New CSSS Members Guide

General Duties: The general duties of our council members may include developing science curriculum and assessments, providing information on state and national standards, educational reform efforts, science safety issues, new technologies, selecting science educational materials, working with science certification issues, and administering science programs or grants.

Members Who Can Help You:
Visit the Board Page. Your Board members have a deep desire for you to feel a part of CSSS and for you to succeed at your job. The Board wants CSSS to be a friendly and productive organization. Send them e-mail and ask them questions.

Find the members in the states that surround your state on the Members Page. Get to know them by clicking on their names and introducing yourself. Ask some dumb questions and you will find them to be most helpful.

Common Problems:
"No one listens to you" is a common complaint. Your importance rises exponentially as you move in any direction away from your own state. But in your state your boss never listens to you.

This is why it is important to network within your state. If you cannot get something done, sometimes you can get others to accomplish what you can not.

If they are thinking about making you a generalist, get on the network or phone and find out in what states this has not worked. Sometimes you can build a case why your department should not take this approach. Sometimes you just have to weather this bit of insanity. It usually only last a year.

Guidelines To Survive:

  1. membersMake time for a home and/or social life. You will be much more effective at work.
  2. Be seen by upper management in your state agency.
  3. Try to always have a smile for everyone from the Chief down to the maintenance workers. Especially when you hear the word "reorganization."
  4. If you are fortunate to have a good secretary, treat him or her like they are worth their weight in gold.
  5. Be armed with roller skates and flak jackets to handle frequently hostile crowds. If you let the hostile ones know that you care about them, in most cases it will defuse the anger.
  6. Let everyone at your agency think you are brilliant - never admit that you are just a regular person. They expect you to be brilliant if you are in science.
  7. Try to help everyone who asks something of you somehow, no matter how stupid the request. It is amazing how many of those people you talk to over the phone end up running into you somewhere. And THEY remember.
  8. Know the best meeting places all over the state. It is amazing what a social lubricant a good meal and a nice room is, and it is as equally amazing how when a group of people expecting dessert don't get it, how mean they can be.
  9. Talk to and be nice to all the secretaries. They know what is really going on all through the department.  They are better than list serves or memos to get the big political picture.
  10. Look good by being able to write lots of stuff to fill up space that conveys intelligence on your part as a the writer.
  11. If you get other assigned duties, just remember that they only watch you for a little while, and that you can devoted more time to science than you have been assigned.
  12. Stay in touch with schools. Watch yourself. You can get caught up in the day-to-day work of state government and neglect science education in the classrooms. Always remember that classroom teachers and principals are doing the real work and need your support and sometimes guidance.
  13. Keep or develop a sense of humor when working in state government (read Dilbert).
  14. Find time to teach, you'll be more credible with teachers.
  15. Hold on to and sharpen your sense of humor, it will get you out of a lot of tight spots.  Send appropriate jokes to other members.