HUNDREDS of teachers jumped at the chance to be students for a day taking part in a combined staff development conference recently.
More than 400 teachers from 18 public schools gathered to hear guest speakers and take part in 21 training workshops on day one of this school term.
The conference was held at Shoalhaven High School and hosted by Shoalhaven High School principal Kem Rakiposki.
Mr Rakiposki is one of six local principals who form a steering committee for the Shoalhaven River Learning Community of Schools.
Mr Rakiposki said early feedback from almost 200 staff who attended indicated the conference met their professional needs.
“We organised the different activities so teachers could choose which workshops suited their needs,” he said.
As well as hearing the keynote speaker, human performance researcher Dr Adam Fraser, teachers took part in workshops.
Topics included Aboriginal perspectives in teaching and learning, creating calm spaces for students who may have experienced trauma, online teaching and learning resources, using social media in the classroom, teaching literacy and numeracy using the new syllabus documents K-12, and many others.
Mr Rakiposki said it gave the organisers a good insight into the needs of staff across the Shoalhaven.
“I have spoken to colleagues at high and primary schools and they were impressed with Dr Fraser’s presentation,” he said.
“We are directed by the 400 staff from the area who let us know what their needs are.
“A conference like this gives teachers that professional training to keep abreast of what’s happening in education.”
Mr Rakiposki said the conference also gave the organisers an understanding of what each teacher wanted in terms of training in the future.
“Ultimately this is for the students because we become better teachers as a result of it,” he said.
On the day more than 150 office and support staff met at Bomaderry Public School to learn more about their roles.
The steering committee hoped similar types of events would continue in the future.