Eighty-five teachers from across Kansas came to Pittsburg last week to attend teaching workshops provided by the Kansas Center for Career and Technical Education (KCCTE), learning new skills to bring back to their classrooms. The crowd was comprised of career and technical educators and post-secondary educators.
The Kansas Technology Center hosted the two-day event from 9 a.m. on 5 p.m. on Nov. 8 and 8 a.m. to noon on Nov. 9. Several different hands-on learning courses were offered to teachers.
“They get to bring up their skill level, and the other part is they get to rub elbows with teachers that are like them, so it’s really like a networking opportunity that they can share,” Greg Belcher, professor of technology, said. “… To see these teachers grow professionally is a huge deal.”
The KCCTE courses included woodworking, interior design, automotive technology, and construction.
“We do technical workshops… For these individuals that teach in the CTE paths or programs. Sometimes what happens is, they get behind the technical skill in that field, especially if they’ve left that field and are just teaching it,” Belcher said. “A lot of times with… Adobe Suite, they can go to a workshop, but it may cost them $500 to $700. We get a resident expert in there and they put those on and we charge $30, so it’s a big difference.”
According to their website, technical workshops are designed to provide teachers with knowledge of current trends, tools, equipment, and teaching methods in their content area; tips for teaching the technical skills and lab safety are embedded into each workshop.
“We try to do about 40 technical workshops a year; we do these all throughout the state,” Belcher said. “This center is to serve teachers all throughout the state, so we try to get information from teachers all over as far as what do they feel challenged in and then we start recruitment.”
Preparation for a CTE workshop begins long before setting up the morning of. Tracy Eagon, administrative associate, began planning in February workshops.
“We averaged it about how much hours she has involved from the conceptualization of the workshop, getting the recruitment material set up, getting info out to teachers, finding presenters, that she averages about 27 hours a workshop,” said Belcher. “I can’t speak highly enough about her.”
The KCCTE also offers a free online resource sharing library and a free mentoring network.
“The other major benefit had been networking with programs that feed directly into our program,” said Christel Benson, an Adobe Illustrator presenter for the event and GIT professor here PSU. “… We hope the overall experience will create a network for their students to enroll at PSU, or at least come for a visit. As faculty, we spend a lot of time recruiting off campus, but when we can get them in the Kansas Technology Center, to see it first hand, it makes a lasting impression.”
The KCCTE program is planning on hosting workshops next year in November 2019.
“A lot of CTE programs, what they teach, the content is always evolving,” Belcher said, “So these professionals need to stay up in their content, but they also need to stay up professionally in their teaching as well.”