5 Quick Tips for New DECA Advisors

If you’re like most DECA advisors, you start each school day with loads of enthusiasm, feeling organized and ready to take on the day’s challenges. But, as a new advisor, by the end of the day you may feel more like you’ve just run a marathon in your dress shoes and you still haven’t found the finish line.

Your first few years as a DECA advisor will become some of your most memorable, not just because you will have figured out what not to do, but because you will have experienced so many first-time successes too! One of the best things about being a new DECA advisor is the amount of support available through DECA’s resources, conferences and professional development opportunities like the New Advisor Academy offered at DECA’s International Career Development Conference (ICDC).

New advisors like Teresa Brooks, from Southington DECA (Southington, Conn.), understand what it means to Make It Count as a DECA advisor. As a former high school DECA member, Teresa started her teaching career three years ago with an insider’s perspective on the value DECA has in the classroom. Now she eagerly shares her top five tips for making those first few years count.

  1. Utilize Your Resources.

One resource I found most useful to me as a new advisor was the DECA website. Here my students and I found examples of case studies and sample exam questions we could use in the classroom. 

I also quickly realized that purchasing the sample exams and role-play materials from DECA Images was worthwhile as well. I use them in my classroom as bell ringers and assessments to help students familiarize themselves with the competition process earlier on in the year.

  1. Take Advantage of Professional Development Opportunities by Attending a Conference.

Make every effort to go to a regional conference and/or a DECA professional development conference. ICDC always offers new advisor training. Take advantage if you’re able to attend! It is well worth the time and it’s an opportunity to network with veteran advisors as well as advisors facing the same challenges as you.

If you don’t make it to ICDC, a regional conference like the Ultimate Power Trip also offers great advisor training while your student members are in their conference sessions. 

Consider attending a DECA summer professional development conference too. I was able to attend a summer institute held at Johnson & Wales in Providence, R.I., and it was a great experience. It not only helped me to better prepare my students for all aspects of DECA, but also helped me in the classroom and introduced me to other teachers facing the same challenges I do every day. One of the best parts of attending is being able to bend the ears of some of the trainers from DECA Inc., which really gives you great insight and fuel for going back and advocating for DECA at the local level. This year’s advisor summer institutes are being held at the Johnson & Wales campuses in Providence, R.I., and Denver, Colo. 


  1. Keep Up-to-date with the Latest DECA News.

Using DECA Direct Online and receiving the DECA Direct Weekly emails is a great way to stay up-to-date with everyone else in DECA. I get the updates for DECA Direct Weekly right in my email inbox every Tuesday and go through it quickly to see what I want and need to share with my students. There are often great articles, tips, or activities to have students work on to get more exposure for your chapter and more experience. 

If you aren’t receiving DECA Direct Weekly, email communications@deca.org to sign up!

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Use Social Media.

Social media is a great way to get recognition for your chapter and expand its visibility. You can share valuable information with members, upcoming events, successful achievements and more. Sharing all of this with your state/provincial association, DECA Inc., and local news sources can really get your members excited. It also helps students continue to use these resources in a positive and professional way. Our chapter mostly uses Twitter, but creating a Pinterest board, having students create Vines for officer elections, or having a chapter Instagram for your historian to run are all great ways to keep your students engaged and active in DECA throughout the year.

  1. Network with Other Advisors.

Make sure to network with other DECA advisors locally and across the country. I worked with advisors close to me and we all kept each other going in the first few years. Veteran advisors are full of information, so connect with them to learn more about the organization, what they do to help their students make the stage in competitions, and how to plan travel to different conferences. There is no question too big or too small. 

Teresa is ready to help you make the most of your first few years as a DECA advisor. She’s a great resource to help you meet the challenges and experience the rewards of being a new DECA advisor. Send your questions for Teresa Brooks to tbrooks@southingtonschools.org or connect with Teresa on Twitter @DECAbrooks.

Follow Sandra on Twitter @stuckerdeca.

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