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SCSU’s future teachers organization travels to San Diego

Photo Courtesy | Ashley Perrone Left to Right: Ashley Perrone, Advisor Helen Marx, and Sarah Lewis in California for the conference

Mackenzie Hurlbert – General Assignment Report

Southern’s Future Teachers Organization took California by storm this November for the National Education Association Conference in San Diego. The trip to the conference was fully funded by Southern and the Connecticut Education Association.

Photo Courtesy | Ashley Perrone
Left to Right: Ashley Perrone, Advisor Helen Marx, and Sarah Lewis in California for the conference

The conference focused on bullying, how to deal with it in the classroom, and techniques on how to educate students about what it is and its effects.

The conference was fun, educational, and a great chance to meet fellow aspiring teachers. The focus on bullying, a widespread problem within schools and online today, was relatable and impactful.

“We watched many YouTube videos,” said Ashley Perrone, president of Southern’s Future Teacher’s Organization. “One was about a girl Megan Mier who met a ‘boy’ online. This boy treated her amazingly until one day he started to treat her very poorly. Megan ended up committing suicide and months later it was found out to be a girl’s parents from the school Megan attended that bullied her.”

Perrone said this was a powerful video that could be shown to high school students in order to illustrate the impact of bullying.

“Another great lesson was comparing bullying to an apple,” she said. “You take two apples. Place one gently on the desk and the other you put the other forcefully down. You point out how the apples still look the same. Then when you cut them open the one handled gently will be clean and the one forcefully placed down will be full of bruises.”

This exercise could be used to show students the hidden impacts of bullying because it illustrated how bullying sometimes isn’t visible to the naked eye, and that it often takes deeper consideration to notice and react to bullying and its effects.

Perrone attended the conference along with Sarah Lewis, the vice president of SFTO, and Helen Marx, their advisor and an elementary education professor. Perrone, a senior, said the conference was a great experience.

“We had the opportunity to meet people from all over the country and understand how their education system works as well as their clubs at their college campuses,” she said.

Sarah Lewis, vice president of the organization, enjoyed the conference as well and thought it was an educational experience.

“I learned a lot of new information about bullying that is not always taught in college education classes,” said Lewis, a junior. “I learned how to identify bullying, intervene when bullying is taking place, and how to prevent bullying from occurring.”

Photo Courtesy | Ashley Perrone
Southern Future Teachers Organization’s President Ashley Perrone and Vice President Sarah Lewis.

Lewis said her favorite part of the conference was meeting other student from around the U.S. “We all had a passion for teaching, and it was a great experience being able to hear their points of views, and being able to see how education systems are run in other states.”

“Overall, the conference was an amazing experience. I learned so much about how to handle bullying in my classroom in the future, and attending the conference helped me grow as a leader and become more confident in my teaching abilities,” said Lewis.

According to the Southern website, Southern’s Future Teachers Organization is a club open to all students studying education. They hold yearly fundraisers and programs on campus that focus on educating the community. This past June, SFTO received the National Education Association Local Excellence Award . If you are interested, check out their Facebook page, titled “Southern’s Future Teachers Organization.”

The conference was a success, and both Perrone and Lewis agree that it helped prepare them for the world of teaching. “Overall it was a very beneficial conference, and I am now motivated to take a strong stance against bullying once I become a teacher,” said Lewis.


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