By Sara Pinette Contributing Writer

The Aspiring Educators of Maine Club give hands-on experience and professional connections to pre-service teachers at UMF.

   The club welcomes early childhood, elementary, secondary and special education majors to attend their weekly meetings and occasional events that give students inspiration and a chance to learn more about their profession.

   “We’re really big on the idea of giving perspective and inspiring teachers,” says President of the club Bryan Eldridge. “Giving hands-on experience to understand what the profession might look like and feel like through different conferences, activities on campus, and tangible advice in our meetings.”

   An event that was popular last year, according to Vice President Carson Hope is “Tales from the Classroom”. It was such a success that the club decided to host the event again this year.

   “Tales from the Classroom” will take place on November 1st and have a panel of new and experienced teachers talking about the realistic and sometimes amusing aspects of being an educator. “[It’s purpose] is to give advice to pre-service teachers,” Hope said.

  The club also hopes to get more involved with the town of Farmington, instead of just the campus. They are partnered with local businesses and schools to do food drives a few times a year.

   They already have plans set in motion to start a mentoring program with the Mt. Blue school district, where club members would tutor middle and high schoolers. Another idea they plan to initiate is a “Parent Night Out”. Hope describes the idea as “kids from the community would come and we would provide free childcare for the night.”

   The Aspiring Educators Club is also involved in professional development opportunities outside of the local community. Anyone who is willing to sign up for a student Maine Education Associate (MEA) membership, which costs $28, will be able to go to a fall and spring conference which the majority of the association attends. “Typically we have about 20 and 30 UMF students who go,” said Hope.

   These conferences offer many sessions, put on by various educators, about professional development and how to be a better teacher. There will be educators from all over the state gathering at the Fall Conference on October 19-20th to make connections and learn about new developments in the profession. Since the MEA is a full supporter of the Aspiring Educators Club, most of their members will be attending.

   On October 18th, the club is hosting the President of the Maine Education Association, Lois Kilby-Chesley at their weekly meeting. She is coming to meet with the group to talk to about the profession and gain insight into how the UMF Aspiring Educators club operates.

    Anyone interested in joining the club or just attending a meeting is more than welcome. “It’s really open to anyone who wants to come,” said Eldridge. The club meets every Tuesday night at 8:30 in the Ed Center.

   Students can contact the club through their Facebook page or contact the President at if they have any questions about the club or the education profession in general.