By Samuel Carignan – Contributing Writer
The end of the semester has Education majors rushing to prepare for their student teaching placements that may start as early as this coming January.
The final and largest hurdle of the program, students have a lot to do before they can start student teaching. Despite the challenges, Education majors are eager to take what they have learned at UMF into the classroom.
Excitement and nervousness filled the Student Center in late November as Education majors learned their student teaching placements after months of waiting. These students now must start working on their responsibilities before the placement even starts, including setting up meetings with the mentor, preparing for interviews, and starting their large Contextual Factors Assignment.
Although it is a lot of work, Education majors are ready for the challenge. Senior Elementary Education major Ashley Hinkley recently learned about her placement. “I know that it is going to be hard, but I feel prepared and am ready to start teaching,” said Hinkley.
Student teaching may seem daunting, but it is one of the highlights of the Education program. On top of the benefit of it looking great on a resume when applying for jobs, it also makes UMF students some of the most prepared teachers when they graduate.
Shawna Oliver, a 2017 UMF graduate, is currently teaching fourth grade at Belgrade Central School. Her student teaching placement was in a fifth-grade classroom in the same district. Oliver gave some advice for anyone getting ready for student teaching. “Advocate for yourself,” said Oliver. “If you have wishes, communicate them to your supervisors.”
For many Education majors, student teaching is a way to test what they have learned over their time at UMF. Student teaching can only be done after all methods classes have been finished, so many are eager to take the knowledge they have learned out into the field.
Leah Boucher, a senior Elementary Education major, was excited about her placement in a third-grade classroom. She is one of many students who has been waiting for years for this experience. “UMF has made me feel ready to start student teaching,” said Boucher. “I can’t wait to start this next adventure.”
Much like a capstone, student teaching is the final test of a person’s skill in their field of study. It is a sixteen-credit course, meaning this one class has an entire semester worth of work involved with it.
For any students who are uneasy about student teaching, Oliver has some experienced advice. “As long as you are meant to be a teacher, you will love it,” said Oliver. “The praise that you have heard about the teachers that UMF prepares is true. UMF does prepare its pre-service teachers as best they can.”
By Gavin Elliot, Contributing Writer
“I’ve always have been interested in serving my country, but I’m not a military person. So I knew if I wanted to, I had to find a way without carrying a gun around,” said Danny Marshall as he leaned forward.
Marshall, originally from Auburn, Maine, will be graduating from UMF in 2018 with a degree in Philosophy and Religion. Just a few weeks later, he will be flying to Mongolia to co-teach English in the Peace Corps. The process of him applying to the Peace Corps started in the Spring semester of 2017. After talking to a Peace Corps representative, he decided to fill out the “send me anywhere” application.
Philosophy and Religion major Danny Marshall (Photo Courtesy of Danny Marshall)
“When I told my family that I had started the application process, they thought it was unlike me at first,” said Marshall. “But, I questioned my maturity and I felt the need to actively seek out responsibility.”
Like many others in college, Marshall undergoes many adulthood norms, but still doesn’t always feel like one. “Even though I pay rent, have a job and go to school full-time I don’t really feel like an adult,” said Marshall.
He also saw the Peace Corps as an opportunity to travel and immerse himself in another culture. “I’ve always wanted to travel, but I don’t want to be a tourist. I want to be a part of the community. I don’t like the idea of just going to some place, taking pictures and doing touristy things like buying a t-shirt,” he said chuckling.
After Marshall received confirmation that he was accepted into the Peace Corps and traveling to Mongolia, his family’s mood changed. “When I told them I was going to Mongolia, they were happy,” he said.
Setting his sights to his move in May, Marshall is unsure of what it will be like without running water, electricity, and other commodities. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t worried about how I will adjust to new living conditions, let alone a complete new country. I believe that I will do pretty well for myself,” said Marshall with a smile. “I don’t think it will be hard to take what I have learned from my Philosophy teachers and apply it over there.”
However, he knows that what he’s learned in his time here at UMF won’t be quite enough. “This is my last semester. So, during the spring semester, I will be doing as much research about the Mongolian language and traditions I can, while dealing with nerves and excitement,” said Marshall. “I’ll be the most nervous while anticipating my flight. The combination of it being my first flight and a big change will probably be the worst. But until then, I will have to try to relax and get some sleep.”
By Haiyu Zheng, Contributing Writing
UMF Mantor Library recently held the “Live. Travel. Adventure” Photo Contest, which invited both professional and amateur photographers on campus to enter their best adventure photos for a chance to win a prize. Thirty-six astonishing photographs from twelve candidates were displayed on the gallery wall to ignite people’s sense of wonder by providing extraordinary stories.
According to Mantor Library staff member Kelly Boivin, “Live. Travel. Adventure” is the theme of UMF’s annual reading program “On Our Minds” this year. Their goal is to get as many people on campus as possible reading and talking about the same book and sharing the reading experience.
The Lodhi Gardens (Brianna Martin)
Boivin believed that there was no better way to get people involved than a travel photography contest. “This theme just begs for a photo contest,” Boivin said. “We got twelve people submitting the photos, and every single photo is somebody’s adventure.”
UMF senior Brianna Martin was surprised when finding out that she won both the first and second place prizes of $75 and $25 with her images shot from her iPhone on her semester abroad in India. “I think people like [the photos] because they can be transported to that environment when seeing them,” said Martin.
In the prize presentation ceremony, Martin was awarded by the sponsor of this contest, Ann Arbor, a local professional photographer in Farmington. Standing in front of the gallery wall, Martin told the stunning story behind her photos.
“The picture with the powder on my face, that was during Holi, a Hindu festival which symbolizes the win of good over evil,” said Martin. “People walked on the street and threw colored powder on each other. The pink on this side of my face was from a random man who came to me and put his hand on my face and smeared the powder.” Martin laughed, and lifted her eyebrows as if she could still remember the initial shock that she received during that special moment.
Martin thought that picture symbolized her full immersion in a different culture by trying something new even if it was not very comfortable, which was an adventure.
A Selfie of Brianna Martin in Holi Shenanigans in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Brianna Martin)
The photo that won second place was shot in Lodhi Gardens in New Delhi. When capturing that scene, Martin stood in the darkness looking through the brightness of the gardens located on the other side of the path.
“It didn’t seem real to me. It was so beautiful. It made me think of the Jungle Book in reality,” Martin gasped.
UMF Senior Sam Carignan, who submitted three photos of his trip in Germany, showed his appreciation to Martin’s photographs. “Knowing the whole story behind it helped me to understand the photo, but I think they’re already beautiful by themselves,” said Carignan. He commented that Martin did a really great job on the Lodhi Garden photograph. “The darker side narrows down the focal point, and that focal point was beautiful. I’m glad she won,” Carignan said, with a satisfied tone as if he himself won the competition, leaning back in his chair.
The photo contest provided UMF students an opportunity to showcase people’s attitude and quality of life. Instead of merely showing scenes, it’s a buffet of different lifestyles. People learned more from the competition than what they expected. “I learned that you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take pictures that make others feel happy or certain emotion,” said Martin.
To make it completely open to everyone, the contest organizer offered two ways of voting. One was voting in-person in the library. The photos were all numbered on the wall and people who passed by wrote down the number of their favorite images. The other method was online voting. All the photos were posted on Facebook. Any reaction on Facebook was counted: likes, smiley faces, or comments. Boivin explained that they didn’t put any boundaries on the voting.
The photos are still displayed in the library. More information about the coming activities held by Mantor Library can be found on its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mantorlibrary.
By Alicia Davis, Contributing Writer
CAs in the UMF residence halls are mentally ready to help students during finals week, which is one of the busiest for CAs throughout the entire semester. This is Josh Beckett’s third semester as a CA, this year in Purington. “We have a lot more duty hours because we have to be around to check people out of their rooms,” said Beckett. “The office is typically constantly staffed from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. For finals week, it’s staffed all day long,” he said. CAs feel they have more to do around campus than other college students, but especially during finals week.
Margaret Fogarty, a CA in Scott North, said, “I think we work all the time, so if I’m busy studying for my exams and someone needs me, I have to stop what I’m doing and help them,” said Fogarty. “I’m a lot busier than the average student, [especially] during this week,” she said.
CAs also have to stay on campus longer than most other students. After finals week is over, CAs have to wait extra time before they can go home. “We stay until all the rooms are checked.We have to come back early in January for spring training,” said Beckett. “This gives us a shortervacation than a typical college student,” he said.
During finals week, CAs have a few extra jobs. “There is a CA on duty throughout the day, in addition to the night shift in order to help people who are checking out,” said Loren Marshall, a CA in Dakin.
Some students have been inspired by the work CAs do. Sage van Eekhout is a CA in Stone, and decided to become a CA starting her sophomore year. “I wanted to be a CA because my freshman year all of my friends were CAs, and I saw the impact they made on myself and others,” she said. “I wanted to be there for someone like they were for me.”
Some residence halls have programs that are run during finals week to help students. “In Scott we have a program called Destress Fest, where there are different activities,” said Fogarty.
“There will be yoga, Just Dance, bubble wrap popping, we have different ways to reduce stress,” she said. Collin Regan is in his third semester as a CA in Scott North. Regan said his favorite thing about being a CA is “making the connections and being there for people. Having the knowledge that I am a resource and I am available is a good feeling,” he said.
These CAs work together to create the feeling of a community on campus and in their residence halls to help students feel at home. CAs are always available to help, whether it is tips on studying for finals or any other stresses in life.