World Language Education: Preparing Language Educators for a Diverse World

The University of Maine at Farmington is excited to announce that it has created a new Bachelor of Science in World Language Education program to prepare educators for a career teaching Spanish or French in schools. There is an increasing shortage in the state of Maine and across the country of qualified World Language educators in the K-12 classrooms. This new major is designed to address the need for fully-certified World Language educators in the state of Maine and beyond.

A Maine Department of Education World Language specialist reports that all Maine high schools are now required to offer foreign language classes as a proficiency-based graduation requirement, and many Maine middle schools are expanding their language programs as well. Schools need language educators for a variety of reasons, including preparing students for a continuously evolving diverse world, collaborating with families from diverse backgrounds, and meeting college admission requirements.

This major will be offered beginning in the Fall of 2018. This program will provide an opportunity for students at UMF to become certified to teach in the classroom, with a deeper understanding of language and culture. UMF also teaches courses in Chinese and Japanese languages. For more information about the World Language Education major, visit the UMF media release or the  UMF website.

Maria Minor Newcomb and the MAHPERD Conference

Maria Minor Newcomb recently earner her Master’s of Education from the University of Maine at Farmington, and she is taking on a leadership and advocacy role as the President elect of the Maine Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD)! The MAHPERD organization consists of 800+ educators/members and is responsible for cutting edge professional development.

From November 5th-7th, MAHPERD will be hosting their 72nd annual conference at the Samoset Resort in Rockport, ME. Featuring two keynote speakers, and over 70 state and national speakers, this conference is sure to have something that will interest all educators and health/physical education professionals.

The two keynote speakers featured in this year’s conference are Joshua Medcalf and Judy LoBianco. Joshua Medcalf is the president and founder of Train to be CLUTCH. Joshua created the first mental training apps in the world of basketball, soccer, and golf. He is one of two people ever invited to work with the UNC Women’s soccer team, who have won 22 national championships! Joshua has published four books, and every conference participant will receive a free copy of his book Chop Wood, Carry Water: How to Fall in Love with the Process of Becoming Great. Joshua will be speaking during the General Session on Monday from 11:20-12:30 in the Knox County Ballroom.

Judy LoBianco is the president elect for SHAPE America. Judy will be addressing the need for advocacy in professionals at local levels to “take back our profession, one gymnasium and classroom at a time.” Judy will be presenting during the All Conference Session on Monday from 1:15-2:10 in the State of Maine Hall.

 

This is sure to be a great conference, and it is a wonderful opportunity to build on professional development and to collaborate with other colleagues. Information about the conference is posted below, but for a full schedule and itinerary, click here. For more information about MHPERD, visit their website.

  

Hannah and Hannah in France: An Update

As some of you may remember from our post a couple of months back, there are two UMF alumna, Hannah Some and Hannah Carlson, who are teaching English at the university level in Le Mans, France! After having been there for a couple of months, Hannah and Hannah have begun to adjust and have shared some information about their experiences thus far with us.

Both women report not experiencing much of a culture shock when moving to France. Hannah Somes describes it as “such a Westernized country that it really does not feel very different to me in my daily life than the U.S.” Hannah Carlson had already studied abroad in Le Mans during her undergraduate career at UMF, so she was already somewhat familiar with life in Le Mans and in France. There were some tasks that they had to complete when they first arrived, such as setting up a bank account, which was difficult with the language barriers.

The classes that Hannah and Hannah are leading are discussion based, designed to help students improve on their English language skills. The classes are very open and broad, allowing the instructor to tailor the lessons towards student interests. “My courses are very speaking intensive; the students are really engaging in holding conversation and using their oral language” said Hannah Somes. Hannah S. indicates that her classes are large (55 to 65 students) making it difficult to have each student speak. She says, “…in these classes I have students talk in a group about a topic and the group presents on a topic of their choosing.” In Hannah S.’s smaller classes she has students do individual presentations and whole-group discussions.

Hannah and Hannah both have very long, busy schedules throughout the day. Hannah Somes teaches for a couple of hours in the morning and afternoon, taking a lunch break at home in between classes as meals are very important in France. Sometimes, she teaches evening courses as well. Hannah Carlson also has a busy schedule, as she is teaching 17 groups of French students this semester. “I have between 10 to 20 students in each class, so there are a lot of students to remember,” Hannah Carlson explains. “I meet with each group once a week. The course title is expression orale, which means it’s a speaking class. The students vary in level, from L1-L3. French universities only have three years of undergraduate study. So far, I have covered topics such as censorship in the United States and pop culture.”

There are some noticeable differences between French and American universities. Hannah Carlson discussed differences in the structure of classes. For example, if a student at a French university changes major, they have to start all over again and the previous classes completed/credits earned do not count towards the new major. They also have longer days at French universities, students are in class from 8 or 9 AM to 5 or 6 PM. “French students are also less willing to raise their hand in class and share answers or their opinion,” said Hannah C. “Classes aren’t set up for class discussion and are instead often lectures where students take notes and occasionally share answers. In my classes, it is sometimes difficult to get students to share answers and their opinion.” This has been a challenge for Hannah, but she has been working around it. “Some of the students have a lower English proficiency and have trouble understanding me. There is also a stigma towards French students sharing the wrong answer here. I’ve been trying to make my students feel comfortable in the class, which would help them be more willing to talk.” Hannah says that her classes at UMF helped to prepare her for her role as a lectrice by having many opportunities to be in front of a classroom.

While they have been busy teaching, they have also been able to find some time to enjoy all that France and Le Mans has to offer! Hannah Somes’ favorite memory so far was a British themed festival that occurred in September throughout the city featuring a Beatles cover band!

Moving across the world to teach in a new place can be overwhelming, but it is definitely rewarding. When asked what advice she had for those interested in moving abroad, Hannah Somes said “French institutions give less direct, step-by-step directions than in the U.S., so it is necessary to be self-directed and autonomous.” Hannah Carlson discusses the challenge that the language barrier presents when interacting in the community. “One of the biggest difficulties of living in France is the language barrier,” she said. “My language proficiency is slowly improving, but it can be hard at times. When I first arrived, I had to set up a bank account by myself with someone who didn’t speak English.” Language barriers can be challenging, and it is important to be aware of these changes and differences before making such a move, but they can be planned for.

All of us here at UMF are happy to hear that Hannah and Hannah have adjusted and are enjoying their new lives in France. Stay up to date with the ED360 blog to receive more updates about their positions and to learn more about the various opportunities that UMF provides both pre- and post-graduation.

Live and Work in Maine

Maine is facing a demographic dilemma- the population is growing older, and workers are retiring at rates higher than new employees are entering the field. Maine needs to develop a strong workforce to help ensure that employers can continue to thrive. Live and Work in Maine is an initiative to recruit hard working individuals from across the country and the world to live in the beautiful state of Maine.

With Live and Work in Maine, you can search for places to live or places to work, and the other will follow. If you care more about living in the mountains than anything else, they can help you find the perfect location and then a job to follow. If you are willing to live on the beach, in the woods, or in the city- wherever it takes to get you your dream job- then Live and Work in Maine can help you find that job and then a place to live from there. “Our mission is to show the world that in Maine, you can have it all when it comes to quality of life AND quality of career.”

So, how do you go about finding the perfect place to live? You can search for a location based on three different categories:

Region– the various regions of Maine that are listed include: Aroostook County, Downeast & Acadia, Maine Lakes & Mountains, Kennebec Valley, Maine Highlands, Midcoast, Greater Portland & Casco Bay, and Maine Beaches

Lifestyle– if there are certain hobbies, sceneries, structures, or population density that you prefer, you can filter for them! Various lifestyle choices listed include (but are not limited to): lakes & ponds, bricks and cobblestone, “trees, trees, & more trees”, camping, fishing, golf, hunting, ski/snow sports, historic, live music, shopping, theatre/arts, always active, peace & quiet, etc. It is easy to find something for everyone!

Career– You can also search for regions/areas that have available jobs that meet specific filters, such as job industry, region, employer size, internships, seasonal jobs, and entry level jobs.

 

 

How do you go about finding your dream job in Maine? Jobs and internships can also be searched for and explored in a couple of ways:

Job Board–  on the Job Board page you can search for jobs by keyword, job title or specific location. Jobs can be filtered by type, geographic region, and industry. The Job Board also lists job postings with job title, employer name and location, description of job, and links to apply, view the employer profile, and save the job posting. See a job that your friend would be perfect for? There is also an option to share the job info with a friend! What better way to find your dream job and move to Vacationland than to do it with a friend?

Explore Employers– The Explore Employers page allows for you to search for employers based on employer name, career, and lifestyle. Each employer profile includes brief description, location information, and contact info to get in touch with the employer.

 

Live and Work in Maine strives to help individuals relocate to an area they will love, and work in a position that will allow them to thrive. The Live and Work in Maine Instagram page (@liveworkmaine) includes an abundance of pictures exhibiting the various lifestyles and hobbies that can be lived in Maine.

Foodies, hikers, adventurers, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and everyone else is sure to find somewhere and something they love in Maine. Find what you love, and find it in Maine.

  

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!

Recent Grads off to Paris!

Graduating from college is a very exciting time, but can also be stressful for many as they try to find a great job within their chosen field. However, two recent UMF graduates have found themselves with teaching positions at France universities! Hannah Somes and Hannah Carlson will be moving to France later this month to begin this new journey.

Both Hannah Somes and Hannah Carlson will be leading conversation-oriented English courses at the university level in order to help students become more fluent in English. They both learned about this opportunity through the French professors at UMF.

Hannah Somes will be living in Angers and will be residing in a dorm room in the campus residences. When asked what she is most looking forward to, Hannah said that she is hoping to gain an increased sense of confidence in herself as well as self-sufficiency. Hannah is also looking forward to being on the “other side” of the university experience as a faculty member this time. When asked what she is nervous about, she said “I am most nervous about leading my own class of university students who have a different first language from my own,” which is something that anyone would be nervous about! This is also the furthest from her family and friends she will have ever been, so that will be an adjustment as well.

Hannah Carlson will be living in an apartment in Les Mans, a city that is just about an hour train ride from Paris! Hannah is looking forward to becoming more proficient in French and to teaching English to the students in Les Mans. Hannah studied abroad for the spring 2016 semester in Les Mans (pictured right), so she is already familiar with the area. Hannah said she is also looking forward to traveling and seeing more of France and Europe.

What an amazing opportunity for these UMF alumna! We are very excited for the both of them and cannot wait to hear more about their adventures. Be sure to stay up to date with the ED360 blog to learn about more opportunities like this, as well as to hear from the Hannah’s again and learn about how their experience is going! From all of us at the University of Maine at Farmington, good luck and safe travels to the Hannah’s!

Peru Travel Course: Something for Everyone

The University of Maine at Farmington is proud to offer many various travel courses to students throughout the year. Travel courses are offered in January during winter break and in May/June once school is out. Each course is about two to three weeks and can be taken for 2 or 4 credits.

Recent travel courses have gone to the Virgin Islands, Cypress, Ireland, Japan and have studied topics such as business, anthropology, economy, and more! UMF travel courses are designed for all students, not just those in the field of study of the course! Brittany Jerome, an upcoming senior at UMF, is an early childhood special education major and just participated in the anthropology course to Peru. Ed360 caught up with Brittany after the trip to learn more about the experience she shared with peers.

When asked why she chose Peru, Brittany had one simple answer- why not?! “I love to travel, and Peru is such an interesting country filled with so much culture. I was taking an introduction course to anthropology with Nicole Kellett in the fall of 2016 and she told our class about the trip. I went to the first informational meeting and left knowing I had to go. Two and a half weeks in another country, getting credits for it, and learning from two professors who have spent a significant part of their lives in Peru and who have an enormous amount of love for the country and the people- how could I say no? I would never get an opportunity like this again, so I had to take advantage of it.”

Dr. Nicole Kellett and Dr. Lucas Kellett are both anthropology professors at UMF. They both lived in Peru during their graduate studies and have been back to visit many times on their own, with their children, and multiple times as leaders of the UMF travel course. The knowledge they both share about the culture, environment, economy, and the history of Peru makes them perfect leaders for such a trip.

The Peru 2017 travel course accommodated both of the Kelletts and fifteen students. Those students come from various majors and fields of study, such as anthropology, education, international global studies, psychology, community health, and more! “Anyone is able to make a connection to such a course and use the experience to grow both personally and professionally,” said Brittany.

The students that traveled to Peru were busy, that is for sure! Over a course of eighteen days they stayed in six locations, hiked two mountains, visited many archeological sights, and learned more than they ever would in a classroom. Brittany gave the following summary of their time abroad:

“We arrived in Lima, the capital of Peru, late on a Tuesday night. Over the next few days we ventured out into Lima. We got to visit an archeological sights, including Pachacamac [pictured right], which was on of my favorites! We also got to visit a cathedral and a few museums. A couple of days later we departed from Lima and flew into the Andes into a community called Andahuaylas.

In Andahuaylas, we stayed in this cute camp-like place called Munay Wasi. We spent our first full day visiting the archeological sight of Sondor and hiking Achanchi, a peak that was part of the Andes Mountain Range! We had lunch on a lake and got to meet some of the Kelletts’ family friends. The next day we went to Sacclaya, a beautiful community that is tucked away in the mountains. Luke and Nicole lived in Sacclaya for a year at one point, so they knew some of the locals. We got to tour the schools, play with the children, eat a traditional Peruvian dish of cuy (fried guinea pig- don’t knock until you try it!) and play soccer with some of the women in the community. It was such a fun day! The next day, Sunday, we got to walk around the regional market in Andahuaylas, which is the second largest market in Peru. People were selling food and fresh juice, jewelry, textiles, clothes, toys, and even some animals. It was really cool to see how the economy in such a rural community works on such an important and busy day to the locals.

The next day we took a long bus ride to Cuzco, where we got to explore some interesting archeological sights surrounding the city. We also took a tour of the Sacred Valley, including sights such as the the Pisac market and ruins and Ollantaytambo. We then took the train to Aguas Calientes, where we spent the night before visiting Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was incredible. You see pictures of it online and in books, but nothing is as breathtaking as seeing it in person. We walked around the sight and then hiked Hyuana Picchu, the big peak that sits right behind Machu Picchu. On our way back to Cuzco we were able to visit some salt mines and Inca terraces. The next day, we traveled to the Amazon Rainforest.

The rainforest was amazing. We first got to visit a community and a school, where the children put on a dance performance for us and played various games with all of us. Then, we rode a motor boat up an Amazon tributary called the Mother of God, where we were able to jump off of a rock into the tributary and ride the current down to the beach. We then ventured into the heart of the jungle where we spent two nights. The guides that we had were so kind and knowledgable- they could just look at a plant or a butterfly or a bird and know the exact species and how they live and survive. One guide took some of us on a night walk where we crept through the dark in search of anything interesting (we mostly just saw a ton of spiders). They also taught us about the resources in the jungle, such as medicinal plants and various foods. One of our guides even used his personal experience to tell us how to survive if we are to ever get lost in the jungle. I was amazed by the rainforest.

We had one final day in Cuzco before departing, where some of us shopped, some went to a few museums, and others just enjoyed exploring the city to it’s fullest. While in Peru we spent time in rural highlands, the lush rainforest, and bustling cities. There was something for everyone to enjoy.”

Sounds like there was a lot to do, and everyone, despite their field of study, was able to make a connection somehow. “While the course was titled ‘Andean Exploration: Past and Present’ and we focused mostly on the Incas and the development of Peru over the years,” said Brittany, “when you spend as much time in another country as we did you learn and take in so much more information that what is academically provided. As an education major, it is important to be culturally competent and understand that other cultures may do things that you do not understand, but you need to respect them. Really, being culturally competent is important in any field where you will be working with people. I think anyone can really make a professional connection when traveling and use their experiences to build on their professional development.”

When asked about her favorite part of the trip, Brittany warmly said, “Out of all of the amazing things we saw and did, my favorite aspect of the trip is the family we became by the end of it. Most of us did not even know half of the people on the trip when we started, but even by the third day we had all made connections, learned from and supported each other, and made some awesome friendships. Other than that, I really enjoyed visiting Sacclaya and playing with the children there. Even though there were some language barriers, I was able to interact with the children and have fun!”

Museums, archeological sights, hiking, cities, this trip offers something for everyone! You do not need to be a world traveler, a trained mountain hiker, or an anthropology student to enjoy a trip like this, you just need to be open minded and have the desire to learn and explore! “If you have the opportunity to go on a travel course, do it!” said Brittany. “You will not regret it. You’ll be learning from experts and sharing this experience with other UMF students who have similar interests. I wish I had known about these courses sooner, I would do one every year if possible!” For more information about the travel courses offered here at UMF and other UMaine System schools, visit the Travel Course and International Exchange Programs page.

Teaching Abroad: From Maine to South Korea

The University of Maine at Farmington currently has four teacher candidates conducting their student teaching at the Daegu International School in Daegu, South Korea. The Daegu International School (DIS) has a partnership with UMF that allows students to conduct their student teaching internationally while meeting all of the requirements to receive their degree. Tori Lands and Kayla Girardin were able to share their experience and discuss various challenges, opportunities, and stores from their experience.

Student teaching abroad provides students with the opportunity to use and build on their skills and professional development while traveling and immersing in a new culture. Tori  always had an interest in studying abroad but was not sure if it would work out for her in an education major, until she learned about student teaching abroad. “I believe that one of the most important responsibilities educators have is to help guide students to becoming global citizens,” says Tori, while discussing some of the reasoning behind her decision to go abroad. “I feel as if my time at UMF both as a secondary education/ social studies major and an International Global Studies minor have greatly influenced my ability to be a compassionate and conscientious member of society. I hope to be able to foster these qualities in my future students and feel as if going abroad is allowing me to build on the foundation UMF gave me as well as develop my own understanding of what it means to be apart of the global community.”

While teaching abroad, students are exposed to a different school system and classroom structure that they may not be used to. It can be challenging going into a new classroom with expectations and situations that you may not have experiences with. Kayla found this to be a challenge at first. “Many of my students are ESL (English as a Second Language), which challenges me to differentiate instructional strategies,” she said. “There is no Special Education here, so there may be students with learning differences who do not receive services because there are none to offer.  It is interesting for me to see the difference between the way disability is perceived here compared to the United States since I have a minor in Special Education.” Kayla has since adjusted to these challenges and has been able to connect to her students, which she believes is the most important aspect of teaching.

Tori has found the cultural differences between Maine and the students she teaches at DIS to be most interesting. Maine is not as diverse as DIS, as Tori has students in her classroom from Korea, America, China, the Philippines, Japan, Australia- just to name a few. The diversity in her classroom has allowed her to learn from her students as well. “Instead of just reading about different cultures and countries these students can share personal stories and experiences,” Tori said. “It has been challenging to make sure I am sharing content in a way that makes sense to all the different learners in my classroom and making U.S. history relevant to students who may have only been to the states once or twice is interesting.” Both Tori and Kayla believe the cultural experience that students gain when teaching abroad has been much richer than teaching at home in the states.

Are you interested in students teaching or studying abroad, but don’t know where to start?

There are many resources on campus to help, including your academic advisor, the Financial Aid department, the Study Abroad office, and more! “The logistics of planning for the trip can get hectic and overwhelming, so don’t be afraid to ask questions,” advises Kayla. “Reach out to people who have done it before and see what they have to say about it.  Research the country you’re going to and be aware of the culture, history, and language.  See if there are any places nearby you would like to travel to during any breaks and work those costs into your budget.  If you’re going to be abroad, make the most of it! Your student teaching responsibilities come first, but don’t forget to truly experience the country you’re in.  Get involved as much as you can with the school as well because it will help you make more connections with teachers and students.”

It can be scary and overwhelming to go abroad, but students find it to be very worth it. “I think it is easy to stay in places and environments that are comfortable and when thinking about the joys and obstacles that come with student teaching it may seem overwhelming to go abroad, but I have already seen growth in both myself and my teaching because of this experience,” says Tori. “I am confident that it will have lasting benefits in both my personal and professional life.”

If you are interested in studying or teaching abroad, you are encouraged to talk to your advisor and whomever else might be able to provide more information about the process. Take advantage of the opportunities that UMF offers, as these opportunities may not present themselves again.

Thank you Tori and Kayla for sharing your expereince in South Korea so far. On behalf of the UMF community, we wish you luck with the remainder of your endeavors.

 

Addiction Certification: Not Just for Rehab Majors

One of the best things about college is that you get to choose classes and topics that interest you, even if they are not part of your declared major! Did you know that UMF offers specialized certification programs that allow students to take a set of classes designed to target a specific field, interest, or topic? The certification programs are not majors, and they are not minors- they are simply a set of courses put together and designed to prepare students going into various fields by giving them knowledge and skills outside of the courses that align with their major. UMF offers Addiction Rehabilitation, Alpine Operations, and English Language Learners (ELL) certifications.

These certification programs are offered to all majors, even with no prior background. Brittany Jerome is a junior at UMF majoring in Early Childhood Special Education while also enrolled in the Addiction Rehabilitation certification program. She has been able to make strong connections between the two fields, as many of her peers have as well. “I never took a rehab class before enrolling in this certification, and I did not feel as though I was behind my classmates,” said Brittany. “These classes include students from a wide range of majors, as many of the classes contain content that is applicable to a variety of majors. The professors understand that not everyone in these classes have the same prior knowledge, so they are really good about including information that non-rehab majors might not know. I have taken classes with students majoring in rehab, education, health, psychology, ORBA, and many more!” 

When asked why she has interest in the addiction field, Brittany touched upon the rapid growth of addiction across the nation. “Addiction is spreading, very quickly. Today, almost everyone you meet has been affected by addiction in some way. While working with young children and their families I will come across families where parents, siblings, and other family members may be struggling with addiction, and it affects the whole family. The applied knowledge of addiction and how it can affect families will give me a better understanding and insight into what the family as a whole struggles with, so that I can better help the family meet their needs.”

This program includes classes about substance abuse prevention and addiction, families in rehabilitation, counseling and the helping relationship, child and family psychology, and more! Some of them are health classes, rehabilitation classes, and psychology classes. For a complete list of the courses included in the Addiction Rehabilitation certification, click here

The classes that are included in this certification have been selected and designed to give students the knowledge and competencies needed in order to take the exam to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in the state of Maine. More information about the CADC requirements is available here.

This certification program can expose students to various career paths that they had not thought of before that allow them to apply the knowledge they learn in these classes with that of the classes in their major. This was Brittany’s experience, as she was not exactly sure what she wanted to do until recently. “I always knew I wanted to work with babies and young children born with various physical, cognitive, and functional impairments- but I did not want to be a teacher,” Brittany said. “I personally have an interest in working with infants and children born with various mental health needs as well as with parents struggling with their own mental health. I can help parents understand their child’s needs and how to cope with their own struggles as they transition into parenthood. As addiction is a growing epidemic, I will most likely be working with families that struggle with addiction and co-occurring disorders, and even babies born with addiction. This certification program allows me to apply my early childhood special education knowledge with my addiction counseling knowledge in order to make me a more appealing and qualified candidate.”

Are you interested in the topic of addiction counseling, but do not think it will apply to your career goals? Think again! The courses in this certification program are applicable to anyone who wants to work with the public, especially in the human services field. Even if you do not have interest in being an addiction counselor, you still learn a lot about addiction in general, families, co-occurring disorders, the helping relationship- so much more. “Since addiction is such a growing issue, it is almost inevitable that you will end up working with someone who has been affected by addiction,” said Brittany. “Addiction does not discriminate, so I think anyone can find a way to apply it to their current field of interest.”

The certification programs offered at UMF are designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and competencies of pre-professionals in various areas and disciplines before entering the field. The additional education that students in these programs receive make them a more qualified and appealing candidate, and may be the deciding factor for employers when comparing UMF graduates with other applicants. For more information about the various certification programs offered at UMF, visit the Certificates website.

 

Partner Spotlight: Thomas Desjardins and the 21st Century Kids of Franklin County

The University of Maine at Farmington values the partnerships held with various community members and organizations. These partnerships allow UMF students to get involved in the community while building on their field experience and engaging in a hands-on learning environment.

The Franklin County Children’s Task Force provides extensive employment, practicum, volunteer, and internship opportunities for students, including their 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N After School Program. Thomas Desjardins, Program Coordinator, was able to give an insight into the program, the opportunities it provides for UMF students, and the value of this partnership.

“The Franklin County Children’s Task Force generally assists families in need in Franklin county,” Mr. Desjardins explains. “Specifically, my program is the 21st Century After School Program and the mission of this program is to provide quality after school programming with intensive academic supports at no cost to the students in both Farmington and Wilton and the Mt. Blue school district. We provide a safe space for parents to leave their kids when they are at work. We know how much child care costs, but we want to do more. It is more than just a safe space. We want to promote positive interactions and academic achievement in these children. It is all about caring about the people in the community.”

Out of the 31 staff members, 28 of them are UMF students. Kathy Kemp, a UMF Rehabilitation Services professor, is also on the Task Force Board of Directors. Partnering with the University has given the Task Force and the 21st Century Program numerous cooperative and valuable contacts within the community.

UMF students that are employed through the 21st Century Program have the opportunity to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to this program, as they are involved in lesson planning and implementing those lessons at Mallet or Academy Hill Elementary School. UMF students serve in the role of enrichment facilitator, academic tutor, homework helper, and as the site coordinator. They plan various STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities, provide academic supports, kinesthetic activities, visual and performing arts, and health prevention education.”

As a previous school principal, Mr. Desjardins enjoys coaching and supporting new teachers and helping others build on their own skills. “[UMF students] learn how to interact, manage, teach, plan- all aspects of being a school teacher. It’s not babysitting, it’s more like being paid for student teaching or practicum. They participate in monthly staff meetings and professional development, they bring in professionals from various fields, and engage in professional discussions around teaching and learning.” Mr. Desjardins values the “organic connection” that students have with him and his program. “Students look for opportunities to further their craft outside of the classroom. It’s a win win situation, they get the experience and I get to coach them. And they get a paycheck!” Mr. Desjardins said with a chuckle.

When looking for prospective candidates, positive energy and good character are the most important qualities for a potential employee to have. “My realization is that in your early 20’s as a student you have a lot of capacity to be built, but you do not have a lot of tools in the tool box,” says Mr. Desjardins. “It is incumbent upon me to expand your tool box. I run this program as if I am a principal and these employees are my teachers.”

Thomas Desjardins and the 21st Century After School Program are valuable assets to the community and the University. Mr. Desjardins cares a lot about the community, families, and his employees. His experience as a school principal gives him the skills and knowledge to work with future educators and help them build on their own skills to reach their full potential. He is a tremendous leader, educator, coordinator, and partner. The University of Maine at Farmington and the Franklin county are lucky to have him as a partner and a supporter.

The Franklin County Children’s Task Force and the 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N Program are always recruiting UMF students for practicum, student teaching, volunteer, and employment opportunities. For more information about this program and how to get involved, please contact Thomas Desjardins at tdesjardins@fcctf.org or (207) 778-6960, or visit the Franklin County Children’s Task Force website.

On behalf of the UMF community, we would like to thank Mr. Desjardins and his program for all that they do for University students and the community. “Franklin County Children’s Task Force, strengthening families for over 30 years.”