During his senior year at Penquis Valley High School in Milo, Maine, Jarod Webb was conflicted about what he wanted to study at the University of Maine. Then one of his teachers asked, “What about teaching?”
“I thought that it would be a really nice profession to go into to be able to help people, and also I love English. So it was a really nice way to combine those two things,” Webb says.
Webb is now a sophomore majoring in secondary education in the College of Education and Human Development. He carries a 4.0 grade point average and is president of the UMaine chapter of Student MEA, the Maine Education Association. His goal is to become a high school English teacher.
Webb already has had the opportunity to experience some of what life will be like as a teacher. He did a field experience placement at Fairmount School in Bangor as part of his EHD 101: The Art and Science of Teaching class. Last year, he job shadowed a 9th and 10th grade English class at Piscataquis Community High School in Guilford.
“It was such a cool experience,” he says. “My mentor teacher let me go to everything that she could. I was invited to staff meetings and individual education plan meetings. That wasn’t part of what she had to do for me, but she gave me so many opportunities.”
Webb will have more opportunities to gain in-class experience when he does his 100-hour placement and student teaching.
In the meantime, he’s already demonstrating leadership through his involvement with Student MEA. The UMaine chapter of the organization hadn’t been active in a few years, Webb says. So he reached out to the leader of the University of Maine Farmington chapter to discuss some of the events they’ve held. He’s hoping to organize teacher panel or professional development activity in the near future.
“That’s a big part of Student MEA — helping bridge the gap between the theoretical things that we can learn in the classroom and the more practical, real-world experiences,” Webb says.
It’s the hands-on experiences he’s getting through his classes that Webb says he appreciates most about his undergraduate program.
“Those opportunities to have real-life ventures in actual situations,” he says. “All of that has been what I consider the most rewarding of all my experiences so far.”
What is Student MEA and how can UMaine students get involved?
It’s the Maine Education Association’s student branch and it looks to help future educators in the state. It’s a really great opportunity to take what we learn in the classroom and be able to see how it holds up in real-life situations. A big focus is on professional development.
To be a member you must be a UMaine student. There’s also a $28 MEA fee which gives you access to all of their professional development as well as $1 million in liability insurance when you’re out in the field.
UMaine is close to where I’m from. Milo is about 40 minutes from Orono. That was a huge pull. I’m close to my parents and they’re a short drive away if I want to go home. I still have a job at a hardware store in Milo, which is a really wonderful thing.
And also, I just love the campus. I never took an official tour, but I had a friend who came here and she showed me around. I remember seeing it in the spring. It’s such a beautiful campus.
How would you describe the academic atmosphere at UMaine?
It can be anything you want it to be. There’s so many different ways that you can make classwork your own, and I’ve found a lot of independence in that. There are many helpful resources on campus, including the Tutoring Center. You have all of the things that you need in order to succeed.
Describe UMaine in one word.
The campus itself is vast, the opportunities are vast and the social elements are vast. There’s just so much you can do here.
What’s your most memorable UMaine moment?
Finishing first semester, getting my grades and realizing that I had a 4.0 GPA.
What do you hope to do after graduation and how is UMaine helping you reach those goals?
After graduation I want to teach high school English. UMaine is helping me achieve my goal through the local classroom placements and placements with some of the faculty. I have connections to school districts in the area.
What’s the most interesting, engaging or helpful class you’ve taken at UMaine?
Adolescent Psychology because I loved the material. It was fascinating. I’m going to be working with adolescents professionally and to be able to put those behaviors in context and understand why they’re happening is huge.
What difference has UMaine made in your life?
In Milo, I graduated with 42 people. I remember coming here and being intimidated. Now I feel much more open socially as far as being able to strike up a conversation with someone or to sit next to someone in class.
Contact: Casey Kelly, 581.3751