ECE students attend Illinois State education conference


Future teachers in the making! Top Row (From Left): Allison Garcia, Madisen Glasgow, Carlee Ballard, Kate Moran. Bottom Row (From Left): Natalie Limes and, Sydney Ertmer.

On Friday, Nov. 13, three girls from Galena High School who attend the Early Childhood Education class at the CTE academy were given the opportunity to attend the 2nd annual Illinois State University Future Teacher Conference. Students had an all day “field trip” to the academy, and were able to take part in webinars and Zoom meetings throughout the day. The conference gave students a vision on what teachers do and how they can prepare themselves for when they take that grand position.

The ECE students started their day off with an opening message from various professors and people who contribute to the education program at Illinois State. There was a great message from Dr. Shamaine Bertrand, who expressed the importance of teachers in the tough times that kids go through. “She talked about how to treat every student equally, no matter what, which is very important when it comes to teaching. I loved her positive energy and can tell it radiates in her classrooms,” said Madisen Glasgow ‘22. Dr. Bertrand explained how much racial injustice and COVID-19 has impacted the new perspective on teaching. She wanted the high schoolers in the webinar to understand that if they ever became teachers to see kids from that point of view too. 

The second part of the day consisted of “speed dating.” In this activity, students were able to hear different teachers talk about the different majors that an educator would want to take. “I attended the Elementary Education speed dating call, and it truly covered all areas, from the college experience, all the way through your first years of teaching and beyond,” said Kate Moran ‘21. The speed dating gave everyone an opportunity to see the many options one has when going into the education field.

High schoolers were also able to hear experiences for all different types of teachers, from a dance teacher to a high school biology teacher to a library media specialist. “I liked all the advice that the teachers gave, and how much they talked up teaching, it showed that they enjoy what they do, and their passion for it,” said Natalie Limesand ‘22 from West Carroll High School. They were given the chance to see the way of thinking from the variety of teachers they were interested in. Students got to hear how the teachers started off in their career and how they ended up where they were. This helped encourage students to not just look at one specific teaching major and try to hear what others were like.            

There was also a student panel in which students at Illinois State majoring in different education programs gave their point of view of what they are learning about. “The students actually spoke about their experiences at ISU, there was one girl taking early childhood education for special education, and that is what I would like to take,” said Carlee Ballard ‘21 from West Carroll High School. “It was just really awesome to hear what she gets to be involved in. It then made me want to go into this field of study even more!” 

The Future Teacher Conference gave many high school students all over the state the benefit of being able to hear the wide range of teacher outlooks. They were able to hear from college students, professors, and all sorts of teachers. It was an amazing experience to learn about the great things that a teacher can do and what they do to make a change in a child’s life.