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My First Teacher Training

“We are constant consumers of information and we strive to foster the same in our students.”

This quote was scribbled on a giant sticky notepad in an AP English Language and Composition training session at a NMSI AP Summer Institute (APSI) I had the opportunity to attend last month – and it’s an apt summation of what I saw there. I got to witness a big part of what NMSI does “in the field” as I visited several of the classrooms at Birdville High School in North Richland Hills, Texas. Some 350 AP teachers from 12 states were in attendance for four days of in-depth training in preparation for the new school year.
 
As a NMSI intern this summer, I have seen much of the behind-the-scenes work – the assembly of supplies, preparation of grant applications, creation of lesson plans, troubleshooting of website issues, and interactions with students and teachers on social media – that drives NMSI’s daily operations. But taking a step into teacher training really opened my eyes to the true impact NMSI is having on teachers’ classroom practice and on their students.
 
I watched expert trainers model engaging instruction and foster lively conversation among teachers. Teachers also received helpful resources – labs, activities, worksheets and lesson plans – to take back to their classrooms, but it was the depth of discussion that made the greatest impression on me. On just the first day of training, I saw the change on teachers’ faces as they were reminded of their love of teaching and the excitement of learning new ways to introduce concepts to their students. In sessions on language and chemistry, teachers were actively engaged in addressing problems they face in their own classrooms and, with the instructors’ guidance, discussing solutions together.
 
The APSI seemed to me to serve two purposes. First, it provided exceptional materials along with new approaches and ideas to teachers who must teach rigorous courses in a way that engages students. Second, and most importantly, it inspired teachers to be continual learners alongside their students and reminded them of their opportunity to make a difference in a child’s educational career.
 
At the end of the day, I realized that as a student, you never know or fully appreciate all the effort your best teachers put in to make their classrooms exciting spaces to grow and learn. Many are quick to blame our country’s educational system and summarily call for it to be overhauled. However, teacher training this summer showed me that proven programs like the College Readiness Program that invest heavily in today’s teachers, can achieve transformational results in existing classrooms across the country.