More than 140 new teachers – some new to EPISD others brand new to the profession – spent this week becoming familiar with District initiatives and meeting key personnel.
“All three days we’ve planned lots of excitement and welcoming activities,” said Kathy Seufert, director of Staff Development. “We want them to be geared up to start the year on a high and
want them to feel right away like they are part of the District.”
The New Teacher Support Academy included teambuilding exercises, a message from the Teachers of the Year, lunch with their principals and TTESS training. Sessions began Monday with keynote speaker Matt Vaudry, the Classroom Chef, who offered an energizing presentation on taking risks in the classroom.
“Teacher who take risk in the classroom will breed students who want to take risks in the classroom,” Vaudry said. “Modeling this behavior will mean their students will be interested in learning and trying new things, debating, augmenting and modifying their ideas as they go along.”
He said the concept was originally created for math lessons but the Classroom Chef grew to include all subjects. All new teachers were given a cooking apron to remind them of the session. Some even sported chef hats to carry on the theme.
“You start with an appetizer to get them excited and then you move on to the entree which is the core of the day, you augment with that with side dishes and do some type of assessment as dessert,” he explained. “The best chefs at restaurants are the ones that take a risk and try new things.”
Vaudry also advised teachers to use Twitter to network and figure out what can work in their classrooms.
“With Twitter you can put question up and hashtag it a certain way so other teachers can respond,” he said. “You can get 10s of 1,000s of answers. It makes taking a risk less scary knowing that someone else is affirming you.”
New teacher Jacqueline Soto, who joins the Young Women’s Academy as the new PE coach, enjoyed the new teacher academy.
“It’s a good way to meet different people and network with people in the same situation – the nerves, the excitement, the stories of how they got here,” she said.
Even though Soto is a bit nervous about her first year, she’s anxious to get started.
“I hope to bring innovation to PE not old school PE,” she said. “I want to incorporate technology and all contents areas into my class. I want the girls to be excited to lead a healthy lifestyle.”