July 24, 2019 – DENTON – Attendees at Texas Woman’s University’s Sixth Annual New Teacher Academy got a taste of what their first year of teaching might look like, along with information and encouragement to help them not only survive , but also to prosper.
Emily Becker, a 2018 UTW graduate who just finished her first year of teaching, came away with “a few bumps and bruises … Fortunately, only one tetanus vaccine,” she said in laughing. Becker, a special education teacher at Lewisville Elementary, told new teachers their first year would be a roller coaster, but advised them to ask questions and make connections, both with their colleagues and students.
“My freshman year has led me to some of the best people I’ve ever met,” said Becker, who was named ISD Lewisville’s freshman teacher for 2018-19.
Over 100 people attended the New Teacher Academy, which took place July 16 at TWU’s Denton campus. Now in its sixth year, the event offers additional mentoring and professional development support to TWU graduates in their first three years of teaching. Applicants from iteachTEXAS, an alternative certification program, are also invited, a result of the integrative collaboration with iTeach, TWU, North Central Texas College and the Denton Independent School District.
“We’re here to help you become more confident and comfortable going into your first year of teaching,” said Sarah McMahan, PhD, teacher education faculty member who founded academy with colleague Rebecca Fredrickson, EdD.
This year’s event included a pre-conference workshop focused on preparing teachers to use Google apps to improve student learning in the classroom.
“Many districts in the area have a course set or individual Chromebooks in the classroom,” McMahan said. “It is an expectation that teachers know how to integrate technology applications to improve student learning. She added that district officials consider it important to hire educators who have received training and become Google Certified Educators.
The workshop was designed to prepare academy participants for Google Level 1 certification. Google Certified Educators Miranda Hansen and Kate Jackson, both from Prosper ISD, provided information and advice on taking the tests. 36 participants.
Hansen and Jackson also led a “Technology in the Classroom” breakout session for the New Teacher Academy. Other sessions included “Working with Special Populations” and “Effective Classroom Management Strategies”. The event also included panel discussions featuring novice teachers and a Q&A panel with area school administrators.
Also new this year, organizers have invited area school districts looking for teachers to send representatives to the academy. Ten districts sent representatives to recruit teacher candidates who did not have jobs. McMahan said it was also an opportunity for candidates to build their professional learning network, adding that a number of attendees stayed at the end of the academy to speak with representatives.