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Teachers Attend Virtual Training Sessions to Prepare for 2020-2021 School Year

At the end of last week, Tulsa Public Schools' newest teachers picked up bags of training materials and supplies at Wilson Teaching and Learning. Novice teachers spent this week attending virtual sessions for the Tulsa Way Academy.

The Professional Learning team and Teaching and Learning team partner with experts from across the district to provide this training. Novice teachers learn about curricular resources and instructional strategies that will help them both in the classroom and online. On the fifth day, they focus on self-care – an important part of any school year but especially one starting during a pandemic.

Before school begins, they will also participate in five additional days of professional development that is designed for all Tulsa Public Schools teachers to prepare for the upcoming school year.

After the two weeks of training have been completed, teachers will also have a site day where their school leaders will lead a day of professional learning. Once the school year begins, novice teachers will have the same supports during distance learning that they have in person. Their instructional mentors will continue coaching them virtually, the Teaching and Learning team are ready to help with content questions, and, for all teachers, there is a distance learning hotline available when they need assistance.

“Teachers who are running into trouble whether its tech or otherwise can call in and somebody will be there to help walk them through,” said Katy Ackley, Tulsa Public Schools Executive Director of Educator Effectiveness and Professional Learning. “Everybody is here to help and just a phone call away.”

Katy pointed out that good teaching strategies are good no matter what the platform is. So, while distance learning may offer some new challenges, our teachers are prepared to make this school year great for students no matter what.

“I think these are things we will learn from and be able to apply when we are back in person where we all really want to be,” said Katy.

Terralynnd Jackson will be starting her first year teaching third grade at Burroughs. While she is a little nervous about starting in such a different educational environment, she said her training with Tulsa Teacher Corp has given her the skills to manage her classroom both in-person and virtually.

“I recognize that there will be constant learning while on the job and that there's no way to be fully prepared for every scenario that will be thrown my way, but I feel the training has given us a very good running start. From learning about No Nonsense Nurturing, social and emotional learning, and deep dives into lesson planning and the curriculum, I feel confident that I'm as prepared as I can be for these unprecedented times we're facing,” said Terralynnd. “This next school year will be different and new for administration, teachers, and students alike so while a little scary, I know I won't be alone and that we will all be learning and growing together.”

Katy said her advice for novice teachers is to trust in themselves and keep at it.

“You can do this. We’re all in this together and you have plenty of people to support you,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to try new things and think outside the box. Just keep your students in your heart. That’s the best thing you can do.”