Student Teaching Symposium #CountOnLearning

The final semester of college for most education majors is one of the most anticipated as they finally take on the role as a student teacher. Students are nervous, excited, anxious, and optimistic as they go into their student teaching position. Most students do not know what to expect during student teaching or how to prepare. Chelsey Oliver, UMF Class of 2017, felt the same way, as she would go to the symposium presentations every year looking for one about the student teaching experience. Year after year her searches came up short, so when it was her time to serve as a student teacher she decided to present at symposium about her experience.

Chelsey Oliver just graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in the spring of 2017. During her final semester as a secondary education mathematics major, Chelsey completed her student teaching at Cony High School and Messalonskee Middle School. While education majors share their student teaching experience through portfolio presentations, Chelsey wanted to go beyond the units, lesson plans, and standards highlighted in portfolio presentations and also focus on the day-to-day experience of being a student teacher in a classroom. “A big part of my philosophy is collaborating with your colleagues, students, and teachers,” said Chelsey, “so this to me was the most exciting presentation I would give.”

Chelsey started her presentation by going over the daily schedule at both schools and comparing them. She touched upon some of the ‘out of the classroom’ components that came with student teaching, such as leaving the house in the morning when it is still dark out and getting home when it was dark out. Chelsey described some of the various programs and blocks in the school day, such as “RAM Time” at Cony High School, which was when teachers could meet one-on-one with students who may need help if they were absent, falling behind, or needed to finish a test. This was a great time for teachers to check-in with their students.

After going over the schedules, Chelsey emphasized the importance of self care and scheduling “me time.” As a teacher, you are constantly planning, grading, teaching, and working even when you are not at school. It is important to take care of yourself, and Chelsey did so by getting fresh air, meal prepping for the week ahead of time, and reflecting on her day.

Chelsey then gave a few classroom management tips, such as having a bin to leave work in for students who were absent. She also discussed making homework meaningful. She found that her students would do their homework, she would give feedback, and they would toss it in the trash. Chelsey then began assigning homework that required the students to talk about their struggles, their mistakes, a conversation they had with her that day, and to just personally reflect. This gave Chelsey a more personal look into her students’ lives as well. Chelsey then discussed technology and how it can be integrated into the classroom. Then, Chelsey touched upon her experience in UMF’s Student MEA (Maine Education Association) and how the various conferences, experiences, and collaborations that she participated in helped her develop as a professional.

 

Finally, Chelsey discussed the benefits of social media and how teachers can learn from each other. There are various Instagram pages, bloggers, and websites where teachers share their lessons, ideas, classroom management tips, and anything else you could imagine. Chelsey has also taken to social media and created a professional Twitter account (@countonlearning) and Instagram page (@countonlearning207) to share her teaching experience.

Chelsey’s student teaching experience was very meaningful to her, especially since she was able to personally share it at her symposium presentation. As the first student to present about their student teaching experience at symposium, she may have started a new trend as other UMF education majors will wish to share their experience as well. Congratulations to Chelsey and the rest of the UMF Class of 2017, and good luck as your begin your teaching career!

Money Saving Options for Education Majors

College is expensive for everyone. The fees, tuition, room and board, and everything else that is factored in can add up to a hefty dollar amount. Did you know that there are loan forgiveness programs and UMF scholarships designed for education majors? Read below to learn about some of these options.

 

Loan Forgiveness: The Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue in the teaching profession. Under this program, if you teach full-time for five complete and consecutive academic years in certain elementary and secondary schools and educational service agencies that serve low-income families, and meet other qualifications, you may be eligible for forgiveness of up to a combined total of $17,500 on your Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans and your Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans. If you have PLUS loans only, you are not eligible for this type of forgiveness. Participants in this program must have a bachelor’s degree in education to be considered a qualified teacher, and ust have completed their five years of full-time teaching before applying for Loan Forgiveness. You may visit the Teacher Loan Forgiveness website to learn more information about eligibility requirements, loan qualifications, or to fill out an application.

 

 

 

UMF Scholarships: UMF offers over one hundred academic scholarships for students, and many of them are dedicated to students in the education field. Many scholarships have very few requirements to be eligible, and they are designed to help all students that are deserving. Below is list of just some of the scholarships offered to education majors at UMF. For a complete list of UMF scholarships and recipient requirements, visit the UMF Scholarships website.

Scholarships for Education Majors (this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Allen, Grace Stone Award
  • Ambrose, Dr. Edward S. and Barbara Dickey Scholarship
  • Arsenault, Katie J. Memorial Scholarship
  • Brooks, Leonard Knowles ‘58 Scholarship
  • Clawson, Gene and Sue Scholarship
  • Cobban, Margaret R. Scholarship Fund
  • Cramer, Rowena Titcomb Scholarship Fund
  • Currie, Edmund D. Scholarship Fund
  • D’aiutolo, Sadie Redding
  • D.A.R. Scholarship
  • Genthner, Grace Berry Scholarship
  • Irwin, Charlotte M. Brett
  • Johnson, Alice Miller (Class of 1939) Scholarship
  • Kaulback, Vera Macbean (Class of 1940) Scholarship
  • Lake, Doris Francis Scholarship
  • Lockwood, Helen E. Scholarship
  • Macinnes, Beatrice Hudon Memorial Scholarship
  • McGary, Ruth Webber (Class of 1950) Scholarship
  • Mosher, Nettie Taylor Scholarships
  • Nickerson, Clement (1956) and Patricia Craig (1959) Scholarship
  • Parlin, Millard S. Sr. and Alverna, W. Scholarship
  • Richards, Leona Coy Scholarship
  • Verrill, Joan R. Scholarship

Teaching with Fulbright in Bulgaria

Caroline Murphy is a recent UMF graduate who is working with Fulbright as an English Teaching Assistant (ETA) in Bulgaria. Caroline too the time to answer some of our questions about her experience thus far.

 

What made you choose Bulgaria?

I chose Bulgaria because I was very interested in living in eastern Europe and experiencing a culture different from my own, because the Bulgarian Fulbright Program is a very active and growing organization, and because I really fell in love with the country whilst in the application process – I could really see myself living and teaching there.

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What are you hoping to gain from this experience?

From this experience I am hoping to gain a broader perspective on world affairs, to challenge myself to explore new teaching methods and a different way of life, and to develop my skills as an ESL (English as a second language) educator as that is one career I am considering after Fulbright.

 

How has teaching in another country changed your viewpoint/philosophy of teaching in general?

Being an ETA in Bulgaria has reinforced why I want to be a teacher and strengthened many aspects of my teaching philosophy – being as creative as possible in all aspects of classroom life, never giving up on students, always reflecting on my own teaching and trying to be better.

 

What challenges have you faced teaching in another country and how have you faced them?

Teaching in another country has been challenging for sure. The language barrier is significant – my students have varying levels of English proficiency and my Bulgarian is certainly a work in progress, so communication can be difficult. Discipline expectations are very different in Bulgaria than in the United States and this has really challenged my classroom management skills. I’ve faced these challenges by always trying to have a positive attitude and by thinking for creatively when problem solving. It’s helpful to always keep in mind what a fantastic opportunity Fulbright is and seeing every challenge as a chance to learn something new and become a stronger teacher.

 

What can you tell us about Fulbright?  What made you decide to pursue a Fulbright teaching opportunity?  How does a student apply?

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the US Department of State and funds exchange opportunities in the form of English Teaching Assistantships and various research grants. I chose to apply for a Fulbright grant because I had a strong desire to teach English overseas and Fulbright provides a unique opportunity to completely immerse oneself in a different culture while teaching. To apply for a Fulbright grant, a student should first contact the Fulbright Campus Advisor at their school (at UMF ours is Dr. Anne Marie Wolf). They will then complete an application, have an on-campus interview, and submit their transcript. The Application deadline each year is in October, and final decisions are made the following spring.

 

How does teaching with Fulbright differ from your student teaching experience?

Fulbright is completely different from student teaching. The application process is very rigorous and receiving a Fulbright grant requires previous experience working with English Language Learners and/or prior experience living in a different culture. I have a mentor teacher, but her role is more about helping me adjust to Bulgaria and the school climate and less about assisting me with instruction. Bear in mind that this is different depending on the ETA – while I have a teaching degree and experience to back it up, many of my Fulbright colleagues come from different fields and are first time teachers, meaning they will receive more teaching assistance. But in general Fulbright is more responsibility than student teaching and is really much harder!

 

What kind of training does Fulbright provide for teachers?

Each country provides different training for English Teaching Assistants, but all provide some sort of orientation before beginning your teaching placements. I had a ten day orientation in Bulgaria’s capital city and we received some background training on ESL teaching strategies and classroom management.

 

Thank you Caroline for taking the time to tell us about your experience! For more information about Fulbright teaching opportunities visit their website or contact the UMF Fulbright Campus Advisor at anne.marie.wolf@maine.edu.

A Semester Abroad: Special Education in Ireland

Lindsay Gorman is a junior at the University of Maine at Farmington studying Special Education and International and Global Studies. Lindsay is spending her Fall 2016 semester at University College Cork in Cork, Ireland. Lindsay was able to answer some questions about her experience in Ireland, how it has differed so far from her experience at UMF, and what else she is looking forward to this semester.

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How has your experience at UCC differed from your experience at UMF?
-The class structure is much different than I’m used to. At UMF, the professors really encourage group discussion and collaboration. At UCC, and most European Universities, all of the classes are strictly lectures, even the education class I’m taking. The classes are much larger too, all of them have at least 100 people in it! Also, the work load is much different. For most classes, you are expected to show up to class and take notes to prepare for your final exam at the end of the semester, and that’s it. Your exam really determines your final grade.

What made you choose Ireland?

-I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland! With my last name being Gorman and my family being traced back to being from there, it’s been on my Bucket List for a while. I already knew a lot about Senator George Mitchell since I’m a Mitchell Scholar from my high school, and when I learned about the George Mitchell Peace Scholarship, I started to look more into the Senator’s work in Northern Ireland. I was really inspired with what he was able to do to create peace during the conflicts in Northern Ireland, and I wanted to learn more. And what better place to do it than Ireland itself!

What are you hoping to gain from this experience?

-With my major in Special Education and my minor in International and Global Studies, I’m really interested in learning about how other countries look at people with disabilities, such as their laws to protect them, how society perceives them, etc. I was able to learn a little bit about Tanzania’s perception of disability when I went there this past June on a travel course, but I didn’t get as much research done as I would have liked. I’m hoping that since I’m here for a whole semester, I’ll be able to really get an idea of what life is like for someone with a disability in Ireland, particularly what their education is like. I think that being culturally aware will make me a better teacher!

What differences have you found in the way special education is perceived in Ireland versus in the U.S.? Similarities?

-With the United States and Ireland both being developed nations, I’ve found a lot of similarities so far. Both seem to have had a difficult history of their treatment of people with disabilities, but both have seemed to make great progress since then. I actually learned that the reason American Sign Language and Irish Sign Language are so similar is because when Sign started to become really popular for thlindsay-1e Deaf, both Americans and Irish went to the same country to learn it, which was France. I found that really neat! That being said, there are a few differences I’ve also found. First, there seems to be a lot more non profit organizations supporting people with disabilities in Ireland. For example, one of my first days going into the city, there were some people asking for donations for Ataxia Ireland. Also, in many government run buildings, there are statues of dogs with coin slots in them, and the money goes towards Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. I’m sure there are also organizations that support people with disabilities in the States, but it just seems to be more apparent over here. Lastly, in the field of Special Education, we use person first language, meaning we put the person before their disability when speaking about them, such as “a person with a disability” rather than “a disabled person.” That doesn’t really seem to be the case in Ireland.

What have you learned so far that has been surprising to you?

-When my professor first used the term “disabled,” it definitely surprised me, since all of the Special Education professors at UMF use person first language. Also, I was looking for local schools I might be able to volunteer at by looking at their websites. I was specifically looking to see if there was any information about their Special Education department, and was surprised to see that very few of the websites had information about it. That is something I am definitely going to look into more while I’m over here.

What has been your favorite experience so far?

-This is a very touristy answer, but a few weekends ago I went on a trip to the Ring of Kerry, and I got to see a double rainbow. It’s definitely my favorite memory so far!

Thank you Lindsay for taking the time to answer these questions and tell us about your experience. For more information about Lindsay’s experience visit her blog, and check back with us in the next few weeks for more updates.

Student Spotlight: Secondary Social Studies Major Bradford Lopes

Bald Mountain - MeWe recently had an opportunity to talk with Secondary Social Studies Major, Bradford Lopes, about his experience as a transfer student at UMF.  Thank you, Bradford, for taking the time to share your experiences, reflections and perspectives!

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?   So my name is Bradford Lopes, and I transferred to UMF prior to the spring semester of 2014. I came here as a Secondary Education major with a concentration Continue reading

Insights from Senior Katie Joseph about Plimoth Plantation Summer Internship

katie josephGuest Author:  Katie Joseph, UMF Senior, Secondary Social Studies Major

This summer I am working in the Education Department at Plimoth Plantation. I get the opportunity to wear many hats throughout my work here. My days are mostly occupied IMG_1056
by the camp that is run by the museum. Working at the camp is particularly exciting because I have plenty of opportunities to geek out with the Continue reading

Student Spotlight: Secondary Math Major Chris Coleman

UMF’s Ed360 team recently caught up with Senior Chris Coleman, who is double majoring in Secondary Education  and mathematics, to talk with him about his experience as a Transfer Student at UMF.  Chris is well known around campus for his role as a Learning Assistant in the Learning Commons where he not only provides supplemental instruction and support for peers, but has also spear-headed a new initiative to provide Peer-Guided Praxis II Prep Sessions.   (In short, he ROCKS!)

Chris is a Bangor Chris Colemannative and began his college career at a well-known out-of-state Technical Institute with the plan of pursuing a career in engineering.  After experiencing a year of Continue reading

Secondary English major Elizabeth Ferry Selected for Prestigious NCAA Program

Our own Secondary English major Elizabeth Ferry recently returned from participating in the elite NCAA &  Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) “So You Want to be a Coach” program. She was one of 70 players across the country,

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Secondary Education Major Emily Rumble Selected to Give Student Address at Graduation

Emily RumbleCongratulations to Secondary Education major Emily Rumble who was selected to give the student address at graduation, alongside two-time Pulitzer prize winner Alan Shaw Taylor.


“A standout student, Rumble is a George Mitchell Scholar and Honors Student graduating Cum Laude with a major in secondary education. During her time at UMF, she has been Continue reading

Congratulations to UMF’s THREE 2016 Fulbright Scholars!

Caroline will be teaching in Bulgaria!Congratulations to Class of ’15 Secondary Education major Caroline Murphy,  Class of ’14 English/Creative Writing major Kyle Manning and Class of ’16 History major Travis Bent who were selected to the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, a highly competitive and prestigious grant program.

Caroline will be teaching English as a Second Continue reading