Dear ATE Colleagues,
I do love the New Year! I come back to what I value and take the opportunity to pause and reflect on the past year. The New Year poses the opportunity to make new resolutions: a) giving appreciation for all that was good; b) making plans to continue on or choose to set a new course, and c) planting new seeds for what is to come so that I give intention and attention to what needs to be changed. I prefer an organic type of resolution making process that has a more flexible timeline; a process that allows a practical approach to accomplishing something; and a process that acknowledges the natural flow of things. For me, it is also a process of reflection and taking stock of what I am happy about with regard to my life and my many blessings. So in this Blog I am doing just that!
As I write my last Blog as ATE President, I thank all who have contributed to the governance of ATE; all who have collaborated in bringing to our members the special programs that support their development and scholarship; and I thank all who have taken leadership of our conference planning initiatives and special programs. There are many individuals that I count my blessings for during my year as President: our conference Chairs – Linda Austin and Cecilia Hernandez (Summer Conference Co-chairs for Albuquerque) and Christie McIntyre (Annual Conference Chair for Atlanta; David Ritchey (Executive Director), and ATE staff – Robin Hollyfield and Michael Vetere; our Association Development Specialist and Board of Directors; our special program leaders and Standing Committee Chairs.
I have great appreciation for the stellar work of our Board of Directors as well as the contributions of the Strategic Planning Group for their insight into what ATE is and should be for its members and the type of future leadership needed to get us there. From the conversations we engaged in at this retreat, I can say the ATE Leadership Group has taken stock of the special programs we currently offer our members, which provide a seamless pathway for developing and supporting future leaders in teacher education. This pathway is characterized by program offering designed for preservice teacher candidates, school- and university-based teacher mentors/supervisors, emerging scholars and new professors in teacher education, Clinical Practice Fellows, and future leaders of ATE who are nominated for our Leadership Academy.
I continually remind myself and others who ask about ATE – “What is unique about ATE as an educational organization?” I answer: “It is that ATE is focused on the needs of the teacher educator; and that it has existed as an all-volunteer organization characterized by shared leadership since 1920.” I have come to realize during my Presidency how ATE is an exemplary model of shared leadership and that it functions as its own community of practice on a large scale. By the way of shared leadership a substantial core of ATE members assume various leadership roles, whether it is in leading: a governance group or committee, a task force or commission, a special program, workshop or panel. As a community of practice, ATE members are actively involved in doing the work of teacher education and in sharing their scholarship and wisdom of practice. Teacher educators bridge and connect theory to practice with regard to teaching and learning within the school context or what is termed the “clinical practice” aspects of teacher preparation and development. We are the ones who open up new conceptualizations and windows of understanding for all participants to “see” their practices within theoretical frameworks and research-based knowledge about teaching and learning. For example, teacher educators deal with the special problems associated with supervision and mentoring of teacher candidates, such as when there is not a good fit between the student teacher/intern, cooperating teacher, and supervisor. These situations require attention to maintaining respect for all participants involved. As my conference theme has emphasized teacher educators occupy a complicated space - a distinct, what some call, “third space”, as they perform their roles with an orientation different from academe and different from school systems. Teacher educators are the glue that connects knowledge with practice and are the models for our developing teachers who, by their example, illuminate the relational pedagogies of teaching based on ethics of care and respect for differences. Teacher educators are the professionals who develop and sustain positive relationships across school/university contexts. My hope in creating this year’s theme is that it builds upon Past-President’s initiatives and contributes to a greater visibility of the essential roles our members play in bridging and connecting between school and university participants to provide clinically rich teacher preparation/teacher development experiences.
Now I am looking toward the future with visions of the leadership to come within ATE; or, as I have conceptualized it, “Leadership inside the ATE box”. Our upcoming annual conference in Atlanta February 17-20, 2019 celebrates the many professionals within ATE who are leading special initiatives and the governance work of the organization. And our keynoters and featured session presenters will bring their expertise, wisdom, and scholarship together for us to better “see” and understand our roles within frameworks for exemplary practice. Please do not miss out on the many opportunities for professional development. Many choices are offered including workshops, inspirational keynotes, featured and special sessions, and thematic sessions. Go to www.ate1.org to register and review the conference program offerings.
In closing I reflect back on my visions for ATE that were shared when I started my term as ATE President to ascertain the ways in which I see this vision moving toward realization:
#1 – ATE members will be active practitioner-scholars in bridging and bringing together a new synthesis of key theoretical constructs and ethical practices essential for effective clinical practice in the development of teachers. I appointed two key groups to work on this vision: The Commission on Teacher Educator Development – Chaired by Brandon Butler and the Task Force on Addressing the Needs of the School-Based Mentor/Cooperating Teacher – Co-Chaired by Philip Bernhardt, Thomas Conway, and Greer Richardson.
#2 –ATE will be the “outreach” organization for school- and university- based teacher educators through specialized programs that support their development. The Clinical Fellows Practice Program (CPF) continues into its fourth year collaborating with inclusion of the National Association of Professional Development Schools (NAPDS) members in the Clinical Fellows program designed for practitioner scholars. Pilot programs are being planned to provide venues for state units to utilize selected protocols that have been impactful in providing professional development for practitioner-scholars both school- and university-based.
#3 –ATE leaders will build on and carry forward essential coalitions with our sister organizations to be united in one voice to advocate for the teaching profession and those who prepare teachers – THE TEACHER EDUCATOR. The National Coalition of Educators Group (i.e. NCE Group – ATE, NEA, AACTE, NAME,KDP, NTHF, and CAEP) continued to expand in 2018 to include three new member organizations: National Collaborative for Digital Equity (NCDE), American Association for Employment in Education (AAEE), and National Association of Community Colleges Teacher Education Programs (NACCTEP). Within the National Coalition of Educators (NCE) group we are working closely with AACTE to participate in the State Leaders Institute for joint ATE/AACTE units and Day on the Hill Program. And we continue the Clinical Practice Fellows Program (CPF) with our collaborations with NAPDS and the intent to roll out CPFs at the state level with inclusion of joint state units between ATE and AACTE. We are beginning to plant seeds for initiatives in raising the profile of the teaching profession as well as share the special knowledge and resources that each of our organizations offer to our members.
#4. – ATE will create and develop new venues to provide spaces and places for both virtual and face-to-face professional development opportunities for our members aimed to support them in their teacher educator roles. The fourth vision ties the above visions together. As ATE leaders create and build upon the special programs underway, what is developed is shared. For example, several Commissions and Task Forces are doing this work – the ATE NAPDS Coalition Task Force is working on bringing Clinical Practice Fellows program protocol to the state level; and the Task Force on Addressing the Needs of the School-Based Mentor Cooperating Teacher will be offering a workshop for school- and university-based supervisors/mentors at the annual conference. There will also be special sessions addressing the themes of each vision that address the following: 1) communicating across PK-20 classroom boundaries, 2) providing research based knowledge on impact of PDSs and residency teacher preparation models on teacher development , 3) initiating new concepts for developmental models that support beginning education professionals, and 4) addressing supervision as a field of practice.
In sum, the keynotes, special programs, workshops, commissions, task forces, and thematic presentations planned for the Atlanta conference provide the seeds for moving forward with the above visions for ATE. I only wish I could attend all of them!
The future is bright! ATE is embracing change and is leading the work in teacher educator development.
Come join us in Atlanta!
Sincerely,Patricia Sari Tate
ATE President, 2018-2019