What to Expect at Science Teacher Conferences

As a part of their continuing education work, many teachers attend special conferences. Science teachers are no exception. The goal of conferences for science educators is to help teachers network, brainstorm, and stay informed about the latest classroom products, curricula, trends, and teaching methods.There are many science conferences hosted by several associations throughout the year all across the United States. As a teacher preparing to attend one of these conferences, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your conference experience.Tips:• Bring extra paper and pens. Something pocket-sized is good for taking quick notes. You might want to write something down during a presentation or even during a quick conversation with a colleague.• Bring one of your ribbon lanyards from home for displaying your name tag. Lanyards are also handy for keeping pens within reach.• Bring a personal or school laptop for organizing and taking notes at the end of the day. The laptop may be useful during the day as well, if the facilities accommodate laptops for teachers.• Bring an extra bottle of water and a small snack with you in case a presentation runs long or if you are staying overnight and the conference lasts for more than one day.• Review the agenda for the conference ahead of time and select the events you want to attend. Pick presentations and workshops that will benefit you the most.• Actively participate in conference sessions to get the most from your conference experience.• Stay at a hotel on the conference list. This is helpful in two ways. First, you will be close to all of the events. Second, you will be able to network with other teachers after the day’s activities have ended.National Science Teacher Association (NSTA) ConferenceWhile several different associations hold conferences for science instructors, the NSTA conference is one of the most well-known. The NSTA’s conferences are open to both members and non-members. These conferences strive to inform teachers about teaching strategy, research, and content.What makes conferences such great resources for teachers it that they provide a forum for professional growth. At a conference, teachers can benefit from collaboration with peers and education leaders.What to ExpectAt NSTA conferences, teachers will participate in hands-on workshops and presentations. They will hear from distinguished speakers on a variety of topics, and short courses and social events are also planned. One of the biggest parts of an NSTA conference is the Exhibition of Science Education Materials. As one of the biggest curricula exhibits, it is an incredible resource for science teachers.Other ConferencesIn addition to the national and area conferences held by the NSTA, many science teacher associations exist that the state and local level. These conferences provide similar resources and information for teachers, but usually on a smaller scale. Check with teacher groups in your area for information on these conferences and other educational resources for science teachers.