Future Educators Conference Bringing 1,500 Students to Texas Tech

For the first time in its three-decade history, the conference is being held at a university.

More than 1,500 Texas high school students will be in Lubbock this weekend for a future educators conference, marking the first time such an event has been held on a college campus.

The 31st Annual Teach Tomorrow Summit will be held Saturday through Monday (Feb. 14-16) at Texas Tech University. The summit is a program of the Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE) and seeks to increase the number of high school students seeking to pursue careers in teaching. This state conference draws more than 1,500 participants and is traditionally held at hotels in major cities.

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A year ago, the Texas Tech College of Education approached TAFE with the idea of offering students an opportunity to experience college life by having its annual conference on a college campus. The students and chaperones will stay in local hotels but will be on campus for events and competitions and will receive tours of the campus.

“With the growing population of Texas, meeting the teacher demands of the classroom will become a great challenge if we do not find ways to grow our own teachers,” said Janie Ramirez, outreach programs coordinator for the College of Education. “TAFE is helping to meet that demand, and the College of Education at Texas Tech is excited to partner with such an organization to insure Texas has exceptional teachers ready to take their place in our classrooms.”

On Saturday, students will compete in 29 events such as Lesson Planning, Classroom Role Play & Delivery, Job Interview and others that showcase the student's interest in teaching. The majority of the judges are students in the College of Education's TechTeach program. The College of Education is providing $1,000 scholarships to the winners in 11 of the events. Recipients must attend Texas Tech to use the scholarship money.

Students will also compete for scholarships in a public speaking competition ($1,200 for first place, $800 for second place, TAFE Student of the Year ($1,000), and a children's literature competition ($1,000).

On Sunday, participants will choose from 50 break-out sessions designed to encourage students to explore college and career readiness as well as insights into teaching styles for the 21st century. Faculty, staff and students from Texas Tech, Lubbock Christian University and South Plains College will provide 25 of the breakout sessions.

Tours of various locations on campus, including walking tours, will be provided from 8-9:30 a.m. Monday. The College of Education has invited students to special tours of the Burkhart Center for Autism and the Virginia Murray Sowell Center, which focuses on teaching future teachers about working with students with sensory disabilities. The tours will end with a mini pep rally provided by the Texas Tech Cheer Squad at the City Bank Auditorium at 9:30 a.m.

The conference will conclude at 10 a.m. Monday at the City Bank Auditorium with a keynote address by Damen Lopez, founder of No Excuses University. Lopez, a former teacher and elementary school principal, is expected to inspire the student audience with his own mother's trademark motto “After High School comes College.” Lopez is in Lubbock for the first No Excuses University Institute to be held in the region, Feb. 17-18 in the Student Union Building.

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College of Education

The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including 9 doctoral degrees, 10 master's degrees, two bachelor's degrees and numerous specializations which can lead to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.

Programs in the college are housed in three departments.

The Department of Curriculum & Instruction offers advanced degrees that prepare leaders, researchers, and professors with the knowledge, skills, and practical application experience needed to analyze, construct, and evaluate curricula in ways that create optimal learning conditions for all learners. Language and literacy, bilingual education and STEM education are just a few of the specializations offered by C&I.

The Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership consists of a diverse group of academic programs that equip students with a comprehensive knowledge of learning, motivation, development, and educational foundations. The disciplines of counseling and school psychology are housed within the EP&L department as are programs to prepare future college administrators, primary and secondary school and district leaders, as well as practical and academic educational psychologists.

The Department of Teacher Education focuses solely on teacher preparation, ensuring that teacher candidates are ready for the classroom on day one. The Teacher Education Department is home to TechTeach, an innovative teacher preparation program that puts teacher candidates into public school classrooms for a full year and requires that students pass teacher certification tests prior to entering the classroom. Various paths to teaching careers, including fast-track distance programs statewide and alternative certification options, are also housed in this department.

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