There is excited energy permeating the high school halls this morning. Teachers from all over the district are attending the annual Corbin Certified Conference. The conference is a conglomeration of classes and training sessions set up throughout the high school. The sessions are presented and taught by our own professional staff and administrators, as well as guests from places like KDE and PBS to name a few.
From a teacher's point of view, it is much like being a student again. For example, I was late to the first class because I was helping another teacher sign on to her computer. So I walk, head down, into a room full of my peers, hoping the presenter will not be offended.
I glance up to see some English department ruffians in the back of the room and rush to sit by them. They are a motley crew. Mrs. Perry is wearing paisley today, so no one is going to mess with us. We throw down some metaphors and sit back and watch the session.
However, about five minutes into the presentation, I realize I am in the wrong room. After walking in late, there is no way I am going to get up and leave, so I sit respectfully still and watch a wonderful session, albeit the wrong one.
After the session, we exit into the hall, talking a little too loud and a little too quickly. We only have five minutes to get to the next session, and I see my wife in the hall. She is hanging with the science people. They're pretty cool -- they have their own jacket (lab coat). I offer to carry her books, but she only has a notebook and a purse, and there's no way I'm carrying her purse. The coaches will make fun of me.
As we walk down the hall, I feel pretty good. I'm wearing my new tennis shoes and new blue jeans (no joke). I feel a sense of nostalgia from when I was young and racing between classes. Then I pass one of the coaches, and he points at me and says, "Hello Grandpa!"
Throughout the day, we attend six different sessions ranging from CPR training to Social Emotional Learning. We learn about new tactics and applications from Google to the many opportunities PBS offers. We hear from our own elite teachers as well as professionals from other fields, including psychologists, medical professionals, and professors.
While I appreciate and enjoy all the sessions, the ones I attend from our own faculty are the most impressive to me. I have been to professional development sessions all over Kentucky and beyond. I have attended High Schools That Work conferences in Atlanta and Louisville, Standards training in Lexington, KYOTE and ACT training in Frankfort, and the quality of our own is on par with any I have attended.
It is not just the material I have the occasion to acquire, for me it was an opportunity to see the passion some of our own teachers put forth in the classroom. I am always impressed with Mrs. Calico's compassion, and I was completely inspired by Mrs. Watkins enthusiasm and her charming character. Our arts department held a session which had almost thirty kids…I mean teachers, competing against each other in social skill building exercises using brain teaser games. It was fun, educational, and a little painful. At one point I had a toothpick in my finger.
There were many more Corbin presenters, from administrators to teachers, and each provided an articulate presentation over a myriad of topics involving education and the student. Overall, it was an informative and enjoyable experience.
Ironically, every year I slightly dread these two days: 12 hours of training. But every year I come away from these seminars with a notebook full of ideas and an eagerness to get back into the classroom. My charismatic principal asked me the other day if I was "fired-up."
Well, I'm ready to start coach.
Brian Theodore is a language arts teacher at Corbin High School and lives in Corbin with his wife, who is also a teacher at CHS. He can be contacted at Theteachersdesk.email@example.com.