Future educators take on Illinois State University


  Early Childhood Education is a program offered to juniors and seniors as a part of the Whiteside Area Career Center (WACC) at Sterling High School. This course is created to provide knowledge about the development of children including physical, mental, and emotional development. This class is a great opportunity for anyone interested in a career involving children. 

  On Oct. 21, students from the ECE class attended Illinois State University’s Future Teacher Conference. The conference informs and inspires students about the process of becoming a teacher, and what to expect after graduation. Last year was their first year attending the conference, but the rainy weather made the day difficult. In comparison, this year’s conference had perfect weather for walking outside campus. ECE students enjoyed the comfy ride to the university both years because they were able to travel with charter buses. 

   Students first attended an opening session which consisted of teachers telling their stories of what led them to want to be in education. This session included a show provided by the Gamma Phi Circus. The fraternity performed several stunts and dances that amazed the audience. Prior to the field trip, students picked their own sessions to walk to on campus. These sessions pertained to specific subjects about education and information that can be applied to life. 

   In between the two sessions was a table fair and a free lunch provided by ISU. The table fair gave students an opportunity to talk to staff of different departments in education. At the table fair was a representative for the Golden Apple Scholarship. This scholarship is a Illinois teacher preparation program, and the students who get accepted in the program get up to $23,000 tuition assistance for college. 

   Students from ECE had controversial opinions about the conference. They loved being in the college environment, meeting new people, and having conversations with professors. However, they wished it was more inclusive to other professions involving children. The conference is directed towards future teachers, but not everyone that wants to be a teacher.Even if a student doesn’t want to be a teacher, the trip gives them the opportunity of what a college campus looks like. A lot of the students on the trip had not seen a college before, so it prepares them for when they go to a campus for a college visit. 

  ECE teacher Heather Johnson says, “I thoroughly enjoyed taking students back down to ISU to not only explore a college campus, but also that my students could experience a tiny fraction of what they could encounter as education students in college. This conference provides so many unique learning opportunities for my students, and I look forward to going again next year.”

  Overall, the trip was a success from the student and teacher standpoint. The conference provided a unique experience for everyone, in which they can apply the knowledge to their lives. The trip also got students more interested in college, and doing more field trips like this could help students figure out where they want to go.