On Saturday, September 18 we convened all fellows of the Arkansas Teacher Corps for the first time of the 2021-2022 school year. The All-Corps event was 5 hours of professional development focused on building a collective experience for our fellows. We have not met as a full corps for development since February 2020 and wanted to create a space for fellows to get to know each other in an authentic way that was also focused on building their understanding of how they teach and learn. Additionally, we focused on the impact of ATC as a program in Arkansas and our program expectations to make sure all of our fellows have a successful year and are able to complete the program successfully.
The day started with a high-energy scavenger hunt where fellows had to find things in their homes to share with partners including things that brought them joy, reminders of their families, and other highlights. We did this activity to get fellows to connect authentically with at least 6 other fellows on a personal level. Then, the fellows were broken into groups to monitor teaching skills that were modeled throughout the day, including topics like flexible groupings, engagement strategies, and reflective habits.‘
Then, fellows engaged in our first ever ATC Masterclass, where they had an opportunity to teach a mini lesson on any topic that interested them. This was our shared activity that allowed fellows to learn from each other and also push themselves to gain something from everyone else in their small group. These classes ranged from how to make gravy, the perfect cup of coffee, or a PB&J to rigorous questioning, writing techniques, and strategies to meet students’ needs. Overall, Fellows loved this part of the day with 89% agreeing that PD had provided them with a skill or strategy that they will begin to use in their classroom immediately.
We finished out the day with a recap of the program requirements that Fellows must meet in order to complete our program successfully. In terms of our outcomes for the day, our survey data shows that we were successful. On average, our fellows rated their understanding of program requirements as 4.9 / 5.0 and their sense of connection with other fellows 4.4 / 5.0. Moreover, 93% of fellows reported having the support from ATC needed to be a successful teacher. After this professional development, our fellows reported a net promoter score of 9.2 / 10.0 with 86% of fellows strongly agreeing that they would recommend our program to a friend or family member!
We are so excited to welcome our corps back for the next All-Corps professional development on November 6!