STEA travels to conference today

Members of the Student Tennessee Education Association will be leaving campus today to attend “The Fall Leadership Conference”. The conference will be held today and tomorrow at the Embassy Suites in Nashville.The STEA is an organization for education majors. Its primary goal is to help students prepare and focus on what’s necessary to become a teacher. The organization has various fundraisers, including bake sales and book drives. These funds generally pay for the activities for the group with little or no assistance from University funds.

Today, students will not be using University transportation. They are responsible for getting to Nashville but will not be responsible for an entrance fee to the conference.

“STEA will pick up the expense for one hotel room, and organizational funds should cover any additional expenses,” James Akenson, STEA faculty advisor, said.

Michael Kaczmarek, STEA vice-president, has not attended the conference before but said it will focus on how to become a better teacher.

This year, the conference is geared toward elementary education and focused on how teachers should interact with students and their parents.

Anyone in the education field can join the STEA, including student teachers and secondary education and physical education majors. Membership costs $27 a year. According to the state, you don’t have to be a member of the STEA to go to meetings, but if you are a member, you will get special benefits.

“You can get insurance from the state for things that might happen,” Kaczmarek said, “such as saying something wrong to a student and them taking it wrong. By being a member of the STEA, you get $1,000 and a lawyer to back you.”

Adversity is part of what this weekend is all about. STEA members hope to learn about relationships with students and dealing with stressful situations. The conference will include leadership workshops, a dinner, special speakers and a series of student sessions.

“The conference is also a good stepping stone into the politics of higher education,” Akenson said.

The activities this weekend will help prepare students for the spring conference, where members will have the opportunity to run for office positions at the state and national level. From the university level, they can climb the political ladder to the state level. Then they qualify for office in the national level.

“The students attending can make the most out of the opportunity or not,” Akenson said. “It’s difficult for most students to sell themselves to a room full of people.