ISU College of Education hosted their second annual Future Teacher Conference on November 13, 2020. The event was virtual this year, and 235 high school students from around the state participated. The Future Teacher Conference is an event for high school students who are interested in the field of education. The Future Teacher Conference gives students an opportunity to learn about the process of becoming a teacher and about resources available to teachers. It is a way to motivate students to be interested in the field of Education and to help them identify what area of teaching they want to pursue.
This year’s theme was Teaching in the Moment and Beyond. After kicking off with opening remarks from Dr. Shamaine Bertrand, participants were invited to select from several sessions. The sessions covered various topics around education students’ experiences, self-care, restorative practice, and more. Students also had the opportunity to watch short videos about each content area of teaching and attend a question and answer session with faculty and teachers. To learn more, visit Future Teacher Conference (FTCON) | College of Education – Illinois State.
One session, “Strengths of Teaching in an Urban Community,” was led by three Chicago Public School teachers and ISU NCUE program graduates, Daniel Jackson, Matthew Miller, and Cailynn Stewart. This session was interactive using the Kahoot platform to give students the opportunity to learn about teaching in an urban area. Another meaningful session that students had the opportunity to attend was “Restoring Self: Practicing Self-Care Towards Restorative Practices,” led by Apryl Riley, ISU NCUE program director, Induction & Mentoring. This session focused on tools for self-care anchored in restorative justice such as learning to create a self-care plan, which can be used in classrooms to create an engaged and nurturing community.
In conclusion, though the cancellation of the campus in-person version of the Future Teacher Conference was heartbreaking, the pandemic did not prevent it from happening. The virtual experience was successful in bringing the participants greater insight into the importance of teaching and encouraging their consideration of a career in education. New ideas were also brought up for next year’s Future Teacher Conference, whether it be in-person or virtual.
Thank you to the FTCON committee for making it possible: Kelli Appel, Jessica Barringer, Shamaine Bertrand, Molly Davis, Jane Koscielak, Grace Kang, Emily Jones, Maggie Morris Davis, Sandra Payan Catano, Kate Peeples, Jay Percell, Allen Molly, Sara Piotrowski, and Benjamin Wellenreiter.