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Students in Action! TRIO Teacher Prep Students Attend SXSW ED Conference

Teacher Prep Students at SXSW 2022
Teacher Prep students at South by Southwest Ed Conference

Earlier this month three TRIO Teacher Prep students traveled to Austin, TX to attend the South by Southwest ED Conference. SXSW ED is an annual event built on the belief that education has the power to inspire, elevate, and change the future. It brings together a community of learners, practitioners, visionaries and entrepreneurs to foster innovation and learning within the education industry.

Students Kierstin Gentry, Megan Lambert (Elementary Ed majors) and Madelynn Ruhter (French Secondary Ed) returned to Boise after the 4-day event sharing the sentiment that the conference was relevant and extremely meaningful to their development as future educators.

Kiersten Gentry, who is completing her final semester of student teaching, shared that the sessions she attended opened her eyes to resources she can use as a teacher to “make her classroom one of exploration, high-energy and engagement, and equitable for all learners”.  This opportunity allowed her to “converse with first-year and veteran teachers alike” and she walked away feeling “encouraged, refreshed, and excited to begin [her] career as a classroom teacher”.

Megan Lambert was impressed by the large variety of workshops, sessions and interactive experiences as well as the welcoming nature of the event. “It was a very diverse learning environment where I was able to not just take notes, but also discuss with others and interact with those presenting. Every environment was very open and welcoming…I felt comfortable to interact with others and ask the presenters questions.”  She shared that one of the most impactful sessions has prompted her to reflect and evaluate her understanding of classroom dynamics and how that informs her actions.  “Some questions I wrote down for myself were ‘What do I need to be learning, cognitively, to support my students?’ ‘Who is carrying the cognitive load?’ and ‘what does conceptual understanding that drives intellectual action look like in my classroom?’”.

TRIO Teacher Prep is honored to be able to provide these types of enriching opportunities to students.  Participating in conferences such as this, help future teachers develop a professional identity and build community.  Madelynn Ruhter, who is also completing her final semester of student teaching, felt the conference provided a safe space for collaboration and opportunities to discuss and add to the conversation. “People that I worked with valued my thoughts and opinions despite my rather short experience in the teaching field. Everyone I met was there to learn, which made it a great experience since the length of my experience didn’t matter!”  Her take away message from this conference was recognizing her role as an advocate for student learning. “I learned the importance of using my voice as a teacher to be the microphone for my students… we need to give our students a variety of perspectives and opinions along with the facts so that they can form their own.”

To learn about upcoming student conferences and workshops, please visit our Conference webpage and take full advantage of these opportunities – don’t miss out on anything as a TRIO Teacher Prep student!