Become a Teacher Advisor

What is a JSA Teacher Advisor?

 As a Teacher Advisor (TA), it is your role to support students and guide them throughout the year. TAs work with student leaders to identify the traits of effective leadership and coach them to be effective leaders.

At the chapter level, the Teacher Advisor helps the chapter’s student leaders by suggesting debate and discussion topics, directing students to sources for research, and helping the chapter remain non-partisan by ensuring that all sides of the issues discussed are represented.

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. 

What does being a “student-led” organization mean?

JSA is different from many other educational organizations because it is student-led. On every level of the organization, from the regions down to chapters, students decide how JSA should be run and what agenda and goals JSA should pursue. By having real responsibility in the organization, students can 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 your role is to coach student leaders.

Tips to Become A Successful TA 

Identify Chapter Goals

Student leaders identify their goals for the year. Effective goals will keep your chapter on track. You and your JSA members should set SMART Goals: Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, & Time­based, and your students should revisit goals throughout the year to track progress and make adjustments.


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

Backward 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

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.