Aspiring teachers attend math conference

Stevenson University’s School of Education participated in its fifth annual mathematics teaching conference at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) on Feb. 15.

Students and their professors pose for a group photo at the teaching mathematics conference on Feb. 15. (Photo and caption information courtesy of Dr. Beth Kobett)

The conference was held for aspiring or new teachers and focused on strategic approaches to teach mathematics in ways that engaged students. 

Dr. Beth Kobett, associate professor and director of the first-year seminar in the School of Education at Stevenson, said the “conference gave students an opportunity to speak with one another, share ideas and build a community that supports one another in the teaching field.”

The early career conference was open to all pre-service and beginning teachers (up to five years) in the entire state of Maryland.

The conference started with rapid-paced “ignite” sessions, where pre-service and beginning teachers spoke about communicating with families in five-minute intervals. Kobett said that the presenters talked about very specific tools they use to support family connections in the classroom. In addition, speakers provided insight on building cooperative and collaborative efforts to work with students’ families.

Jocelyn Richards (left) and Emily Castro (right) stand by their PowerPoint before presenting on Task Tips at the teaching mathematics conference. (Photo and caption information courtesy of Dr. Beth Kobett)

After the “ignite sessions,” students and alumni from Stevenson, UMBC, Towson University, Hood College, University of Maryland and Morgan State University presented in 45-minute sessions. Stevenson seniors Emily Castro and Jocelyn Richards presented on task tips in the classroom and lesson preparation.

Castro said the presentation required extensive preparation. She and Richards chose their presentation tasks, prepared the presentation and then met to practice prior to the conference.

When attendees broke for lunch, students were provided an opportunity to ask questions and gain insight on the field in discussion groups.

Students spent some time preparing to present at the teaching mathematics conference. (Photo and caption information courtesy of Dr. Beth Kobett)

According to Castro, the teaching mathematics conference is beneficial for pre-service and beginning teachers because it teaches professionalism in the field of education. Specifically, the conference helped Castro build her resume and portfolio and prepare for future job interviews.

While Castro believed the conference helped her increase her professionalism, she said the experience and exposure at her teaching placement has shaped her into the teacher she will be in the future.

“My placement has provided me an opportunity to test different teaching strategies in the classroom and observe the interactions between other elementary instructors and their students,” said Castro.

Castro is an aspiring elementary education teacher with hopes to work with students in the third through sixth grades. She feels her opportunities in elementary classrooms and experience at the teaching mathematics conference will shape her into an effective teacher in the future. 

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