By Morgan Clark, Staff Writer
The Student Education Associate of Maine (SEAM), a UMF club on campus for education majors, recently hosted “Scare Fest,” an event in which a panel of local teachers and student teachers answered questions about their experiences with a group of students at the landing.
The panel of four represented a wide variety of people in the education system, including elementary teachers, a high school student teacher, and a principal. “It was good to hear from former students and new teachers and also a principal to get a variety of perspectives of teaching and the importance of it,” said UMF Junior Vincent Vannah, an elementary education major who attended the event.
Members of SEAM came up with questions to ask the panel before welcoming the audience to ask questions of their own.
The event was held on October 23, and was designed with a Halloween theme, intended to scare the future teachers at UMF with horror stories of teaching experiences.
“We had a bomb scare,” said Eric Brooks, a third grade teacher, describing a previous incident. “[And] we had to evacuate.” He described the students as being confused and although the school did not think the threat was real, it was taken seriously. “You just never know,” said Brooks.
Tracy Williams spoke on the behalf of administrators, as Principal of Mallett Elementary School in Farmington. She spoke of her first day as principal when a kindergarten student ran away from the school. “We were really fortunate on multiple levels,” said Williams, of when they found the student. “There’s an obvious crack in the system,” she said.
Not all stories were that scary, however, and there were plenty of upbeat responses. Elizabeth Ferry, current UMF senior and Mt. Blue student teacher, described the day she got her contact stuck behind her eye. “That’s never happened to me before,” said Ferry. She had to wear glasses to school, apparently something she doesn’t do often. “One of my students asked me if I was high,” she said, which made the audience laugh, and lighten the “scary” atmosphere.
The panel also had advice for students who may be applying for teaching jobs. “We held interviews over the summer and some people showed up in flip flops,” said Brooks, who works at Belgrade Elementary School. “We almost didn’t give them the interview.”
Other advice offered included being serious, which came from Ali Butler, also a third grade teacher. She suggested using stories and knowledge to show care and compassion. “They want to know you care about it as much as they care about it,” said Butler.
As a whole, the event was positive and informative, and few scary stories were actually told. Since the event was held on a Friday night, some of the panel teachers were worried there would not be a big turnout, but were surprised by the amount of people who attended. Overall, audience members seemed to enjoy the panel and the responses.
“I like to hear all the stories they have and learn from them too,” said Vannah. “I think it’s a great experience.”