On Saturday May 2, 2015, a FREE conference is taking place in southeast Michigan for early career and aspiring teachers. This conference is a unique opportunity for our newest educators to network and learn together.
Do youremember the excitement of first wanting to be a teacher? How about the eagerness you had during your teacher preparation program to get out there and do that work? Perhaps you recall your first years of teaching and how fun and challenging they were. I know that all of those things apply to me.
When I began, I thought I would save lives as a teacher, and I still do. This is some of the most important work that there is to be done in the world! But it is no less challenging because of that tremendous opportunity. We know that despite the career challenges, most teachers still #LoveTeaching; however, we still need supports to help us each be most successful.
Early career and aspiring teachers face some of the greatest challenge of all educators, because they are still getting their ‘sea legs’ about them as they engage in their instructional practice. While teacher preparation programs can do a great job getting individuals ready to face the classroom, what happens once they’ve moved into their first school varies widely among educators.
Some schools have strong mentoring and induction programs, but others do not. Attempts at the policy level to support new teachers can sometimes result simply in mandates to engage in a certain minimum quantity of professional learning, which may or may not be of the necessary quality to provide effective support. The data is still quite disappointing about how many teachers leave the classroom within their first several years. It points out that teacher retention is an important issue we need to take seriously, and our current efforts are not getting the job accomplished.
So what can be done?
Well, there are three things, among others, as I see it. For starters we can enhance the clinical experience for aspiring teachers before they get into their first classroom on their own. Next, we need to develop more consistency and quality in our teacher induction programs to support and mentor individuals during their fledgling years. Third, teachers need opportunities for continuing professional learning that is quality, actionable, and accessible.
While these types of programmatic initiatives can take a long time to achieve, we might be able to look at what successful experienced educators do that helps to sustain them in their work. Some of that includes connecting with other teachers and learning together. Conferences are a great way to meet new colleagues, hear fresh ideas, or be able to think things through with a new perspective during an unscheduled conversation. Often times, however, conferences do not target supporting our newest teachers.
That’s why I’m proud to be part of organizing an event specifically designed to support early career teachers in Michigan! Best of all? This conference is a half day affair–and it’s free!
May 2, 2015 8AM – 12PM
The Michigan New Teacher Conference is a free event for early career and aspiring teachers to network and learn with and alongside experienced educators.
New and experienced educators are invited to join us for a morning of conversations about teaching, leading, and learning. This conference has something for educators with all levels of experience.
Support for Michigan’s newest teachers
Insight from accomplished career educators
Networking opportunities for all participants
All conference attendees to walk away with strategies, skills, and tools that can be used the very next day.
The Michigan New Teacher Conference has been made possible by support from
The MEEMIC Foundation, Oakland University School of Education and Human Services, and the SAGA Educators Network.
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