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UPBEAT MOOD REIGNS AS TEACHERS HARVEST NEW IDEAS, SET GOALS

SHARE UPBEAT MOOD REIGNS AS TEACHERS HARVEST NEW IDEAS, SET GOALS

Utah teachers attending Utah Education Association meetings in the Salt Palace Thursday and Friday did not particularly have their recent walkout on their minds.

But the unity and momentum of the walkout created an upbeat, hopeful atmosphere at the annual meeting. Gov. Norm Bangerter added to the perception in his Thursday address, promising teachers they will share in the state's tax surplus."Maybe (his promises) are just pie in the sky, but now it's up to him to carry through," said Joe Avis, a teacher at Salt Lake's Hillside Intermediate School. Teachers showed the governor due respect, Avis said offering hearty applause and even a standing ovation.

For Avis, a 30-year veteran in the classroom, the UEA convention is a chance to revitalize and return to his students with some new ideas. Would he suggest young people go into education? "Not if they want to make a lot of money," he said, "But if they want the satisfaction of doing good things for people, it's a great career."

Allen Rasmussen, president of the Granite Education Association, also had echoes of BAngerter's talk ringing in his ears. "Let's hope now that he comes through," he said.

In the noontime sunshine of the Salt Palace plaza. Debbie Seamons of Provo District was toe-tapping to a rollicking renuition of "Johnny-Be-Good" from a Piute School District jazz band. "I've enjoyed every minute so far." she said of the convention.

Leftovers from the walkout showed up here and there. Kaylee Schatten, a Murray District teacher, still sported a WALK button as she attended the lucheon of UEA local representatives.

I've noticed there's a lot of enthusiasm here this year. We've been given a new lease on life. It's evident in the schools, too. Now we know we have a goal to reach," she said.

Earlier on Thursday, keynote speaker Patrick Welch, lawyer/author/teacher from Virginia, congratulated the Utah teachers for taking a stand. "When you have no respect for teachers, you have no respect for our children and no respect for our future," he told the assembly.

Until politicians start respecting teachers, the educational system won't change and disparities between educational systems in other countries and the United States will persist, Welch said, noting that isolation is a teacher's greatest enemy, and he urged teachers to open their doors to each other and to work together to improve education.

In other session, local television personality Rod Decker sdaid many of Utah's problems are self-imposed by the decisions that are made. Businesses have made their money in utah and taken it elsewhere, he said.

Primarily, teachers were gathered to do what they have traditionally done during UEA conference - mshare ideas and concerns, update skills, recharge their professional batteries. Hallways buzzed with teachers attending specialty meetings.

In a math see-and-do room, teachers demonstrated the used of golf tees, stacked pyramids of praticle board, playing cards, felt strips and other items to help children learn. A children's book invited to "Meet Ben. He's one whole person. He's alone." Page two finds Ben with Betty, and a simple math concept is taught.

B. Jay Fairbanks and Doug Richards helped teachers learn some basic origami as a route to helping children with "following directions, spatial perceptions, parallelograms, congruence/similarity, point symmetry and line symmetry, special triangles and area." Not to mention etcetera.

The English session was quieter but alive with ideas for such things as making the classics relevant today's students. A speaker enticed teachers to try the "write" approach.

Richard Miller, teaching English for his third yar at Clearfield High School, said he tries to teach "around today's lifestyles. I want my kids to enjoy the classics more." Human nature hasn't change all that much since Shakespeare's day, he noted.

For Karen King, sitting on a downtown step waiting for a lunch date, the convention was a reaffirmation of her desire to be teacher. The Twin Falls, Idaho, woman is a student at Brigham Young University and not blind to the problems in education today."

"I'd like to teach in Colorado. It has a better economy than Utah or Idaho," she said. "But I will be a teacher. I've been working with first-graders, and I just love those kids."