Beginner Teacher Conference 2017

I’ll be honest. I’m turning 40 this year. While I am indeed a beginner teacher, I’m not a young, fresh-faced, never-had-a-career-before teacher… I’ve worked in machine shops, retail, corporate environments, and have been all around the world. I thought the beginner teacher conference would apply strictly to new professionals and I would have little to gain.

At the insistence of my admin, I attended, and within a minute of showing up I realized why it was good for me to be there.

1. Familiar faces

In my mornings session there were 2 people I knew from my drama curriculum class. We ended up having lunch together as well.

It was nice, and (I realize now) important, to be able to reconnect with familiar faces from outside my workplace/division to hear and share stories about where everyone is teaching and what people are dealing with as new teachers. I really empathized with 2 of my former classmates who have difficult positions at their school (1 is at a specialized junior high with students with high needs, and 1 is drowning in lesson planning at a high school).

However, 1 is loving her grade 5 position a lot and I also was one of the ones raving about their students, co-workers, admin, and my whole situation. A little perspective about one’s own situation is nice once in a while, so seeing other people and sharing stories was a nice way to gain some perspective.

2. Learning new stuff

Improving one’s own pedagogy is a part of the job, and I was happy to see a great variety of sessions to attend. In the AM, I attended a Makerspaces session, and in the PM I attended a Creativity session. I have significant takeaways from each session and I look forward to implementing them and sharing them here in future posts.

3. The Mandatory ATA (Alberta Teachers Association) Session 

Although much of the information was available online, this session was informative and I did learn a few things that are important regarding my contract and regarding benefits, etc. Seeing all the other beginning teachers from my zone in 1 room was nice as well. I also got to see that I wasn’t the only old beginning teacher.

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