By Ashley Brooner
The ASCD student chapter at the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) is the only student chapter in Nebraska. In November, we had the opportunity to meet with the next group of teacher candidates. These students had just been accepted into the UNO’s College of Education Teacher Preparation Program just a few days earlier. So what do we tell these eager students about ASCD?
We are always evolving.
As a student officer, I feel it is my duty to not only promote ASCD but also explain why it is so useful to each of these incoming candidates now and later as they head into a school system. There are so many new policies and procedures, and it seems like education is always in the news for something negative . . . unless you’re connected with an organization like ASCD. I personally have found that my ASCD membership provides me with articles and online content I can use as resources in my classes. I am able to see how I will be able to use this information in the future. But what’s even better is that I have a place to go that is a true teaching support system. This community that I love is a way to reach out to other students who are going into the same field and are experiencing the same challenges and celebrations. The profession is constantly changing and evolving, and it’s important that we stay on top of these changes and are able to support one another throughout the process . . . and that’s how we run our student chapter.
Backed by our tenacious leader, Dr. Adcock, the other chapter officers—Kristin Utterback, Amy Husk, Amy Pokorny, Camri Dorsey, Sara Kleinsasser—and I really promote our chapter as a student-run organization. We want the teacher candidates and future leaders in education to get support now and know that it will be there for them in the future. With our constant changes in leadership due to graduating seniors, we decided to implement a few practices within the structure of our organization to better serve our future educators. We came up with ideas such as a “transfer binder,” which is the torch of the organization. It is a binder full of information that any future officer would need (contacts, school policy, etc.). We encourage officer “interns” because we want future officers to feel like they are prepared to take over. Anyone who shows interested in becoming a future officer can volunteer to help current officers and get an idea of what we do. This way, they are prepared to hit the ground running when our current officers graduate.
We also provide meetings that matter. We want students to know that ASCD UNO will do everything we can to provide them with the tools to be successful educators. This means that we make sure meetings are relevant and timely. If a group of students wants to hear tips from the administrators that will be hiring them, we provide those administrators as speakers. We also invite various other speakers from all over the country, such as current and former teachers, substitute and student teachers, and curriculum directors. This month, we will feature the head of The CADRE Project, which is UNO’s master’s degree accelerated program. The Cadre Project allows graduate students to simultaneously teach and complete an advanced degree, and it’s all paid for by the hiring school district.
The requirements of our education are ever-changing. The districts’ standards are ever-changing. Education students, like teachers, have to be flexible because we need to constantly be open to new ideas. We are constantly learning new and exciting techniques and ideas. So when future educators ask me what ASCD UNO or the teaching profession in general is like, I say, “Always evolving.”
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Ashley Brooner is an education student at the University of Nebraska Omaha pursuing a secondary education major with endorsements in social science and English, a supplementary endorsement in ESL, and a minor in psychology. Brooner is the ASCD UNO Student Chapter vice president and also substitute teaches in the Arlington Public School district with a provisional teaching certificate.