The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) Teacher Academy of Maryland (TAM) Conference was a chance for students considering a career in education to take a day to learn from and be inspired by current education professionals. The TAM conference, held Feb. 23 at CSM’s La Plata Campus, drew close to 325 participants, including CSM students majoring in teacher education and tri-county high schools students in the Teacher Academy of Maryland CTE program or in an Educators Rising student club.
“Teaching is enormously complex, and the conference was a great opportunity for the students to think about what this career might be like for them,” said CSM Teacher Education Program Coordinator Professor Elizabeth Settle, who organized the conference. “My goal was to help these future teachers explore some of the topics and issues that educators face, while learning from current professionals in the field. They also had the opportunity to be college students for a day and meet other future teachers from the Southern Maryland area.”
Joshua Carroll, current Maryland Teacher of the Year, was keynote speaker. Carroll, a teacher with Anne Arundel County Public Schools, shared insights on the importance of teachers building relationships and mentoring.
In addition, the conference featured 27 different presentations with 33 presenters from the three Southern Maryland school systems, CSM, Notre Dame of Maryland University, the Maryland State Education Association and Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Topics included project-based assessment, different aspects of an individualized education program (IEP) and how this drives specialized instruction, understanding and instructing the gifted learner, how a teacher can support a student with unique needs (such as an English language learner), effective communication with parents, and using movement to engage children.
Conference participants described some of the different aspects of the conference they found particularly helpful. “I attended three workshops, and walked out of every single one with information that would have taken me weeks to gather by myself,” said Carrie Lovejoy of Newburg, a CSM 2017 alumna working toward teacher certification with UMUC. “The presenters were experts in their fields, and the information was invaluable …The whole day was just amazing.”
“The TAM conference helped me build connections with teachers and professionals in the field that would benefit me when I finish my academic career,” said CSM student Ashley McDougall of Mechanicsville. “That was the chief takeaway — learning new things about my future profession. Relationships that you build now will either elevate you or hinder you, and I plan on making lasting relationships with teachers who I will soon call my coworkers.”
Conference participants also had the opportunity to gather information offered in an expo area that included material on CSM’s Towson 2+2 program, CSM admissions, CSM teacher education, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the Maryland State Education Association.
Two competitions were held during the event— job interview and impromptu speaking —both based on the national Educators Rising conference model. The job interview competition rated student performance during an interview for a paraprofessional position. In this event, the highest-scoring students in their competition room were Arabelle Kemp and Hope Kaylor, both of St. Mary’s County, and Sakura Wilson and Emily Maljak, both of Charles County.
The impromptu speaking competition gave the students 10 minutes to prepare comments about an education issue, in this case, meeting the needs of diverse students, and then deliver those remarks. The students who scored highest in their competition room for this challenge were Maljak and Nisha Lathrop, both of Charles County, and Anthony Proulx of Calvert County.
Settle said she hopes to make the CSM TAM Conference an annual event.
To view photos from this year’s conference, visit http://csmphoto.zenfolio.com/2018tam.
For information on teacher education programs at CSM, visit https://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/credit/academic-divisions/soc/teacher-education/.