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Mar 23, 2015

Teachers of Promise 2015

The JMU College of Education was well represented at the March 2015 Teachers of Promise (TOP) Institute at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.  The TOP Foundation was established to create a community of educators that are dedicated to “supporting the work of individuals, organizations, and teams who seek to discover, identify, celebrate, and encourage high caliber teachers-to-be.”

            Dara Hall, Field Experiences Coordinator, represented the CoE along with students Chris Chase ('14 PHETE), Deserae Barney ('14, '15M ELED/TESOL), Courtney Jordan ('14, '15M ELED), Joanna Showalter ('14 ECED-MAT), and Jordan Wilson ('14, '15M SEED-Math). According to the attendees, the conference has significantly impacted the way they view education.

            “The conference encouraged me to be the best teacher I can be and to not hold back when it comes to doing what is in the best interest of the children and giving them the rich educational experience they deserve,” stated Barney, a student enrolled in the ELED and TESOL programs. 

            During the conference, Barney attended two concurrent workshops: “Enhancing Learning through Community Involvement” and “Having a Life Beyond the Classroom.” According to Barney, both of these sessions were extremely enjoyable and insightful, as they provided her with a variety of best practices and strategies that can be applied in the classroom.          

            “I have tons of ideas I would like to try and seeds I would like to plant in my future school,” admitted Barney. “I used to say, ‘maybe after teaching for a few years, I could bring up some of my ideas.’ The TOP Institute made me realize that I don’t have to wait just because I am the ‘new teacher’. I will take all that I have learned during my time at JMU and all of the encouragement and elevation I experienced at the TOP Institute, and step into the world of teaching full speed ahead, with the goal of contributing as much as I can to a remarkable and enriching educational experience for each and every student I meet.”

            Barney and the other students attending the TOP Institute were nominated by COE faculty within their departments based on their performance in the classroom and dedication to the field. The two-day conference consists of mentor group discussions, a gala dinner, keynote speakers and professional development workshops ranging from a variety of different teaching-related topic areas.