Kacy Schattauer was among 50 educators from across the region who took advantage of a Beginning Teacher Leadership Symposium at UNC Pembroke on Tuesday.
Roundtable sessions were facilitated by UNCP faculty and seasoned instructional coaches. Participants engaged in conversations regarding the importance of parental involvement, school disciplinary practices, culturally responsive teaching and how to build positive child-teacher relationships.
“It was great!” said Schattauer, a seventh-grade math teacher at Carver Middle School. “The sessions centered on reminding returning and beginning teachers that we are here for the kids and that it looks different for every kid because every student needs different tools to succeed.
“We had some really good conversations about being culturally responsive, encouraging kids and what it looks like to build a healthy relationship with students. You can be in the classroom for 20 years and do the same things, but it never hurts to learn new techniques. It was refreshing.”
Like Schattauer, many of the teachers in attendance earned their teaching degrees from UNCP. Joe Graves, who teaches social studies at Scotland High, is a two-time graduate.
“Bringing in new teachers and allowing them to have discussions like this with veteran teachers allows two different viewpoints––new teachers with their fresh education have all these theories and from the classrooms and they can see how all these theories are applied by the veteran teachers and also how veteran teachers will adapt those methods to make it work in the classroom,” he said.
“Symposiums like this are very beneficial for the veteran teacher and the new teachers.”
Educators representing districts across the service region––as far away as Wake County––attended the half-day conference hosted by the School of Education, the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program and Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity.
Dr. Loury Floyd, dean of the School of Education, provided brief remarks. Later, the participants heard a rousing pep talk from keynote speaker Vanita Beavers, an educational consultant and former instructional coach with the NC New Teacher Support Program.
NC New Teacher Support Program Executive Director Dr. Pat Conetta summed up the event as “a tremendous opportunity for teachers––both new and old––to come together and collaborate, network, and share ideas, opinions and successes.
“The fact that UNCP was able to hold this symposium in July is a tremendous feat, and it bears out in the attendance, the excitement and the enthusiasm we see in the room,” Conetta said.