TA Role: Advisor & Mentor

JSA uses the term Teacher Advisor (TA), as opposed to Sponsor, in order to emphasize the student-run nature of JSA. As a TA, it is your role to support students and guide them throughout the year. It is not your role to do the planning and work involved in the day­-to-­day activity of the chapter. Different students will need different levels of support, but JSA believes that all students are capable of being effective leaders with the right guidance and mentorship.

JSA recognizes that teachers work incredibly hard and balance many other commitments. We are here to help you: JSA staff members can provide support or connect you with other experienced TAs. Thank you for donating your time to our organization and supporting the mission of strengthening democracy by developing student leaders.

What does being a “student run” organization mean?

JSA is different from many other educational organizations because it is student run. On every level of the organization from the regions down to chapters, students make decisions on how JSA should be run and what agenda and goals JSA should pursue. By having real responsibility in the organization, students have the opportunity to practice their leadership skills and learn how to be successful leaders in their communities beyond school.

As a TA for your Chapter, you should work with your student leaders to think about what it means to be effective leaders. By encouraging students to step out of their comfort zone, you can help students exceed their own expectations of what is possible. It is not your role to lead the chapter, but it is your role to coach student leaders.

Role of Teacher Advisors

Effective Leadership Techniques

Tips for helping student leaders to plan, conduct, and build a strong chapter.

Mentoring Student Leaders

Teacher Advisors provide support, guidance, and coaching to students. 

TAs work with student leaders to identify the traits of effective leadership and coach them to be effective leaders. Below are some common tactics used by TAs to support students.

Identify Chapter Goals

Have student leaders identify their goals for the year. Effective goals will keep your chapter on track.

SMART Goals: Goals should be (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)chievable, (R)elevant, & (T)ime­based

Have student leaders identify their goals for the year. Effective goals will keep your chapter on track.

Students should set SMART Goals: Goals should be (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)chievable, (R)elevant, & (T)ime­based

Goals should be revisited throughout the year to track progress and make adjustments

Calendars & Backwards Planning

Calendars & Backwards Planning

Develop a calendar that outlines conventions, events, and other chapter goals. Use backwards planning to map those goals out into manageable steps.

Develop a calendar that outlines conventions, events, and other chapter goals. Use backward planning to map those goals out into manageable steps.

Create a Chapter Calendar

Students should map out JSA events, chapter events, and important school dates on a calendar.

Backward Planning

Backward Planning

Backwards Planning

Plan with your end goal in mind. List the steps to achieving your goal on your calendar.

Quantify goals and plan out how to achieve goals on the calendar

  • Break down the goal step by step
  • Mark each step on the calendar and assign responsibility for the step

Stay Organized & Focused

Stay Organized & Focus on Results

Train your student leaders to stay organized and be effective by using agendas, meeting minutes, action steps, and debriefs. Clear communication and delegation of responsibility will help your chapter be more effective and teaches students how to be accountable to their work.

Train your student leaders to stay organized and be effective by using agendas, meeting minutes, action steps, and debriefs. Clear communication and delegation of responsibility will help your chapter be more effective and teaches students how to be accountable for their work.

Build a Strong Culture of Leadership

Strong chapters have a strong culture of leadership. Experienced students identify underclassmen and train them on being effective leaders. By building a strong culture of leadership in your chapter, students can realize their potential and make your life easier by assuming more and more responsibility over chapter affairs.

Delegate Responsibility

Delegating can be difficult for students, but it is an important skill to learn. Effective delegation allows student leaders to maximize their impact.

Cultivate Talent

Identify underclassmen who are dedicated and have leadership potential. Purposefully train these underclassmen so they are ready to lead the club in the future.