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By Julian Peeples

More than 450 early-career educators spent two days of their precious down time in Santa Clara at New Educator Weekend (NEW), learning tips and techniques for the classroom, networking with fellow teachers and hearing a resounding message from their union: CTA is here for you.

CTA Board Member Angela Der Ramos leads a workshop on making math live.

The premier conference for educators in the first five years of their careers, NEW featured popular sessions on classroom management, social emotional learning, trauma-informed practices, building an anti-racist and anti-ableist classroom, and supporting LGBTQ+ students. NEW is often the first CTA conference that new members attend, also learning about the many benefits and support provided by CTA and NEA.

CTA President E. Toby Boyd

CTA President E. Toby Boyd welcomed the new educators in attendance to the craft and to their union.

“You are going to be such an intricate and important part of children’s lives. We are depending on you, and I know you are going to do great things,” Boyd said. “Remember that you can’t do this alone – you have to build your community, and CTA is here to assist you.”

Educator and author Erin Jones inspired attendees and signed copies of her book, “Bridges to Heal Us.”

Award-winning educator and best-selling author Erin Jones shared the story of how she became a teacher, reminding new educators to find ways to care for themselves while working so hard to support their students.

“Teaching is hard. Educating right now is harder than it’s ever been in my career,” Jones said. “What is sustaining you? What are you doing to feed your soul? Think about your why and what’s going to keep you there.”

The popular “Social Emotional Learning Through Arts Integration” workshop featured lots of movement.

Attendees were energized by the workshops and experience. Ana Aristeo, a fourth-year educator and Sacramento City Teachers Association member, was excited to have the opportunity to attend and said she wants to return next year. Carolyn Everson and Carrie Feigenbaum, both first-year educators and San Jose Teachers Association members, said they had never been to a CTA conference before and NEW exceeded expectations.

“A meaningful and memorable experience in my early teaching career,” Everson said. “I’m feeling motivated for Monday.”

First-year educators Carrie Feigenbaum (left) and Carolyn Everson, both members of San Jose Teachers Association.

This was one of two NEW conferences this school year — the other was held in Southern California in December. Click here for information on upcoming CTA conferences.

An invigorating experience at the Sunday morning session on yoga and self-care

The New Educator Weekend planning committee, flanked by CTA Board Member Taunya Jaco and CTA President E. Toby Boyd.

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