NJTESOL/NJBE Spring Conference Reflections


July 07, 2022 | Lauren Umbehauer |


I was thrilled to have my first-ever opportunity last month to experience the NJTESOL/NJBE spring conference. I had the chance to speak with educators from across my home state of New Jersey, where I started my career in education as a middle school science teacher. In this article, I share my reflections about the event and what I learned from fellow educators. 

In my current role at Speak Agent, I create science courses for marginalized learners that help them to acquire the academic language for the STEM content they’re learning in the classroom. I also guide schools in implementing Speak Agent, helping reduce teacher workload. Engaging with multilingual teachers and listening to their unique stories keeps me connected to classroom teaching and in touch with educator needs. This way, we can ensure Speak Agent solves their problems in a meaningful way.


Speak Agent photos from the NJ TESOL Spring ConferenceMany educator stories centered around their successes and hope for the future. However, they also included many challenges that multilingual teachers face daily. There was a significant commonality between many of the difficulties multilingual teachers expressed. Almost all of these incredible teachers educate students of more than one grade level and in more than one subject area. As a former educator, I was so impressed by their commitment, but I also know how difficult their job must be. These teachers are going above and beyond to help their marginalized students, but they need resources and support to teach such a large variety of subjects and levels.


My favorite part of my job in K-12 Partner Success is being able to make teachers' jobs easier. Speak Agent provides them with ready-made activities that assist their students in acquiring the content vocabulary needed in math and science classes. We also align directly with the district curriculum, so teachers do not spend added time searching for the right activities for their students. I hope to use what I’ve learned at this conference to elevate how I assist teachers using our Content+Language programs. Many thanks to NJTESOL/NJBE for hosting such a great conference and for providing the opportunity to discuss the pathways to success for multilingual learners! 

 

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"My favorite thing about Speak Agent is the level of engagement and excitement it generates in my students. Many of them literally ask me if they can do their lessons, as soon as we transition to Science!" - Mr. Conticelli, Lee County Schools, FL.

Lauren Umbehauer

Written by Lauren Umbehauer

Lauren is a science educator with six years of experience bringing curiosity and excitement into the classroom for secondary students. She is a proven leader in implementing new technologies in the classroom and providing rigorous professional development on research-based teaching strategies.