On Saturday, February 11, Arkansas Teacher Corps fellows and staff met at Chicot Elementary in Little Rock for the third All Corps professional development of the 2022-23 year.
We started our day with announcements and an energizer to break the ice. Our first session was led by a guest facilitator from the non-profit organization Breathe For Change as part of a partnership with ATC that allowed three staff members and six fellows to become certified yoga teachers. Breathe For Change runs mind-body and social-emotional wellness trainings that unite, train, and support educators in enhancing individual and collective well-being. During the session, fellows learned breathing strategies, built deeper and more vulnerable relationships, committed to building communities of change, and practiced listening deeply to each other. 90% of fellows reported experiencing a moment of mindfulness during the Breathe for Change session, 83% reported learning something they can use in their classroom, and 93% reported growing in their ability to set intentions for their life.
After a delicious lunch from Three Fold Noodles + Dumpling Co., fellows met in one of seven content groups based on the subject they currently teach. Content groups focused on topics such as instructional strategies for diverse learners (ELA), writing strategies (science), small groups (elementary), questioning and engagement (CTE and social studies), misconceptions and connections (math), and classroom management strategies (art). Each content group is led and facilitated by an ATC alum certified in that subject area with support from ATC Director of Teacher Development Kendra Ide. 86% of fellows reported learning something they can use in their classroom Monday, and 90% of fellows reported growing as a facilitator of their content.
Fellows then moved into an equity session to ground themselves in their community context and continue crafting their equity “whys”, or personal motivations for ensuring equitable educational opportunities for all students. Next, fellows transitioned into racial affinity spaces, where they reflected on the history of white supremacy and how it has impacted their lives and classrooms. Fellows were challenged to explore practices that help dismantle white supremacy tenets in their lives. 93% of fellows reported their satisfaction with the afternoon’s equity session and affinity space on the end-of-day survey.
Throughout the day, fellows were encouraged to have fun while working and reflecting deeply. Overall, 76% of fellows felt that the day’s PD empowered them to facilitate ATC’s mission of excellent, equitable education, and 72% felt they have the ongoing support from ATC they need to be successful. Fellows will convene again on Saturday, April 15 for the fourth All Corps professional development.