||Volume 22, Number 7, May/June 2010
Another successful New Teachers’ Conference
By Mohamed Chelali
New teachers represent the renewal commitment of our profession and their needs and interests are of utmost importance to our society. The BCTF New Teachers’ Conference is designed to welcome, support, and guide new teachers entering the profession. It is one of the finest professional development events that one can attend. The conference is always popular because the presenters are almost all active classroom teachers and they volunteer their time and energy to share their passion and knowledge with their colleagues. The needs of beginning teachers are different as they enter the era of teaching in the digital age. Beginning teachers not only require initial assistance, advice, and information, but also need ongoing support during their first few years of teaching.
This conference was designed to explore best teaching practices, current challenges, research, and innovation. It is always the BCTF’s goal to offer workshops that are interactive, collaborative, practical, analytical, and cover a range of teachers’ needs from elementary to secondary. They are also designed to cover different subjects and topics from mathematics, to social justice issues, to French immersion and Francophone education.
The 2010 conference featured presentations on a wide range of issues pertinent to the new teacher’s interest and needs such as classroom management, integrating students with special needs, student assessment, teaching and learning with technology, and working with parents to name a few.
This year, we had more than 64 workshops in the program over two days, 400 attendees, and more than 30 exhibitors from different educational and non-profit organizations. Unfortunately, 100 registrants were on the waiting list and could not attend the conference because it was full.
Once again, we had very talented and skilled workshop presenters. Presenters and new teachers were unanimous about the benefit of these two professional development days for new teachers entering the profession.
Most attendees affirmed that they have gained a great deal of advice, instruction, strategies, and practical ideas that they can use directly in their classes.
- Presenter Holly Lloyd, from Burnaby, said, “I had a wonderful time at the New Teachers’ Conference and was encouraged to see so many teachers attend my workshop on yearly planning. Several teachers came up later to say it was ‘exactly what they needed’.”
- Starleigh Grass, from Gold Trail found that new teachers have great energy and the workshops she attended were excellent!
- Sunddip Nahal, workshop presenter from Vernon, was a first-time presenter at the conference and was impressed by the dedication of the new teachers and the role of the BCTF in professional development. “I really appreciate what the BCTF has done for us, and we, as teachers, are very lucky to be involved with such caring and supportive BCTF staff. I absolutely enjoyed my time meeting and connecting with others and being able to spread the news of supporting our profession. I had awesome feedback e-mailed to me from people who attended my workshop.”
Who are the best teachers of teachers? Teachers, of course...just ask them about their own learning. Who inspired them to become teachers? Who helped them when they became teachers? To whom do they constantly turn for advice? Where do they get many of their ideas? The most common answer is almost universal—other teachers. And this is why the whole theme of the BCTF conference was teachers helping teachers. Teaching is a never-ending story—it is a journey of passion and hope.
Beginning teachers teach from the heart—they are the new guides, not only to teach, but also to stimulate and motivate. They know how to instill in the minds of the citizens of tomorrow the love of learning and the passion of education and social justice.
Mohamed Chelali is assistant director, BCTF Professional and Social Issues Division and co-ordinator of the BCTF French Programs and Services.