“Kids Before Content. Love Before All.”

2014 National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb inspires at MSEA’s Early Career Educator Summit.

Early career educators Richard Warren Jr., John Wombach, Sarah Gizaw, and Arame Richardson with 2014 National Teacher of the Year Sean McComb.

The day after the conference,” said music educator John Wambach, “I started drafting a behavior reflection document — using specific language from one of the workshops — that my students now complete when they are disrupting another’s education.”

Wambach attended Organizational and Instructional Classroom Management Strategies, one of seven breakout sessions developed for educators in the first five years of their practice at MSEA’s second Early Career Educator Summit on November 4.

Energizing and Inspiring

Workshops and talks on issues like classroom management, teaching English language learners, special education, differentiated instruction, multiple intelligences, and building home/school relationships addressed some of the barriers that challenge early career educators.

Through EdTalks led by early career teachers, workshops, and an inspiring message from Baltimore County’s Sean McComb, the 2014 National Teacher of the Year, the focus was on making connections, growing a strong education practice, and finding the support and encouragement new educators need.

Watch Sean McComb’s TedTalk

McComb used a famous quote to make a strong statement about his teaching philosophy: “Michelangelo said, ‘I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set it free.’ What we must do as teachers is see the possibilities in each student and teach until we’re able to set them free.”

“Sean’s comments really resonated with me,” said Richard Warren Jr., a science teacher in Somerset County. “He reminded us of our purpose — kids before content, love before all, and the challenge for us to ‘hypersee’ what our students can be.”

Lasting Reminders

What stuck with me most from the conference was how to apply the growth mindset philosophy to my classroom management,” said Wambach. “I think it’s so important, especially in a music class, to tell kids that they’re not there yet but that they will be soon.”

Wambach’s Montgomery County colleague, Spanish teacher Sarah Gizaw said, “I really appreciated the emphasis on building student–teacher relationships from start to finish throughout the day as a consistent reminder of how much we need to invest in building rapport with our kids. I realized this early on and it made all the difference with some of my most challenging students.”