can attend an upcoming convention or conference?

What if we rethink this? I am going to ask you to be a member of your professional organization for two very important and specific reasons.

First, be a member for you. Be a member as an investment in YOU and YOUR professional position. You will be connected to some of the highest quality professionals. You will have the opportunity to learn from and share with these high quality professionals. Through collaboration your professional learning will be pushed to another level. You’ll develop a growth mindset. In turn, this will allow you to bring the most effective and current teaching to your students, making you and your students the winners in this whole process. And that is the best outcome we could ever want.

Second, be a member because that’s what professionals do. They support the goals, ideals and missions of their state and national organization by being members. And, better yet, your participation in your state and national organizations can truly impact our profession.

As we enter the convention and conference season, I hope you will consider this mindset change when you decide to become a member of your state association and/or national organization, SHAPE America.

To paraphrase John F. Kennedy:

“Ask not what your professional organizations can do for you… ask what you can do for your professional organizations.” 

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  1. Clayton Charles Harwick

    Hi Mark, thank you for your insight on what it means to be a member of our professional organization. I am a teacher candidate at West Chester University, and being a member of SHAPE America, I have easy access to many different topics with respect to professional development. Having this platform for all of us physical educators, as well as teacher candidates, to discuss issues, practices that work best for us, and just general ideas about the profession, we always have a means for professional development. Being a member of SHAPE America is what will help our profession grow. Thank you for your input! I look forward to reading more into this as the comment section grows!

  2. Bryce J. Sadler

    Hello Mark, thank you for your thoughts about being a SHAPE America member. I am a health and physical education teacher candidate at West Chester University so I have only recently become a member. This is encouraging for me to hear about the importance of being a member and the benefits that we will receive as a result. I feel that we as teachers and myself as an aspiring teacher, should always further our learning. I had a teacher in high school who always said, “You will never stop learning, and if you do, you are probably dead.” That was something that stuck with me and it encourages me to not just do the bare minimum. By being a SHAPE America member I will be able to continue my learning through access to information on the website as well as attending conventions and conferences. Thanks again for sharing and have a great year!

  3. Brianna Hires

    Hi Mark!

    I am a West Chester University teacher candidate! Thank you for thoughts on what it means to be a SHAPE America member. I recently became a member and have just began to see the positivity and influence of our profession. There are so many ways that SHAPE America can help us as educators discuss, and continue to learn best practices to benefit our future students. Reading your post encourages me to use my membership to its full capacity getting in touch with high quality professionals to learn and advance as a teacher, while also supporting our professions goals, and what we believe in.
    Thank you again for your thoughts!

  4. Edward Joseph Albertson, V

    Hi Mark,

    My name is Eddy Albertson and I recently became a member of SHAPE America. I am currently a teaching candidate at West Chester University preparing to start my student teaching in a couple of months. SHAPE America provides the opportunity for me to continue to grow, and learn from the best educators in the world. As a student looking to become a professional having access to the most recent ideas and best practices is a fantastic resource for my professional development. I agree that being a member of SHAPE America shows commitment to becoming the best possible educator, and shows support to our profession. SHAPE America is a growing community, and I am excited to see what the future holds for the future of Health and Physical education through SHAPE America!

  5. Rylee Christine Power

    Hi Mark,
    I really appreciate your advice on being a member of SHAPE America. I am a health and physical education teacher candidate through West Chester University and I am so excited to be a new member of SHAPE America. After reading your post it really encouraged me to see that it is well worth the money in order to interact with professionals from all over the place. Getting ideas from other people is the basis of our profession and this website provides so many opportunities to collaborate with other teachers. Thank you for sharing I really enjoyed your post!

  6. Mark Foellmer Post author

    Thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it. Obviously, I have a strong feeling about being a member of your professional organization.

  7. Benjamin Ross Farber


    Thank you for this insightful post. I am a health and physical education teacher candidate from West Chester University. Your message about encouraging others to join SHAPE America is a very important message indeed. I feel that collaboration with other professionals can only help our chosen profession to grow and thrive. Thank you for this post!