Our rising future: MLFTC sponsors Educators Rising 2017 National Conference

By

Meghan Krein

Some may say 13 is too young for someone to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Laura Grosso, senior student recruitment coordinator for Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, sort of agrees. “To know for their whole lives, forever and ever? Probably, but thankfully that isn’t a decision that has to be made when they are this young. By encouraging them to dive deep into what they’re passionate about today is the primary foundation for a lifetime of adventure and learning.”

And what Grosso means by encouraging them to dive deep is Educators Rising, a national organization that provides passionate young people (as young as 13 years old) with hands-on teaching experience, along with the skills they need to become successful educators.

This year, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is the premier sponsor of the 2017 Educators Rising National Conference, which is a very important event for future education students. “It’s a great way for them to navigate multiple resources and opportunities,” says Karina Cuamea, assistant director of undergraduate recruitment for the college.

Moesha Crawford, student outreach ambassador at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, attended Educators Rising in both her junior and senior years, from 2013 ­– 2015. She says the program helped her understand that the teaching profession is more than just being an educator, “It’s about providing children with an education that prepares them for their future.”

And that future is diverse. “Our students are coming from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, different socioeconomic statuses and ages. Many of the nontraditional students coming from the community colleges have been inspired to move into an educational profession by volunteering at their own children’s school. They see the rewards in their children and want to continue to be a part of that environment,” Grosso explains.

Not only are prospective students diverse, they’re also focused and determined to make a positive impression on their community, Cuamea and Grosso say. “Students entering the profession feel a social responsibility to their communities. They want to contribute and innovate,” Cuamea explains.

Crawford shares an anecdote her mom once told her, “She told me education is the one thing no one can take away from you. They can take your car, house and material things, but not the knowledge you have. This made me want to give back and give children something no one can take from them.”

Nearly all of the students have a story such as this — about the challenges they faced or events that inspired them to become teachers. Someone or something made an impact on their educational journey and, “They want to be able to provide the same type of impact to others. They want to be trailblazers and role models,” Cuamea says.

Crawford had just that: a role model teacher. “I was once that ‘bad’ child who my teacher didn’t trust, believe or care about. But when I went on to the next grade, I got a teacher who inspired and cared about me. It changed my whole perspective on teaching and education. I knew then that students need more teachers who care and inspire, and felt I was a perfect fit.”

Grosso continues to be thoroughly impressed by how motivated future educators are, “I have yet to meet a student who is not interested in taking a bigger role in the school. This is what they have been working toward for so many years. For some of them, they have been waiting since childhood to be at the front of the classroom, so this is a big deal. And, many of them are already looking to be a principal or administrator in the future.”

Wanting to emphasize students are not uninformed, Grosso adds, “They’re realistic about the challenges surrounding an educational profession, but that information is just a small part of a big picture for them. They’re not looking to be consoled for choosing to be educators. In fact, I believe those exact challenges are what fuel them. Most of these students are already spending time in a school as volunteers or aides and instead of being nervous about increasing their responsibility, they welcome it.”

 

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