As clubs continue to find new ways to engage members and create meaningful connections, Educators Rising has been able to form a community of future teachers. Educators Rising is a club designed to help unite students who have an interest in education. Through its use of panels and interactive activities, it is able to equip students to enter their field of interest.
Although the group has been operating under different circumstances since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the overall goal of the club remains the same. Senior Katelyn Hurst is the president of Educators Rising and said the group caters to those who have an interest in teaching and learning more about the education field.
“We have continued our weekly meetings throughout the entire pandemic,” Hurst said. “We take a survey and see what our members want to see from us, so we hold panels like student-teacher panels. That is currently what we have going on this semester.”
One of the ways Educators Rising is able to help equip its members for a career in education is by providing them the information and skills they may not receive in foundational education classes. By speaking to members directly, Hurst and other leaders of the club are able to better gauge the type of information members want to see.
Senior Elisa Lindemann is the secretary for Educators Rising this year. Lindemann said most of the club’s members are freshmen and sophomores, so the elected officers do their best to make sure members are getting the information they need. It offers unique experiences that allow members to get a well-rounded understanding of their future field.
“Through the club we can get guest speakers, like this week our meeting will be about scholarships and the Arizona Teachers Academy, which is something they don’t get to hear about a lot,” Lindemann said. “The panels we do with student-teachers help so they can get more real experience and stories they might not get from their methods course, so we try to give them any kind of extra information they need.”
Educators Rising does not only focus on the development of their members’ education skills, but also puts a heavy emphasis on community outreach. Hurst said one of the ways Educators Rising gets involved is with its work with Flagstaff Unified School District.
This year, due to the pandemic, Hurst said the group was unable to participate in the annual food drive hosted in partnership with the Flagstaff Family Food Center. Every October, the club asks for donations of nonperishable food, which can be dropped off in different locations around the NAU College of Education and Flagstaff.
“We normally have a ‘trick-or-treat so kids can eat’ food drive in October, and last year we actually raised almost 500 pounds of food,” Hurst said. “I think it’s one of our members’ favorite meetings of the year because we design the boxes and it’s very Halloween-themed. We feel very grateful for what donations we do receive and get to put forth toward the food center in Flagstaff.”
Educators Rising is always looking for new members who want to get involved and learn more. Hurst said anybody is welcome to join at any time. Students who would like to get involved don’t have to apply during a certain recruitment week, but can join any Zoom meeting. Additionally, members are able to join without having to pay fees, but can still participate.
“We utilize Instagram a lot and we actually just reached 300 followers the other day, which we are really happy with,” Hurst said.
The Educators Rising Instagram account is home to lots of information for students looking to join. On Instagram, one can find posts featuring different members of the club. Additionally, there are Q&A’s to learn more about those involved. The account also highlights the different events Educators Rising is hosting or is a part of.
One of the most impactful aspects of the group is its ability to create a community of students who all have a common goal in mind. Many members have cited the group not only as a place to learn, but as a community of people who care. Sophomore Ainsley Brubaker, the social media guru of Educators Rising, said the club is a great group to learn more about the College of Education.
“Before joining the club I didn’t really know much, but I have learned so much about the College of Education,” Brubaker said. “It’s a super fun club to get involved with and learn more about your college.”
Freshman Alexa Negrete is currently in her first year as a member of Educators Rising. Negrete said one advantage to meeting more remotely is the ability for greater availability for speakers. The conflicts related to commuting and schedules have been minimized because the Zoom platform allows guest speakers to log in more conveniently.
“Although we don’t get to do as much community outreach since we are virtual, I don’t want that to scare people away because like I said, I have only been a part of this club since it has been virtual,” Negrete said. “What we try to do when we have activities [is] go into breakout rooms. Everybody makes friends with this club.”
Educators Rising is constantly adapting to the challenges it is presented in an effort to better assist its members. As the club continues to move forward, other members urge students who have an interest in education to check out the collaborative work the group does.