Southern Regional Middle School Teacher One of 28 to Attend C-SPAN Conference

Aug 01, 2018

Southern Regional Middle School social studies teacher Bill Smith loves what he does and always looks for ways to not only hone his craft, but also enhance the learning experience for all his students. So when he had an opportunity to apply for one of two C-SPAN Educators’ Conferences in Washington, D.C., on July 23-24, he took it.

“I use a lot of C-SPAN educational resources in my classroom, and this was a great chance to get a deeper understanding of their resources and share ideas with other teachers from across the country,” said Smith, who just completed his fifth year in the middle school. “I got the details about the conference and applied back in February, and I was fortunate to be one of the teachers selected.”

Smith was in exclusive company, part of a group of just 28 teachers from the national pool of thousands of middle schools. According to a C-SPAN release, participants were selected by a panel of C-SPAN representatives and evaluated based on their commitment to learning new educational resources, applying them in the classroom environment and sharing their professional development experiences in their academic communities.

“Earlier in the summer, in June, I went to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History conference in Dallas,” said the 33-year-old. “And in both cases, I really believe these types of conferences are valuable to me as a teacher because it gives you the chance to network with and learn a few things from some really great educators from other parts of the country.”

During the C-SPAN conference, the teachers were introduced to the C-SPAN video library, an online archive containing more than 240,000 hours of searchable, shareable content teachers and students can use as a primary source in the classroom, in addition to other expansive, free features of C-SPAN Classroom.

“Essentially, we learned a lot more about the C-SPAN Classroom resources, and now we can bring back our experience with the resource system to share with others in the district. This doesn’t only help me be a better teacher, but what I pass along to others at Southern can help them enhance their students’ experiences in the classroom.”

While at the conference, Smith was introduced to a rather interesting idea he plans to somehow utilize during the upcoming school year – a method of teaching the U.S. presidents.

“It came from Duke University, which isn’t much of a surprise,” he explained. “But basically, you teach the presidents using a March Madness basketball tournament bracket. I found it to be fascinating. It’s just an interesting and interactive way to reach students who might be interested in March Madness and sports, and it can be fun.”

And that’s the point, in many instances – teaching today’s youth sometimes takes a slightly innovative but fun approach.

“Students are always changing, and learning for them now is different than when I was a kid,” he said. “But going to conferences like this one helps teachers learn that one new way to hone their craft and maybe reach that one student who is struggling, while still allowing the other students to flourish.”

Beyond that, and despite the fact school won’t be back in session for another month, the conference reignited Smith’s passion for teaching.

“I love my job, and these conferences reinforce that,” he said. “It gets me excited to get back into the classroom this September.”

For more about C-SPAN Classroom, visit C-SPAN.org/classroom or follow on Twitter @CSPANClassroom.

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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