Members of Ball State's English Education Club attending the 2017 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) in St. Louis, Missouri. After not being able to attend the most recent NCTE in Texas, the club created its own conference which will take place Saturday in the David Letterman Communication and Media Building. Devon Lejman, Photo Provided
Ball State education students create future educator conference
After Ball State’s English Education Club was unable to attend a national education conference, a few students decided to simply create one for themselves right in Muncie.
“So the Story Goes” is a free, student-organized conference for future educators 9 a.m. - 2:45 p.m., Saturday, in the David Letterman Communication and Media Building. No registration is required.
Erin Goff, vice president of the club, said the club has usually gone to the annual National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), with the past two years being in Atlanta, Georgia and St. Louis, Missouri.
However, this year’s NCTE conference was in Texas, making it difficult for members of the club to attend because of high travel costs.
“Even in past years, it’s not the most accessible opportunity for professional development just for the general group,” said Devon Lejman, the club’s social media manager.
Pamela Hartman, associate professor of English and adviser to the club, said the idea of a day-long, student-run education conference was brought up by Goff at a meeting.
“My reaction was, ‘Are you sure?’” Hartman said.
Hartman said when she realized the club was going through with the conference, she provided things to consider for the group, as she had planned conferences before.
The conference has several events during the day, including an education major roundtable, breakout sessions with teachers and alumni and a student teacher panel.
Goff said the roundtable will have different education major students, each expressing their experiences from a diverse range of perspectives, and the other discussions will feature professors.
The student teacher panel will have current student teachers talking about their experiences. Goff said she wants these conversations to make education majors realize they are not alone.
“We’re doing this together, you have a support system, before, during and after teaching. We’re all just here to help students learn,” Goff said.
Lejman said in education, there aren’t as many internships or opportunities leading up to student teaching.
“We wanted to make something that gave some of the same opportunities to have those conversations and have that kind of professional development element without having to leave the campus,” Lejman said.
Sarah Bredar, president of the club, said conferences like this help with professional development and for students to understand the constantly changing education field.
“One of the most integral aspects of becoming an educator is making sure you’re keeping up to date to best practices, establishing a network of educators to be able to bounce ideas off of,” Bredar said.
Bredar said the team that planned the conference was “evolving,” with different students coming in and out, but that there was a constant committee of seven to eight students who were dedicated to the project, with help from faculty and alumni.
Hartman said undergraduates who attend conferences will see a positive affect on their professional careers.
“They start to see themselves not just as students but as teachers and as professional educators,” Hartman said. “They see the bigger picture. They’re not just focused on their teacher classroom or what they’re learning in a class, they actually see that there’s this bigger conversation that’s more complex.”