Samford University’s Orlean Beeson School of Education recently hosted nearly 100 students from central Alabama area high schools for the “Yes, You Can Teach!” conference.
The conference was open to area high school juniors and seniors who had previously expressed an interest in pursuing a career in teacher education. Conference participants received a glimpse inside the world of education, how they as educators could make a difference and what opportunities are available for them on Samford’s campus.
The attendees had the opportunity to interact with other budding educators as well as faculty, students and staff from Samford University, including Samford President Westmoreland and his wife, Jeanna Westmoreland, an adjunct faculty member at Samford. Westmoreland encouraged the students to, “love people, love learning and be difference makers.”
Parts of the event were planned entirely by the teacher education leadership team. “When we begin our first teaching positions, we will be expected to also serve on committees and with extracurricular activities in our schools,” said Samantha Greenblatt, a junior from Grayson, Georgia. “Serving on the planning committee for this conference has given me additional tools that I know will help me better serve my future students and colleagues.”
Committee members were tasked with writing the invitation to send to local school districts, creating and confirming a schedule for the conference, and selecting the topics that would be highlighted as breakout sessions. Breakout sessions included classroom design and management, arts integration, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and design, and math) and connecting with literature. There were also sessions designated to share Samford’s options for Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary, Special and Gifted Education. The committee also invited Samford’s office of admission to speak to the students.
Tarsha Bluiett, teacher education associate professor, said the event was beneficial for all who participated. “This was a wonderful opportunity for our teacher education candidates to enhance their skillset,” said Bluiett. “It also gave area high school students who may have an interest in teaching the opportunity to view Samford’s education school on a very personal level.” The students had the opportunity to have a condensed tour of Samford and explore the quad, food court and student center.
The conference was made possible, in part, through a grant provided by Samford’s office of diversity and intercultural initiatives.