I was invited to the PDK International Education Summit, held in San Antonio, November 13-15.  Today I booked my hotel, but I am still trying to figure out my flight.  Either I have a choice of leaving at 5:40AM or late in the afternoon – yikes.  Regardless, I will figure it out.  The Summit will be focusing on many topics, but two are of great interest to me:  “How do we prepare preservice teachers to be effective educators,” and “How do other countries prepare teachers for success?”

I have always been shocked by how inadequate the bridge of support is from the teacher education program to first year of teaching.  Let me explain what I mean.  I feel I had a great student teaching experience, but that was 7th grade social studies.  In my first year I was teaching business education at the high school level.  Of course, I used many of my experiences, classroom management techniques, and instructional best practices from middle school to high school, yet the students are different, i.e. in cognitive development.  Then coming from business I was expecting to be monitored, assessed, and provided feedback throughout my first year of teaching.  To my dismay, I was observed only three times the entire year.  It just seems our actions don’t back up our values.  If teaching children is so critical and keeping teachers in the profession is such a top priority, then why isn’t there more support for first year, second year, and even third year teachers.  I remember craving feedback, wondering how I could improve.  Of course I reflected and sought improvement on my own, but it’s not quite the same as having an experienced, master teacher providing guidance and valuable feedback.

Hopefully, at this Summit I will learn ways to better create that bridge from teacher education program to first year teaching, and learn what other countries are doing.  I will bring my laptop and blog as I am attending the conference.

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