Katherine Aleman: Her Story and Experiences with TAFE

I’m Katherine Aleman. I’m the treasurer for TAFE and currently a senior studying elementary education with a special education emphasis at Texas A&M International University. Texas TAFE (Texas Association of Future Educators) has an annual conference, and this time TAMIU is hosting a regional conference. We participate in various competitions that prepare us for future teaching roles.


One of the events is the Interactive Bulletin Board competition, where you create and decorate a bulletin board that must be interactive with the lesson. Students can use it during class to reinforce learning. This event is for all grade levels, from elementary to high school. Another event is Teacher-Created Material, where you create a learning tool from scratch—like a board game or any other activity—that teachers can use to help students learn a lesson. It’s interesting to see all the creative ideas people come up with.


We also have the Impromptu Lesson competition. As teachers, we might have everything planned, but unexpected situations often arise. For this event, you receive a prompt on the spot and have 10 minutes to prepare. You get materials and a lesson plan, and then you have 8 minutes to teach the lesson to judges who pretend to be students. It’s a fun and challenging experience. Another similar event is Impromptu Speaking, where you get a prompt and express your opinions on the topic without creating a lesson.


Additionally, there is the Researching Learning Challenges competition. This year’s topic is mental illness. We create a PowerPoint presentation and write an essay on the topic, presenting our findings to judges. It’s a great way to learn strategies to help students with learning disabilities and make classrooms more inclusive. There are many more competitions catering to both creative and public speaking skills.


My main struggle this semester has been balancing the organization and school. This is my first semester being accepted into the College of Education, so I’m preparing for the certification exams. There’s a lot of studying and work from the professors, and hosting regionals has added to the workload. It’s been a challenge to manage my time and prioritize tasks.


I’m most excited about meeting my future students. I want to focus on teaching kindergarten, first, and second grade. In the future, I plan to open a daycare facility that can help students with disabilities. First, I want to gain experience as a teacher to learn what students need, and then continue with that idea.

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