Aspiring Teachers Connect 

Aspiring Teacher Event - Spring 2024: Group of students and faculty seated at tables
Dr. DeAnn Huinker - Professor of Teaching and Learning and Director for Math & Science Education Research - shares a smile and words of inspiration with a group of current students and alumni at the School of Education's Aspiring Teachers Event.

Potential teachers got a chance to have a little fun and learn more about the profession at an April 23 event for aspiring teachers.  

The event, organized by Angel Hessel, distinguished lecturer, and Tara Serebin, director of the Elementary and Middle Education program, Nicole Claas, senior academic advisor, and Jeremy Page, assistant dean of Student Services, was designed to encourage and inform students who’d expressed an interest in the education major. They’d taken the freshman seminar, and some had taken an Introduction to Teaching course, but hadn’t yet joined the professional program.  

“Last year, we were talking about ways in which we could keep students who had expressed an interest in education and had maybe had an initial touch point in education, but there was a gap before they actually started the professional program,” said Serebin.  

 “It was a conversation about how we keep them connected to the program,” added Hessel.  

Hessel and Serebin organized the first aspiring teacher event, held last year.  It was attended by approximately 50 students and 20 staff and faculty members.  Based on that success, the organizers decided to do it again this year.    

“What we learned last year was that it was as impactful as an event for faculty as it was for students,” said Hessel.  

A survey after last year’s program showed overwhelmingly positive responses.   

“What a phenomenal way to make connections and reignite our teaching passion.”  

“I learned something from every moment”, one student wrote on the survey. “Being a pre-service teacher it was all beneficial,” wrote another. “I wish I had something like this when I was starting,” wrote a former student who was a presenter. “What a phenomenal way to make connections and reignite our teaching passion.”  

According to the survey, what impacted the aspiring students most last year, was a panel of student teachers as well as classroom teachers talking about their work. The panelists offered advice based on their experiences and discussed the challenges with honesty.   

“One thing that surprised us in a good way this year,” said Hessel, “Tara and I could not believe how many student teachers signed up for the panel. They want to give back, and that’s a good sign.”  

This year’s panelists were:  

Student teachers

  • Shelby Atwood, Secondary Social Studies  
  • Kaitlyn Anderson, Secondary Social Studies   
  • Jacob Bender, Elementary and Middle Education   
  • Pilar Garcia, World Languages/ESL   
  • Kintressa Gosz, Early Childhood  Education  
  • Angela Rattin, Secondary Social Studies  
  • Jenny Rudd, Secondary English Language Arts  
  • Osama Salhi, Special Education   

Keynote speakers, practicing teachers who are UWM graduates  

  • Ashton Cadman, 1 year  
  • CJ Jackson, 8 years  
  • Owen LeBrun, 4 years   
  • Isaac Jiardini, 2 years  
  • Michelle Stephan, 6 years