By Madison Lecowitch Contributing Writer
The UMF Aspiring Educators Club inspires students to be lifelong educators who are passionate about teaching the next generation of leaders.
Bradley Howes, a junior at UMF, has participated in Aspiring Educators Club since his sophomore year. He decided to join when a former member came into one of his special education classes to promote the club.
Howes became the club’s treasurer once he realized the benefits that came with being involved in the club. “I enrolled for the treasurer after I came up with some fundraising ideas that met the clubs financial obligation,” said Howes. “It was once that I became the treasurer that I realized all the stuff that I could do that wasn’t written in the rules.”
The “stuff” that Howes was referring to includes setting up events, fundraising opportunities and promoting the club through class discussions around campus. Anyone who joins the club is encouraged to set up their own educational events. “If the students have an idea they want to do, they can come to any of us, and we will make it happen,” said Howes.
Jamie Dillon, president, joined the club to create opportunities for herself, to learn how to make connections with other educators and to provide connections for other people.
Dillon wants to see students in education majors thriving at UMF and in their careers. “[I hope to see] future educators more excited and less discouraged to go into the teaching field, so that they can make personal connections with one another and have strength in numbers and be more confident when they go out and get real jobs as teachers.”
The club was created five years ago with the goal to benefit students from all education majors. Howes encourages everyone who wishes to gain experience as an educator to join.“Pragmatically it makes you look good, because when you put that on a resume it shows you’re trying to be a lifelong learner and continuingly improving educator,” Howes said. “That’s a big thing that a lot of schools are looking for that a lot of people overlook.”
One of the greatest benefits that come with joining the club is the connection with the Maine Education Association. “[MEA] oversees all of the educators within the state of Maine, which includes preservice educators. We collaborate with their student collaborator, Dan Allen, to make sure we’re meeting their obligations,” said Howes. “He provides us with opportunities, we provide them with data and interest and what one of the best teaching schools in Maine is talking about. It is a mutually beneficial relationship where they want to get new blood and new information and we want their experience and their tips for us.”
Memberships to join the MEA are $28 for students. The club usually leaves money in the budget for free memberships that are need-based. A membership with the MEA allows you to attend two conferences, one in the fall that is held in Rockland and one in the spring that is held at UMF. In addition, you also receive access to the MEA magazine where there are helpful tips and information for future educators.
Howes encourages students to join the club as early as possible. “It is probably most beneficial for people to start early in the club around your freshman age. I started around my sophomore age, which means I got into my position as a junior and realistically that only gives me a year and a half to participate in it,” said Howes. “And then I have to student teach and that becomes my full attention.”
The Aspiring Educators Club meets every Tuesday at 7:30 pm in the Ed. Center, Rm.107. Howes encourages anyone who wishes to participate to come to the meetings. If there are any questions, students can contact Howes, or the rest of the Executive-Board at any time. The E-board includes Jamie Dillon, Danielle Bowler, Bradley Howes and Michaela Wright. “Anyone on the E-Board is open for questions,” Howes said. “Jamie Dillon is the president and you can email her at [email@example.com].” Howes’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org.