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SAN DIEGO — From Dec. 14 through Dec. 16, ASTA sent a small cohort of teachers to CTA’s New Educator Weekend South in San Diego.
The group, consisting of six AUHSD teachers with either one or two years of classroom experience, attended the three-day conference consisting of a myriad of workshops and sessions designed to help ease the stress and confusion involved in the first years of teaching.
From workshops on student loan forgiveness and protecting your credential to sessions focused on empowering students and using your voice for activism, CTA set out to offer a unique professional development experience tailored to meet the specific needs of the many different early educators.
Among those ASTA members who attended the New Educator Weekend (or NEW) was Luis Iñiguez, a first year Spanish teacher at Anaheim High. For Iñiguez, the conference was an opportunity to work on his craft.
“I decided to go to (NEW) because I knew it would be a unique opportunity for me to learn about different instructional strategies and ways to engage students in the classroom,” Iñiguez said. “Not only was it an amazing learning experience, but it’s great to network and meet other educators from all over California.”
The breakout format -- consisting of nearly 75 different sessions -- allowed newer educators the opportunity to focus on developing the skills which will help them succeed in their districts.
It is no secret that discipline is a problem not only in our district, but in districts across the state. For this reason, NEW attendees had the opportunity to attend “A Talk About Discipline” hosted by classroom management guru Rick Morris.
For new educators like Brett Taylor, a first year social science teacher at Brookhurst Junior High, this Sunday morning session provided invaluable tips on how to manage two of his more difficult classes.
“I really like Rick’s ‘firm, but soft’ perspective on discipline,” Taylor said. “A big takeaway for me was to work on follow through with my students and holding them accountable to the social contract we have in class.”
A stand-out takeaway from Morris’s session revolves around a simple idea: Teachers should not take it personally when students misbehave.
“It really goes back to getting to know the student,” Taylor said. “My students’ behavior is not personal. They just need to be taught what’s appropriate.”
The weekend ended with a rousing speech delivered by CTA President Eric Heins in which he discussed, among other topics, the importance of local associations working together to ensure the best quality education for our students statewide.
“When we start talking about our students and our values for education, that’s what unites us,” Heins said. “And that unity is called union!”
NEW was just the latest in a long line of professional development conferences offered by CTA. From the Good Teaching Conference in San Jose to the Summer Institute at UCLA, the association regularly offers members the chance to take advantage of these opportunities for growth.
ASTA members are encouraged to speak to their site reps about future conferences offered by CTA.
“I would 110% recommend this conference to all (new) teachers in the district,” Iñiguez said. “If you are given the opportunity to go next year, take it!”