Third Thursdays for Teachers at 10 provides learning opportunities for future educators

September 30, 2016

Ouachita’s Huckabee School of Education is now in its fourth year of hosting Third Thursdays for Teachers at 10 meetings. The meetings gather the school’s education majors on the third Thursday of each month to listen to educators from across the state speak.

Education majors of all classifications are invited to attend each gathering and listen to teachers, administrators and education officials from across Arkansas share their vision and stories about what happens beyond the classroom in education. The meetings give freshmen and sophomore education majors the opportunity to discover what working as an educator is all about, while upperclassmen education majors are able to come away from the meetings excited to put what they’ve learned to use in their own classrooms.

The education department began holding the monthly meetings four years ago, inspired by a similar program in the business school. Dr. Rachel Pool, assistant professor of education, was one of the driving forces in getting the program started in the education department.

“We heard that the business department did ‘First Fridays,’ where they brought in business entrepreneurs and business leaders,” Pool said. “We knew that we had a lot of resources here in Arkansas for teaching, so we wanted to mirror that.”

In the four years since the program’s inception, several notable speakers in education have come to share their stories and impart their wisdom on Ouachita’s education students. Past speakers have included the Arkansas commissioner of education, assistant commissioner of education, principals and counselors from across the state and every Arkansas teacher of the year since 2011.

“All the speakers are amazing, but some specifically have left an impact on my life,” said Haley Brown, a senior elementary education major from Stuttgart. “Audrey Craven, an OBU alum, came and spoke to us, and she was amazing. She teaches in Memphis now, which is where I want to go. The way she was so brutally honest with us is what made her speech. Her sharing her story was a small step in getting me where I am today. Now as a senior, I’m getting ready to go change lives in my classroom. And Third Thursdays for Teachers is a great source of encouragement I received as an education major.”

The meetings also give education students an opportunity to make connections with professionals in the education world. Several education students have connected with principals at Third Thursday meetings and later been able to do classroom observations as a result. Several Ouachita alumni have been able to return to to campus to share  with students what they’ve learned as educators and have even come back after speaking at Third Thursdays to share what they have learned in other capacities.

“We had a parent, Kris Shinn, who came to talk about his son, who has an exceptionality, and now he is speaking in our teaching exceptional learners class. So that was a great connection–he’s an OBU alum and was able to sell his book in the bookstore,” Pool said.

In one of this year’s fall semester meetings, the education department was able to announce the May 2017 educational tour. The trip will take education students to West Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, Philadelphia and New York City to observe classrooms around the country. At the West Memphis stop on the tour, students will be able to visit the speaker from a previous Third Thursday. In Atlanta, students will be able to attend a training workshop at the Ron Clark Academy, sponsored by the Riley Gray Pool memorial fund.

“If a student has a dream of going to any of these types of settings to teach, they will be able to see it before their first job, and I think that’s just powerful,” Pool said.

For more information about the Third Thursdays meetings or the 2017 educational tour, contact Dr, Rachel Pool at n

By Katie Kemp, News Editor

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