From January 28 – 30, nearly 500 high school students from around the state attended the 33rd annual Florida Future Educators of America (FFEA) Conference. This year’s theme was “Ride the Wave to Success and Teach!” and provided members of FFEA chapters from around the state with the chance to meet fellow students and network with outstanding current teachers as they learn more about becoming a teacher themselves.
This year, the Florida State University College of Education was well represented. A number of our faculty in the School of Teacher Education met with prospective students at Saturday’s College Night event, where they provided more information about our teacher education programs and answered questions about all things FSU and teacher preparation.
Some of our current graduate students were also prominent faces at the event. Megan Crombie, a 2020 Florida Teacher of the Year finalist and doctoral student in our Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies program, was one of the emcees for the event. “I have one word for how I feel after spending the weekend with 500 future teachers: ‘hopeful,’” said Crombie, who is a middle school math teacher at Florida State University Schools (FSUS) and a current Florida finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. “The students we hosted are so excited to become the next generation of educators! Their fresh passion combined with our wisdom is a powerful recipe for student success.” Crombie facilitated two breakout sessions during the event entitled, “Building a Classroom Community.” The session focused on using teamwork in the classroom, while still valuing students’ individuality and unique perspectives. Participants discussed the power of creating a classroom culture where mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn and grow. “I am thankful for the opportunity to help with recruitment,” said Crombie. “I can’t wait to see all the good that this group will accomplish.”
Sarah Painter, 2022 Florida Teacher of the Year and student in our Educational Leadership/Administration specialist program, was one of the keynote speakers. In her keynote address, “Find Joy,” she spoke about the importance of Joining with others, Owning your practice, and embracing the power of Yet. She shared stories of resiliency and triumph through her student stories and student outcome data. She also judged a speech competition and facilitated two breakout sessions entitled, “A Teacher’s Bag of Tricks,” designed to equip future teachers with tips on how to deal with common issues that arise in the classroom. “With over 120 students attending my sessions, I was captivated by their questions and engagement,” said Painter. “Not to mention I was surrounded by some of the best educators in the state of Florida!”
Krista Stanley, the 2021 Florida Teacher of the Year and Educational Leadership/Administration master’s student, presented two breakout sessions, entitled “Reach Higher!” In these sessions, she aimed to inspire future educators to set high expectations for themselves and their future students. The sessions covered standards-based instruction, progress monitoring and effective delivery of the differentiated instruction model through interactive math activities. “Sitting in a room with 500 future teachers is an incredible experience,” said Stanley. “I was inspired by their passion, energy, and love of learning. I’m always moved when future educators ask such relevant and meaningful questions. These students will be phenomenal teachers!”
To learn more about the teacher education programs here in the FSU College of Education, visit education.fsu.edu/teacher-ed.