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 Samuel Carignan – Contributing Writer
In partnership with UMF Health Promotion students, the Franklin County Children’s Task Force held the Make Tracks for Kids event to raise money to end child abuse and neglect.
On Saturday, October 14th, community members got together to participate in the Make Tracks for Kids event. The program supports children who need help in learning or school activities and works to get them the resources they need. The day featured a 2-mile walk, 5K run, and 1-mile kids run. Through registration fees and donations, the group was able to donate the proceeds to 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N. After School Program.
UMF students in Health 310 also added to the day’s events. The students were tasked with running multiple stations that provided information on nutrition and provided participants with healthy snacks.
Chantal Diamond, a Community Health and Anthropology major, was one of the UMF students involved at Make Tracks for Kids. “My job was to provide nutritional and health guidance and give out snacks. We provided information on how to make healthy snacks on a tight budget,” said Diamond.
Students of Health 310 at the Tracks for Kids event.
(Photo courtesy of Katie Callahan)
Information booths were located both at the Task Force Center and Mt. Blue Middle School. UMF students also set up obstacle courses for children to enjoy. “One was a hoop game, another hopscotch, and a bunch of other little activities to get the kids moving,” said Diamond.
The main events at Make Tracks for Kids were the three runs. Participants could choose between a 2-mile walk or a 5K run and children could race in the 1-mile kids run. The races started at the Task Force Center and went through both Bonny Woods and Flint Woods. Racers enjoyed the beautiful fall colors that the trees of New England are famous for. Although it was a race, as a charity run, the focus was on raising money and awareness for the programs as opposed to the winners of the race.
Bikers Against Child Abuse, a non-profit national organization of motorcyclists, was also in attendance. Their mission at Make Tracks for Kids was to raise awareness for child abuse prevention. Healthy Community Coalition, along with UMF students, helped provide families with health information and snacks.
Make Tracks for Kids has left a positive impact on the community. “I think it definitely [made an impact on] the children. It really gave them a chance to learn a little more about nutrition and health,” said Diamond. The money raised from this event will be used to better the lives of community members, especially children.
Work for the students of Health 310 did not end at the conclusion of the event. UMF students taking the course will use this experience to create a project, presentation, and paper on the process of going through an intervention.
“It teaches us on what we can do better and what we need to focus on in order to make sure an intervention goes smoothly,” said Diamond.
By Samuel Carignan – Contributing Writer
UMF Career Services is organizing “Graduate School and Other Post-College Opportunities Month”, a month long event to help upperclassmen transition to post-graduation life. This October, students can visit several speakers whose talks will focus either on graduate school or employment opportunities.
The program is designed to help guide students towards a career path, whether that be graduate school, employment, or a service oriented program. UMF students will have the opportunity to speak with graduate school representatives from UMaine, Colby, Bates, Simmons and Husson. Employment and service opportunity presentations will be given about the Peace Corps, Fulbright and Teach In Alaska.
Cyndi McShane, who works in the Center for Student Development as a Career
Counselor and one of the key people involved in creating Graduate School Month, is hopeful that students will learn more about themselves and their next steps.
“The great thing about a liberal arts degree is that it prepares you for a variety of outcomes,” said McShane.
Ashley Hinkley, a UMF senior majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education, is one of hundreds of students who will need to be looking at what to do post-UMF. Her current goals are “[to find] a job teaching somewhere in the state of Maine, possibly getting my masters, and moving out of my mom’s house.”
Students have real concerns about what will happen after their undergrad journey at UMF. “The (education) field is so tight that it is going to be difficult, and I might get discouraged,” said Hinkley.
As an Education major, Hinkley wishes that the events could be more helpful for future educators. “They already provide job fairs and internship opportunities, so it would be nice for UMF to bring in teachers to come in and chat,” said Hinkley. “I would want to know what the first year of teaching is like, and the best ways I can go about getting a job.”
Career Services believes that the Graduate School and Other Post-College Opportunities Month will be helpful for many UMF students.
“It is [our] goal for students to leave our events with a desire to explore their options,” said McShane.
McShane also recommends setting up a one-on-one meeting with a career counselor to help with post-graduate plans.
“We want them to know they can be supported through this process,” says McShane.
For a full list of events, you can find posters and bulletin boards on campus, or contact a Career Services employee.
To reach out, or find out more information in general, visit their webpage at http://www2.umf.maine.edu/careers/.