Love of children and education inspire Appalachian Educators

Emily Broyles, Reporter

The Appalachian Educators strive to prepare for the world of lesson plans, recess and inspiring the future of the U.S. The student-run organization expects to receive high marks of its own with a new year and new adviser.

Besides preparing for teacherly duties, Appalachian Educators want to make 2019 special, instilling the motto “not just another year, not just another person” in new members and future students of their own.

“We didn’t want to treat a new member just like another person. We really wanted to get to know them,” junior middle grades education major and Appalachian Educators president Nia Robinson said. “(When) thinking outside of college and our classroom, our students aren’t just another person. They’re going to be people with lives and who have aspirations.”

Robinson said although the club is meant for people who love children and education, what’s most important is who is sitting in the desk learning.

“(Students) spend more time with you than anyone else besides their parents. I don’t take that lightly,” Robinson said. “We just keep that in mind when thinking about different opportunities and what we want our club to be like.”

As an Appalachian Educator, App State students have the opportunity to attend professional development sessions, intern at after-school programs and participate in outreach.

“Whenever you go to apply for a job, they want to see your professional development portfolio, so the fact that we have these requirements are super helpful and that our students are able to get a head start,” Robinson said. “It helps you become a better teacher.”

The Appalachian Educators don’t require members to be education majors, but they do require a passion for learning, service and connecting with kids.

Appalachian Educators vice president and junior middle grades education major Emily Snyder said her connection with her teachers inspired her to enter the field.

“I was kind of raised in an unideal situation … and educators around me were the ones who told me they believed in me,” Snyder said. “Long story short, I guess I just wanted to give back to the world what it gave to me.”

Snyder said interactions with students and parents, through outreach projects like Shining Light, a toy drive for kids in surrounding schools, make volunteering as an Appalachian Educator even more special.

Jan Stanley, former director of the James Center and adviser of Appalachian Educators, said she is grateful for the opportunities with Appalachian Educators. People who aren’t sure of their major or are too young to join the College of Education can still get student-teacher experience.

“Coming in as freshmen, it provides a place to connect with other education majors and also a way to get involved in the community and in the schools and to work with school-aged children,” Stanley said.

Although Stanley retired at the end of January, she said she is confident the organization will continue its journey toward the teaching field with its networking skills and new adviser Megan Kasper.

“The leadership we have makes them stand apart. We provide backup support, but they take the projects on,” Stanley said. “They’ll be fine. They know what to do. They’re going to be teachers. They’ve got it.”

The Appalachian Educators meet Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. in the Reich College of Education.