High school students from all over southeastern Wisconsin gathered on the UWM campus on Oct. 27 to explore potential careers in education. They all had personal reasons for considering becoming teachers or entering other careers in education.
“I grew up in a refugee camp and I want to give back by teaching in a camp,” said Eh Blut Soe, a junior at the Hmong American Peace Academy.
“I want to help students make their futures better,” said her classmate Panteria Xiong, also a junior.
Muna Muhina, a junior at Riverside University High School is interested in becoming a social worker, but wanted to explore education and perhaps what being a school social worker might look like.
“I feel there are not enough Black men who are educators,” said Medard Ebasomba, a junior from South Division High School who hopes, he said, to become a high school mathematics teacher. He likes math, he said, and wants to help students understand it. He attended a session on Men of Color in Education during his visit.
Approximately 180 high school students and their teachers had the opportunity to meet with UWM education faculty and students and other educators at the all-day Future Educators Summit.
Many of the high school students have already become involved in learning more about teaching and education careers through UWM’s dual enrollment program that engages them in a beginning teaching course. Others are involved in Education Pathways programs at their high schools.
The high school students were welcomed by Andrew Davis, School of Education, associate dean and head of school, and Angel Hessel, distinguished lecturer and director of student teachers in the elementary education program.
Future classroom teachers are in a unique position because, unlike other professions, as students they get a chance to observe their own teachers in action, Hessel reminded them. “You are observing the profession all the time.” When she asked students about the characteristics of good educators, the students came up with key words like “perseverance,” “humane,” “helpful,” “patient,” and “empathy.”
During morning and afternoon breakout sessions, students had the opportunity to explore topics like what it takes to become an early childhood, special education, elementary or high school teacher. They also had the opportunity to learn about financial aid and scholarships, transferring from MATC, men of color in education and majors and career opportunities.