EastBay Today

Posted July 25, 2017

Teaching is a Growth Industry

Hundreds of educators will flock to Cal State East Bay July 28 to prepare for the future of California's classrooms

Cal State East Bay has been hosting the Better Together: California Teachers Summit since 2015, an event that brings thousands of educators to campus for a day of workshops and collaborative learning.

Cal State East Bay Professor and Teacher Education Department Chair Eric Engdahl wants his students to forget the misconception that teachers don’t make a lot of money. Instead, he wants them to realize that after graduation, they will be changing lives in elementary and high school classrooms throughout California. He’s hoping Cal State East Bay’s third annual "Better Together" California Teachers Summit will do just that.

“One the best things Better Together does for the students and our alumni is that it's starting to reframe what the narrative of teaching is,” Engdahl said. “The myth is that the pay is terrible, it’s not a true profession or something you do if you can’t do anything else, when in fact none of that is true.”

Held on the last Friday of July of every year, the Better Together summit, funded primarily by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a partnership between the California State University system, The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, and the New Teacher Center. The summit is taking place on 36 colleges campuses this year, and expected to bring together up to 10,000 pre-K-12 teachers for a day of TED-style talks and programming.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Second Lady Jill Biden, lifelong educator, wife of former Vice President Joe Biden and co-founder of the Biden Foundation, an organization committed to furthering public education. Biden’s speech will be broadcast from St. Mary’s College in Moraga to all 36 summit locations.

After the keynote, Cal State East Bay participants will break up and attend “EdTalks” including one led by Kendra Pollock, who has worked in both private and public education during the past eight years and is currently earning a dual master's degree in Educational Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy at Cal State East Bay.

Immediately following the EdTalks, participants will have a chance to attend “EdCamp,” which are small breakout sessions whose topics are generated in direct response to the interests of the attendees. Pollock's discussion will focus on collaboration.

According to Engdahl, the California State University system produces more than 50 percent of the credentialed teachers in California, but the need continues to grow.

“Baby boomers are retiring and there’s also a growth in [the number of] students,” he said. “Teaching is very much a growth industry.”

He also said he hopes attendees walk away from the event feeling excited for the upcoming school year and that students have a chance to network with future colleagues.

“Seventy-five percent of our applicant pool is local and 75 percent of them will stay local after graduation. Our students will have a chance to not only augment their own learning, but they’ll get to know teachers in different districts, particularly from Alameda and Contra Costa.”

In addition to the summit programming, which runs from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., attendees will have a chance to explore the West Contra Costa Unified School District’s mobile Fab Lab — a maker faire-style space that will give teachers a chance to check out the lessons plans and equipment used in a mobile lab space.

The California Teachers Summit is free to all teachers, but registration is required. For more information about the event or to register visit cateacherssummit.com.