How good it felt to have so many Bears in one building. Missouri State University’s College of Education held its second gathering for the Bear in Every Building initiative Jan. 31, at Old Kinderhook Resort in Camdenton.
The night kicked off with socialization and fun with props and a photo booth. Dr. Rhonda Bishop, MSU clinical instructor and Bear in Every Building Chairperson, and Dr. David Hough, dean of the College of Education, soon took the floor.
They welcomed approximately 70 teachers from across Missouri—all of them part of the initiative to promote their profession to young students.
Hough additionally spoke about the importance of building a network of educators.
“You need to know that there are a lot of people across the state supporting you,” he said.
Following a dinner buffet and table discussions, Dr. Kayla Lewis spoke to attendees. A reading foundations and technology assistant professor, Lewis shared MSU opportunities for advanced degrees and certificates. She additionally shared information about university-provided professional development.
Lewis encouraged BIEB members to promote Missouri State programs to their students in the hope it will support their achievement. Such programs include Bear Partnership, an initiative to increase the number of COE students from underrepresented backgrounds.
Encouraging students to take college tours and dual enroll are also great ways to get students thinking about a career in education, Lewis said.
Jennifer Baxter, a family and consumer science teacher at Willard High School, and Symantha Campbell, a math teacher at Farmington High School, discussed their experiences as part of the program.
Both teachers have encountered parents who do not want their children to be educators. They hope the BIEB initiative will help parents think more positively about the profession, too.
After all, the College of Education is hard at work shaping students’ lives. Two student success stories were additionally shared at the winter gathering.
Junior Abby Coffman, an education student following in the footsteps of her mother, shared her family’s love for the Bears. She explained how proud she felt when an educator she looks up to said she may one day teach their child.
Freshman Cameryn Porzelt talked about her Bear Partnership involvement. She remains in touch with the students she met in the program.
“It was a great experience,” Porzelt said.
Toward the end of the gathering, MSU’s Alumni Association thanked Bear in Every Building teachers, and attendees shared takeaways from their earlier table discussions.
“The winter gathering for Bear in Every Building was so successful,” Bishop said. “Not only did faculty and staff from the College of Education connect teachers who graduated from Missouri State, we were able to obtain many plausible suggestions and ideas to move our initiative forward.”
One teacher suggested providing special education professional development to all educators. Another suggested COE Instagram takeovers by BIEB participants to further show off the world of educators to prospective students.
The night concluded with giveaways, including Missouri State sweatshirts, water bottles and license plates.