Future Agriculture Teachers Learn the Ropes at Statewide Conclave

by Lindsey Stiff, graduate assistant, Agricultural Education and Communication Department

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo serves as the lead institution for conducting the California Department of Education-sponsored professional development contract for secondary agricultural teachers. The annual Student Teacher Conclave is one of the projects that falls under this umbrella and is designed to recruit and support new teacher candidates. This year, the conclave was held at Modesto Junior College in January and was attended by 49 teacher candidates from UC Davis, CSU Chico, CSU Fresno, Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

To kick off the conclave, Hugh Mooney, North Coast regional supervisor from the California Department of Education, welcomed the teacher candidates. A panel discussion with current teachers followed and focused on what they wish they had known and their recommendations regarding student teaching. Pam Klittich from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo said, “I really enjoyed the panel of new teachers. They reaffirmed why I am entering this profession.”

Each candidate then rotated through three workshops taught by teachers who have been in the profession for more than ten years: Integrating Technology in Agricultural Science Courses, Ag Earth — an Integrated Approach, and Getting All of Your Students Involved. These workshops were.

To end the day there was a workshop titled Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later in which candidates learned how to manage classroom discipline. Teddi Nichols from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo said, “I loved all of it really because it was so informative, but my favorite part was Pay Me Now or Pay Me Later. Mr. Archer [the presenter] is awesome, and his classroom management plan is practical.”

The following day, teacher candidates learned about job interviews from a California Department of Education regional supervisor, a high school principal, a district-level human resources director, and a director of secondary education. Candidates answered mock interview questions, and presenters gave their perspective on what employers are looking for in a teacher. Many of the candidates thought this experience was the most valuable, and it made them feel more confident about interviewing. Amy Guerra from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo said, “I really liked the practice interview questions from the perspective of an administrator, human resources and a regional supervisor.”

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School of Education
California Polytechnic State University
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407