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Teacher training helps new teachers prepare for start of school

Kate Edwards, a three-year veteran teacher who is new to Union County Public Schools, works on a laptop during a three-day training orientation session for all new UCPS teachers.

New teachers face a unique set of challenges, especially when you’re also new to the school system in which you are teaching.

To help in this transition, Union County Public Schools held a three-day training session this week that offered everything from classroom management techniques to technology training.

Effective Practices 2012, held at the Professional Development Center (PDC) and at Central Academy of Technology and Arts (CATA) Monday (Aug. 13, 2012) through Wednesday (Aug. 15, 2012), worked with about 350 elementary, middle and high school teachers.

Organizers knew the training would involve a large group of new staff in light of the large number of educators who retired last year.

“It is a huge task to pull this off. The training is for teachers of everything from ROTC, Exceptional Children to Social Studies,” said Director of Professional Growth and Quality Standards Jimmie Quesinberry. “It’s trying to provide everything they could possibly need in those three days to start the school year off right.”

Kate Edwards, a three-year veteran teacher who came to UCPS from Hoke County said the sessions were packed with a lot of useful information. “It’s not overload, but it’s definitely been a lot of information,” she said.

“It’s been really good because you start to see the expectations the school system has for you as an educator,” said Edwards, now a health and physical education teacher assigned to Parkwood High School. “We’ve been going over a lot of effective practices, different teaching methods and various things to use in the classroom to make it a more successful experience for each student.”

Elementary school teachers had their training held at CATA, while middle and high school teachers were based at the PDC. Elementary school topics ranged from Components of Balanced Literacy to reading and writing workshops.

“It was a pleasure meeting with the teachers new to UCPS this week,” said Director of Elementary Education Dr. Tom Bulla. “Collectively, the group demonstrated poise and professionalism. Our students will benefit from the high caliber of professionals who have joined our school system.”

The middle and high school teachers were also instructed in a wide variety of topics including technology and classroom management. “We were coordinating the curriculum instructional strategies for middle and high school teachers,” said Lori Peyton, a UCPS middle school science curriculum coordinator. “They did have time with their content specialists to look at the Common Core Standards and the New Essential Standards for their grade levels to work on some possible lesson plans. It’s been going great.”

The training did, however, come with its own set of challenges. “We wanted the teachers to work with technology since we’re in the one-to-one laptop setting, introduce the new teachers to that and what they can expect when they get to their schools,” Peyton said. “These teachers have not been to their schools to pick up their laptops yet, so we encouraged them to bring their own laptops. It was just a logistical issue getting enough laptops.”

Donna Podgorny, the UCPS world languages coordinator, said part of the training included how to globalize the teacher’s instruction. There was also information, she said, as to the multiple databases that teachers have available to them.

“One of the concepts we’re trying to get across is the digital bins where teachers can find resources online that will serve them in their classrooms,” Podgorny said. “It’s been a busy, very productive group. We found that this year’s teachers know a lot more technology than they would have say five years ago.”

The final day of the training was a joint meeting of all grade levels held by the UCPS Human Resources in the CATA auditorium that focused on acclimating the new teachers to Union County and the school system.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Aug 16, 2012 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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