Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Teacher Mixer held to help students understand for real-life classroom experiences

Monday, April 29, 2019
Students listening to a speech giving by Julie Ray Professor and Chair of Early Childhood Education
Photo by Andrew Myles ~ Staff Writer

The Teacher Mixer hosted by Student Missouri State Teacher Association (SMSTA) featured 10 teachers who graduated from Southeast as guest speakers at its event April 9.

Elementary education major Bethany Bequette said she came to the Teacher Mixer to better grasp the basic fundamentals of what it means to be in the field.

“I am here to get an understanding of what I am getting into and get a teacher’s perspective about what is like your first-year teaching,” Bequette said.

The mixer began with a professor of Elementary Education Undergraduate Program coordinator Larry Bohannon introducing professor and chair of Early Childhood Education’s guest speaker Julie Ray.

Ray talked about having mentoring relationships for future teachers and how the roles of mentors can have an impact on student’s lives and career choices.

“Don’t forget that the person you are mentoring is human, that life is tough and that we are all in this together,” Ray said.

After the speech, students were given a short intermission for food, and teachers sat with students and discussed their experiences as teachers.

Carrie Korbecki a fifth-grade English and language arts teacher at Jackson Middle School, a 2016 graduate in her third year of teaching, Said she came back to speak with students at the Teacher Mixer because she attended the event while at Southeast and found the experience beneficial.

“I actually came to this event when I was going through my teaching program and I had a lot of questions answered that I was nervous about. But it’s also great to share experiences and helps calm the nerves of teachers who are going into the field,” Korbecki said.

During her talk, Korbecki told the students she wished she had been told during her preparation to become a teacher that not everything would go as planned.

“Every teacher goes through those moments where they have a hard time, where they have a failure in their classroom,” Korbecki said. “Even if they look perfect on the outside and their classroom looks perfect there is going to be a struggling moment.”

Nate Martin, who has been teaching for a year and a half in Jackson at Orchard Drive Elementary and 2017 of southeast said he thinks it is important to share what he has experienced as a teacher with students preparing to go into the educational field.

He also said there are people here to support teachers and students, and students need to be made aware there is a support system for them coming into the field.

“Know there is someone out there to always help you, that there is always someone struggling and teachers are there to pick you up when needed,” Martin said.

He said the best thing about being a teacher is the connection made when students accomplish a difficult task or subject.

“When it clicks with a student; they don’t get it, and then something clicks in their head and they finally get it,” Martin said.

He said going to college to become a teacher was not the goal, but once he took a few teacher curriculum-based courses he knew teaching was what he wanted to do.

Elementary education major Jared Ernst said going to the Teacher Mixer was a great way for him to get reacquainted with some teachers he already knew who had been giving him advice on what it is like to be a teacher.

“I have met with the former teachers here now, and I felt like it would be a good experience to talk to someone who is established in the job you are going have,” Ernst said.

Bohannon said the university prepares students for becoming teachers in the classroom, but the experience they gain for themselves is a crucial part of learning.

“This is an opportunity to learn about the real world and real classroom experiences,” Bohannon said.