We talked with Orange County ACCESS teacher Allison Carey about what makes the California Teachers Summit unique, and how the connections she made last year with teachers across California have made a difference for her students.
Better Together: Why did you get involved in last year’s California Teachers Summit?
Allison Carey: I teach alternative studies because I ended up there myself when I was a student. I know that the students in my program are brilliant minds, and they deserve a teaching staff that is constantly engaged in professional development. That’s why I love the California Teachers Summit so much. We don’t want to lose any students, and we can do a better job networking ourselves and connecting our programs.
BT: What made the Summit unique to you?
AC: I would encourage all teachers to sign up for the California Teachers Summit because I found that no matter what your capacity – whether you were an EdTalk Speaker or attended the Edcamp sessions –
everybody connected with everybody else and it was a peer to peer dialogue. It’s not about telling teachers how to do our jobs. It’s about teachers supporting teachers and sharing strategies. Teachers can choose what they want to learn and what they want to share with others. I still have a network of people from last year’s Summit that I keep in touch with.
BT: Why do you think it’s important for teachers to be part of a community of teachers outside of their school?
AC: The Summit is one of the best ways I’ve seen to bring teachers together because it’s outside their school districts. When you talk to people from other school districts, you find that you have the same things in common – the same struggles and same successes. For me, going outside my own department and my own school district allowed me to better gauge my effectiveness, and better equip myself with tools I didn’t know about I was able receive feedback from other teachers about what works and what doesn’t, and how I can better prepare my students. It was a magical day, because you walk away with everything you needed, and maybe you didn’t even know you needed it!
BT: What would you say to teachers who are considering attending this year?
AC: I would encourage all teachers to sign up for the California Teachers Summit. The Summit is an educational reboot like no other because it is led for teachers, by teachers that know teacher needs. It’s an opportunity not only to be inspired but to inspire others. Don’t think you just have to go and listen – it’s a two way conversation. Please sign up and please come because I need to hear what you have to say. I need to learn from you. We need everybody’s expertise. If one teacher is missing, we just lost all of that experience. So I’d love to see everybody there.
Check out Allison’s EdTalk from the 2015 Summit about helping students overcome barriers to learning and reach their full potential.