Northern Michigan University education students Jennie Baker of Munising and Amy Burley of Marquette were among the "Teachers of Promise" who attended the Governor's Education and Talent Summit March 12-13 in Novi. The Network of Michigan Educators invited universities to select their top two pre-service teachers for the designation. The students were honored at a banquet and had an opportunity to network with education leaders from across the state at the conference.
Jennie Baker is an English-secondary and social studies-secondary education major. During her time at NMU, she has gained experience working with before- and after-school programs, outdoor education experiences and community education on campus as a teaching assistant and resident adviser. Baker has had teaching experiences as far away as Sapporo, Japan, and into the close-knit communities of her Alger County. She is graduating summa cum laude in May 2018.
Baker said the conference had interactive sessions, including Power by Teach to Lead, in which she worked with a team to solve a given problem: designing an internship program for Rochester High School seniors.
"It was enlightening to experience the 'behind-the-scenes' aspect of educational programming, particularly in terms of funding and the relationships between administrators and their staff," she said. "I definitely left with ideas of how to make some of my goals take shape at my school. Speakers on the second day opened my eyes to a new concept of classroom management that embraces use of technology by students and flips the script on outdated models based on compliance. Being named a Teacher of Promise feels like a vow: people believe in me and what I can do for the future of education, so I want to dedicate myself to that future. Everything that has been given to me, I want to give back ten-fold."
Amy Burley is an integrated science, chemistry and mathematics-secondary education major from Marquette. She has integrated her educational focus into local science classes, homework clubs and labs. She served as a teaching assistant for the NMU Mathematics and Computer Science Department and helped to lead instruction for the Seaborg Center. During her time at NMU, Burley also volunteered as a science tutor for a local high school student. She will graduate in May 2018.
Burley said the summit taught her that leadership in schools does not need to originate with administration alone.
"Any educator is capable of being a leader in the field of education, and the influence of any teacher does not need to stop in his or her own classroom," she said. "This means that teachers should constantly be working together to raise each other up, and help one another out rather than creating a competitive, closed-door atmosphere. I am excited to implement this concept in my future profession. I am honored to have been selected as a Michigan Teacher of Promise. However, I know that this is not a stopping point. To me, it is a reminder to continuously be developing as a professional educator and to set a goal to be a better teacher each and every day."