Keene State College education majors got the chance to speak with KSC alumni and professors from within their major at the sixth annual Inspiring Conversations in Education (ICE) conference.
Coordinator for the New Teacher and Leader program Darrell Hucks said the conference was created when the education department wanted to expose students to potential careers and have the chance to ask former students questions about their experiences as teachers.
Hucks said the event included about 35 alumni and professors who had presentations. “The event includes presenters speaking about early childhood education, elementary education and this year, mostly higher education,” Hucks said.
The event was put on by the Education Honor Society and club president Adriana Alicea said the event has helped her learn more about the education major. Alicea said she thinks it is an important event to attend as it allows students to speak with people who have recently graduated and talk about their first years of teaching.
Alicea said the biggest thing she’s gotten out of the conference is learning about what she is capable of and how to be less overwhelmed as a teacher.
Hucks said the presentations cover a wide range of topics such as what it’s like to be a first-year teacher, how to deal with parents as a teacher and the difference between rural schools vs. urban schools.
Hucks said the reason students return to present at the conference is because the education department tries to form a close bond with the students in the major throughout their years of college and encourage students to present the years after graduation on their experiences.
Kyle Virgin graduated from KSC as an undergraduate in 2014 and received his graduate degree in education the following year. Virgin said he now works in the Upward Bound program at KSC and presented at this year’s ICE conference. “The Upward Bound program works a lot with students with financial disadvantages and the presentation I’m giving is called Becoming an Advocate for Low Income Students,” Virgin said.
In addition to the presentations, Virgin said that the conference is a good way to network and he has seen the networking in effect both as a student and now as a faculty member.
Senior Savannah Robert said she was the coordinator of the event last year and while she is taking on a smaller role this year, she sees the event as important for the education majors. “In education, for someone who is just starting off as a teacher, they are expected to be teaching the same stuff as someone who’s had 30 years of experience,” Robert said. She said a lot of the speakers at the conference talk about the first years of teaching and what the job is truly like.
Vice President of The Education Honor Society Erin Broderick said she first attended the ICE conference her sophomore year and it opened her eyes to seeing what the education field is truly like. Broderick said the most important thing she’s learned at the conferences is that not everything in teaching works out. “You might have a grand plan lesson that you think students will love and will work out perfectly, then it doesn’t work out. It is ok to fail and those things happen, not because of being bad at teaching or being new, but because those things happen as a teacher,” Broderick said.
Colby Dudal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org