By Gavin Elliott – Contributing Write
After the recent name change approved by Student Senate, UMF Aspiring Educators, previously known as Student M.E.A. (Maine Education Association), seem to be growing in popularity.
Last year, the UMF Aspiring Educators were down to seven to ten members. The level of involvement was higher in the past, according to Beth Evans, a professor at UMF and faculty advisor for Aspiring Educators.
“When I first started teaching here at UMF around 20 years ago, just about every undergrad Ed Major was a member of at least one of the two education clubs,” Evans said.
This year at the first meeting, numbers had tripled when compared to the amount of members last year. This success is partially due to the club’s recent name change.
According to Stephen Riitano, the president of the Aspiring Educators, “the change was to align with the N.E.A. (National Education Association),” and to “let the students of UMF know that a membership to the student M.E.A. is not necessary, although UMF Aspiring Educators is still affiliated [with them].”
Aspiring Educators also held an Informational Meeting in the Ed Center along with Advocates for Disability Awareness Club (ADAC) and UMF Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC). Through this meeting, the members of it are very much clubs hoped to inform new students, as well as current students, of what they each do.
Members of Aspiring Educators will often find themselves brainstorming and discussing upcoming events, fundraising, looking at poverty’s impacts on schools, connecting with other educators and learning skills they may not typically receive in their regular classrooms to aid in their professional development.
Professor Evans elaborated, “It is imperative to know what everyone else is doing in this profession. Early childhood to middle to special ed, etc. and this club does a great job of preparing ed students to do just this.”
Evans went on to say “The club is great because the movers and shakers of the professional life we call teaching.”
The treasurer of Aspiring Educators, Carson Hope, says, “The club is great because you get to network with other educators and clubs, and learn about the community part of teaching.” This networking can also impact more people by allowing them to pool their resources, said Evans.
According to Riitano, an example of the clubs pooling of their resources will be seen on September 26th when Kelly-Anne Rush, more commonly known as Crafty Teacher Lady, will be speaking at 5:30 pm in the Landing about how “teachers can be financially smart while providing meaningful and engaging lessons for their students.”
Later in October, they will be hosting Scare Fest, where “a panel of current teachers and administrators come to UMF and discuss the real side of teaching,” Riitano said.
For more information or any questions on the Aspiring Educators, like them on Facebook at “UMF Aspiring Educators of Maine,” or drop into any of their meetings on Wednesdays, room 106 of the Kalikow Education Center at 7:30 pm