OGDEN -- Future teachers from many surrounding school districts learned how to discover the magic in teaching at Weber State University's Future Educators conference Tuesday.
The conference was sponsored by the Future Educators Association at WSU. High school students who are currently taking a concurrent enrollment education class from WSU or who are involved in their high school's FEA were invited to attend.
The theme was Magic in Teaching, and local public speaker and magician Brad Barton was the keynote speaker.
About 200 students were involved with the conference, which included a morning of competition among the high school students and then three break-out sessions with different teaching concepts.
Students competed in such categories as job interview, resume, public speaking, essay writing and a category called mementos, where students talked about special teaching moments with teachers in their own lives.
Amber Williams teaches Education 1010, a concurrent enrollment class at Woods Cross High School. She brings her students to the conference in the spring and fall.
"It gets students on Weber State's campus, and it's phenomenal for students to get pre-teacher training," she said of the conference. She requires her students to enter the competition side of the conference to challenge them and help them to know what things are like in the teaching world.
"They are asked real questions in the job interview and they really have to think," Williams said.
The conferences started in spring 2008 and have grown with each conference, as has the future educators program at the university.
Stephanie Heath oversees the program, which has expanded from 40 to 89 members in the last year. She thinks that comes from the positive FEA programs in the high schools and the desire for students to have more success in the education program at WSU.
Weber State is one of only about 12 schools in the country that offer the Teacher Pipeline program that helps future teachers transition from high school to college. Once the students are in the program, they have success and are familiar with the school, she said. That's one of the reasons for the conference as well.
It also gives her college students a chance to do some teaching, with some of them presenting at the conference. They practiced speeches they will be giving at a national FEA conference in Baltimore this spring.
"It does so much to help them with their resumes and their public speaking skills," Heath said.
Katie Hertig is a senior at Woods Cross High School and plans to come to WSU next year and eventually become an elementary school teacher. She loved the conference.
"It's good to be around kids who are doing what I want to do," she said, adding that she has already learned some inventive things she wants to bring to her own classroom in the future.
Heath administers the conference through a federal grant, so the school districts don't have to pay anything for students to attend the conference. She said she loves getting the students on campus and getting them excited for education.