Dozens of teachers from the Hampton Roads area made their way to Regent University last weekend for a day of professional development. The second “Teaching.Leading.Collaborating.Symposium” (TLC Symposium) pulled together exemplary, award-winning educators and new teachers for workshops. It all started when a School of Education (SOE) doctoral student had a conversation with chair of Virginia Teacher of the Year Network (VATOY Network).
“Knowing that beginning teachers benefit from support, mentoring, and learning opportunities to enhance their teaching, we felt that our organization would be able to provide these needed opportunities to new teachers,” said Karen Drosinos (SOE). “Because of Regent University’s reputation for celebrating teaching and supporting teachers in the various programs it offers, I felt that the University and the SOE would make the perfect partnership with our organization for this event.”
Drosinos says her Regent education challenged her to be a leader within her field. That’s one reason she helped launch the program in 2015, saying her professors have instilled in her a personal desire to work toward positive change. She sees the TLC Symposium extending the SOE’s vision to enhance the leadership capacities of its students to make positive contributions to the field of education.
“I am excited to have partnered with the visionary leaders of the VATOY on the second TLC Symposium,” said Dr. Donald Finn, SOE dean. “These accomplished professionals have a heart for the development and mentorship of early career teachers. This mission is directly in line with the objectives of the SOE’s Conceptual Framework to develop graduates who seek knowledge and wisdom and to serve and edify others. It was my pleasure to welcome the 80 early career teachers to the symposium and I look forward to offering them future development and degree opportunities through the SOE.”
“The networking component of the Symposium, which we call ‘Collegial Cohorts’, was an effective way to encourage networking and support embedded within the professional development event,” said Drosinos. “Teachers expressed that this component provided the opportunity to not only meet other colleagues with similar teaching experiences, but to also discuss some issues and concerns that they are currently facing.”
The majority of these concerns included support and resources. Drosinos says the best way to support new teachers is by enhancing their knowledge through worthwhile learning experiences they can immediately draw upon for use in their classrooms. This can be accomplished through symposiums and mentoring. During the “Collegial Cohorts,” experienced Virginia educators led discussions and aided in brainstorming solutions. Facilitators plan to form mentoring relationships and keep in contact with participants throughout the next year.
Symposium workshops added to the networking experience. They focused on policies, procedure and partnerships, engaging students as 21st century learners, and creating a positive classroom climate for learning. Drosinos says she’s received positive feedback from both presenters and attendees. She is excited to bring the experience to new teachers again next year.