INTC Conference – Day Two
Today was the conclusion of the Illinois New Teacher Collaborative Conference in Springfield. I was worried yesterday about the time being spent away from my classroom, because I didn’t feel like I was getting much out of the conference. The presenters were not particularly engaging and the information being shared, while important, did not seem to be relevant to me or anyone else in our group.
Fortunately, today was much better!
The keynote speaker today addressed some great issues, especially how to maintain and even improve a new teacher mentoring and induction program when the financial resources are being decreased or even eliminated. One of the breakout sessions I attended (with all but two of the members of our team, incidentally) focused on the critical issue of how new teachers, and all teachers, for that matter, should be addressing race and poverty in the classroom, as well as how to overcome policies and practices that often marginalise students in minority groups. (An interesting aside is that demographic projects indicate that minority groups will actually be the majority in the United States within a few decades.) We wrapped up our day with a great team planning session, where we made an action plan for our program (something I am very familiar with through my work with the Illinois Teen Institute) and then discussed our vision for the future.
I left the conference feeling energised, excited, and ready to move forward. I think that the rest of the group felt the same way. The car ride home was spent discussing what we liked about the conference, what we didn’t, and how we could apply the things we learned in a meaningful way. We also discussed the impact of PERA (the Illinois Performance Evaluation Reform Act of 2010) and Senate Bill 7, both very important legislation impacting our state.
I have another day of professional development tomorrow, this time with my fellow fourth grade teachers across the district, and then the weekend. Then it is back to the classroom on Monday to continue to drive toward the rest of the year! Have a great weekend, everyone!