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  New Teacher Retreat
By: University of Arkansas Student, Arkansas FFA Alumni Sarah Wright
Friday, December 21, 2012
     
What if the students do not like me? What if I do not know my material and make a fool of myself? What if I get tongue-tied and say the wrong things? What if they think I am boring and they do not learn anything? These are all thoughts that have swarmed through my mind over the past few months as I prepare for student teaching. Yes, I was scared but the weekend at Camp Couchdale for the New Teachers Retreat gave me a totally different perspective for the months to come.

When arriving to the retreat I wondered what people would think, this "kid" walking in, but then I realized that I really wasn't too different than everyone else there. There were other students from Arkansas colleges preparing for their semesters of student teaching, there were teachers fresh out of college in their first year or two of teaching, and then there were a couple teachers who were new to their schools or to their teaching positions. We may have been in different stages of our career paths, but we were all similar in wanting to learn, find new strategies and grasp new tactics.

Those two days at Couchdale gave me more insight into Arkansas FFA than I could ever have dreamed of. I gained knowledge on things I did not even realize had changed from when I was a high school student in FFA. The different sessions were centered around SAE's to End of Course Testing and Frameworks to Technology in the Classroom. Each session gave me a deeper appreciation for the field that I have chosen to study and the degree that I am reaching to earn, and we even had some fun along the way.

Even though all of the information at the retreat was very useful and I know I will implement it in my classroom, the contacts I made from the two days are by far the most important thing I could have ever come away with. I was able to connect with other students in the same position as me, eager to get out and get our hands wet during this Spring semester. I was able to connect with first year teachers who certainly helped calm my nerves about student teaching because they had just been there and were able to give me tips and helpful hints. I was able to connect with teachers who had experience in other programs or other fields of teaching and serve as great resource tools for how to deal with students, parents, administration and the community I'll be stepping in to. Most importantly, I was able to connect with the Arkansas State FFA Staff and develop a relationship that I know will be built upon for years.

I cannot wait to get back in the Spring to reconvene with this group and soak up even more great things that Arkansas FFA and being an Agriculture Instructor has to offer.

 
 
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