Recruit, Recognize and Advocate future leaders of FCS with Nicki Pedeliski

Welcome back to the Connect FCS Ed podcast. Today with me, I have a teacher from California, Ms. Pedeliski, who has taught FCS and advised FCC LA for nine years. She actively gives back to FCS, an FCCLA by volunteering at local and national levels. Nikki is the current vice president and family consumer science teacher Association of California. She is an advisor, mentor and a graduate of FCCLA advisory Academy. She loves learning and attending professional development, she is currently working towards her masters in leadership, so she’s coming to us with arsenal of Information. Welcome Nicki!


•   We want to talk about strategies for retaining our FCS teachers because we love our teachers, don’t we? Yes, we do. And we need them, we need them so desperately bad research says that teachers leave the profession within the first three years that they’re gonna do so for that first three years is crucial. I think one of the number one strategies for keeping those new teachers is for them to find a mentor, and I think we need to step up as other FCs teachers and be that mentor for them, whether we know them or not, whether they’re in our district, even our state, I think it’s just really vital that we have that SCS teacher connection, that’s instrumental for their success (1:25)

•   Right now, the nation is experiencing the biggest wave of retirements ever, as teachers born in the baby boom era of 1946 to 64, they’re gradually reaching the age of 65, the rate of those low-income schools is even higher, the number of college students planning to enter the teaching field is at the lowest point since 1970 according to The 2016 survey of University of California.  How can we make a difference for tomorrow’s future leaders? That is such a really great way to put it, because they are future leaders and we think teachers sometimes we don’t necessarily think leaders, unfortunately, they’re not tied together as tightly as I wish they were, but… What do we do? I think we as FCS specifically, we have to do a better job of identifying ourselves as what we are, we are not just cooking, you’re not just sewing, we are no longer Home Ec… I know the words Home Economics has a really rich history and we need to keep that, but we also need to move forward. And I think identifying ourselves, each sector, interior designers, how many interior designers know that they fall under the FCS umbrella, I can’t tell you how many do… And There are some that would say, Yeah, I took a FCS class in high school, that’s where I was introduced to it. But would we go to a university now and realize that they fall under the FCS umbrella and could teach this to kids, I don’t know if they would be able to tell you that. So I think identifying ourselves is probably part of the foundation. (11:57)

•  How would you say we could go about providing various leadership opportunities to those? Good question. Providing those leadership opportunities. I think we have to work together to create some sort of continuity, that way we can make a bigger impact, so that could look like individual states or districts putting together initiatives, lesson plans to push out to their high school people also visiting with those people at the college level, the university level, getting people who are staff at college is on board with what we teach, what we do, I think is also instrumental to getting more teachers for our content.(13:41)

•  How did you go about establishing a mentor program?  So that’s a good question. So mentoring, it’s one of those things I just decided within myself, I wanted to give back to my network of people, and I felt like I had a good place, I was in a good place to do it, so I started being very present on the Facebook group specifically for the FCCLA advisor one. ’cause that’s really where my passion lies. So from there, I was kind of, for lack of better terms, maybe targeted a little bit for a formal program that was put together by Nebraska FCCLA where they lumped teachers and advisors together. So I did that for a couple of years. Just kind of checked in, I had my select few of people who have a check-in with, and then California just recently last year, piloted program, we kind of revamped over the summer, and then, now really it is taking off with really good intentions and some really wonderful goals in place.  On the personal level is just reaching out, making connections, it’s all about relationships, and I think as an FCS teacher, we know that it’s all about the relationships we build with kids, with our communities, with our teaching peers, so it’s building those relationships and really being an advocate for them and standing in their corner and being their champion and their cheerleader, you can do this, you can do this, and let me help you do it, or let me show you how I did it… (20:33)

•  How would you go about we meet the challenges within FCS education, because we are up against a lot of challenges right now?  We are, and I hate to say it like this, but I feel like that’s a little bit of a loaded question because there’s so much when it comes to meeting the challenges. I feel like we have a really strong community, it’s just we need some of those community members to step up, when I think about even my friend network, I have some really close friends who do amazing things, but just maybe for whatever reason, haven’t stepped up to be the leader, the champion, they haven’t grown their wings to be able to fly quite yet, so I think that’s kind of where that mentorship comes in a little bit is that encouragement is, Hey, I think you would be amazing, I think maybe you just need to start small, but try… So I think meeting the challenges come with encouragement, we all know somebody who is a kick-butt teacher who knows what they’re doing, who has it all together, and maybe they just need to be asked like, Hey, I think you need to… Have you thought about this? Or, what do you think about this? And maybe they didn’t know the opportunity was there to step up, I think that would be a really great start to meeting the challenge of really anything… I could even say that to my kids. Have you thought about joining FCCLA? Well, no, nobody’s ever tapped to me on it, let me tell you about it, getting them excited and then kind of just slowly pushing them towards that. Yeah.  I agree, it’s… The power of ask is really what it is. (30:58)


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OCTOBER 20th, 2021

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