MATE Fall 2013 Conference

Last April, I posted a PDF flyer for the 2013 spring conference the Michigan Association of Teacher Educators (MATE).  Unfortunately, the conference was delayed until the fall.  It took place last Saturday, September 28, 2013, at Oakland Schools.

The focus of the conference was providing tools and empowering preservice teachers, student teachers, and current practicing teachers.  The ATE (Association of Teacher Educators) is a national organization with different chapters in each state, thus, MATE is the Michigan chapter.  This organization is dedicated to the specific needs of beginning teachers.

There were four featured sessions at the conference:

  • got Self-Awareness? True Colors by Mary Walsh
  • got Passion? by Norma Bailey
  • got Poison? by Nic Cooper
  • got Partners? by Katie Stein

I learned quite a bit from the featured sessions.  I took some notes on my iPad using Notability and a stylus, but the speakers had written down and made copies of key points and books they spoke about.

got Self-Awareness? was about the psychology of assigning similar personality traits to a specific color and how this knowledge can assist teachers in understanding colleagues and students as well as mitigate negative situations.

got Passion? was about Norma Bailey’s passionate career in education.  The goal was to reinforce keeping our passion alive because about 50% of new teachers leave the profession within the first 5 years because they lose their passion when bogged down with the daily routines and politics.

got Poison? focused on drawing our attention to the people and things that “poison” ourselves and careers.  We all have hot buttons, or pet peeves, that will get pushed by students, administration, parents, and politicians.  It is imperative that we recognize the button is not the problem, instead, it is what the button is “wired” to that is the problem.  Teachers need to identify what that problem is and learn to deal with the root issue and not the button itself.

got Partners? reinforced the belief that teachers cannot teach alone.  We will suffer from burnout if we do.  We have partners to aid us in teaching–parents, other students, administration, parents, politicians, paraprofessionals, etc.–and we need to utilize all these resources.

Making a Difference, the closing remarks given by the superintendent of Oakland Schools, Vickie Markavitch, focused on the politics of the state of education today.  Markavitch challenged each person to not be naive like she was and ignore politics.  It is imperative that teachers enter the field of education with their eyes wide open.

In between each session there were two vendor tables, Usborne Books and Discovery Toys, we could browse.  They had educational books and toys that could be used in a variety of ways in the classroom for display and purchase.  I was really impressed with Usborne’s write-in books.  They were essentially coated pages that allowed students to write in them using a dry erase marker.  I could see numerous situations in which these books would be advantageous.  However, both the vendor tables focused heavily on elementary and middle school education and not much on high school (my preferred grade levels) or on ESL (my preferred subject).  There were several items I could adapt for use in an ESL classroom, but nothing was really ESL-specific for high schoolers.

The conference had a raffle with numerous books, gift certificates, and other education-items.  I won two things, Overcoming Textbook Fatigue and 3 Minute Reading Assessments by Scholastic.  I also purchased Nic Cooper’s book, Developing a Learning Classroom, which he signed for me.  There were a few other items in the “goodie bags” as well that I liked.

I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and hope to attend next spring’s conference, assuming the content will be different.