Going into the promising practice conference I was very excited. I told my mom and sister who are both teachers that I am attending my first professional development. Yes I am sort of far away from becoming a teacher, but I always act professional when it comes to representing myself in a serious setting. I signed up for two workshops for my day. The first workshop being Confidently Working Towards your Career and my second one was Using Technology in Early Childhood Classrooms. To start whoever was in charge of naming the workshops did a inadequate job describing them. I was under the impression for my first workshop, Confidently Working Towards your Career that it was going to give tips and pointers about achieving confidence within yourself. That was far from it. When I showed up to the classroom I started to get slightly nervous. The workshop was structured for only STEM students and minorities entering that field. Now there were two African American ladies running the workshop who are business owners and educators. They were both surprised to see that there were no African American people attending our workshop. Now don't get me wrong here, they were both welcoming regardless of the situation. It was just unfortunate that everyone there was under a different impression about the workshop itself. They tried their best to make the workshop interesting.
Now it was off to my second workshop of the day. Using Technology in Early Childhood Classrooms. Back to the person in charge of naming the workshops. I feel he or she didn't do a great job explaining this one either. Being a Technology Major I was under the impression that there was going to be an actual showing of teaching the kids how to use technology. There was to an extent, but not what I expected. The workshop was based on teaching different subjects by the use of technology. By using power point, smart boards, ipads, downloadable apps and other websites. It was a great presentation, but I can only go as far as the technology. I would only be using math, history and English to an extent within my classrooms if I am doing hands on work.
Finally it was back to Donovan for the key note speaker. The Keynote Address was by Dr. Christopher Emdin #hipHopED(ucators) STEMing the Tide of Disinterest in Education. Dr. Emdin is an Associate Professor in the department of STEM at Columbia University. I was nervous getting ready to listen to him because of my experience with my two workshops, but he was the deal breaker. Dr. Emdin is maybe one of my favorite speakers that I have witnessed in a school setting. STEM aside, he is truly passionate about what he does and cares about his students. He spoke sort of fast, but I always able to catch some points of his address. One topic he discussed was students leaving school due to bad experiences in science and or math. He explained how the classroom setting and teacher/professor can make the difference in the students view on the subject. It really is sad to see a student drop out of school because of struggling with content. This is where the teacher needs to come in. He then said we as educators need to understand youth in education. The teacher needs to find something within his or her students that they need to work with to keep the students intrigued. To expand my own thoughts on the teacher/student relationship I feel it is very rare today to have a great experience. I would say over 50% of professors/teachers are out of touch with their students today. This is what leads kids to drop out in school or college. It also leads to dropping classes which prolongs a college career. I have dropped a lot of classes in my college career not because I hated the subject it was because the classroom setting was terrible. I need to develop a positive relationship with my professor and classmates. I admit I do get down on myself for being 24 years old realizing I could be in my career, but I just need to have a positive experience within the classroom. I have been very lucky and fortunate for having a positive semester. I really enjoy going to my classes at Rhode Island College because my classrooms are filled with positive experiences. I understand I could have some tough classroom experiences on the horizon, but maybe just maybe i'll be able to change it to a positive.