Students attend, win award at English education conference

Ronna Fisher (left), pictured with Arrow editor Audra Marston in a file photo from NSI 2012, was one of three students who attended an English education conference. (Photo by Kyle Pierce)

By Brad Crofford, Editor-in-chief

Being a good educator involves being educated oneself.

This is what led English education majors Ronna Fisher, Kenzie Redwine and Kendra Meeks to attend the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English (OCTE) spring conference at Oklahoma City University on Wednesday, April 3.

“I went to an OCTE conference with a class last year, and I heard a lot of really great and practical ideas for teaching English,” Fisher, a junior, said. “I want to be the best teacher I can be one day, and that means I have to start learning and gather as many techniques and tools as I can now; this conference is just one way I begin doing that.”

According to the OCTE website, the conference’s theme was “Career, College, and Citizenship Readiness.” Its keynote speaker was Terrance Hayes, a National Book Award-winning poet. Hayes has won numerous awards for his poetry and is a professor of creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University.

Hayes’ keynote address was the highlight for Meeks, a senior.

“He is a teacher and a poet. He kept his audience engaged throughout his speech,” Meeks said.

Conferences such as this can be useful in numerous ways, from allowing participants to share ideas to confirming callings.

“I just really like getting fresh and new ideas to store away for future use. Things like this get me excited to one day be a teacher and remind me why I am an English Education major,” Fisher said.

It can also help attendees to receive a better understanding of their chosen profession.

“I attended three very informative sessions and now have a fuller understanding of the new Common Core Standards that Oklahoma teachers are starting to align with,” Meeks said.

Redwine, a senior, received the Gerald Burns Award for Excellence in English Studies. Universities that have student members in OCTE nominate one student for the award, primarily based on their ability to teach English through student teaching or a practicum, according to Redwine. Winners are then selected by OCTE.

“I’m pretty excited to be recognized for my hard work,” Redwine said. “It is also exciting because this award is recognized by other teachers, not just SNU professors but English teachers all over the state.”

English professor Dr. Peggy Poteet also attended the conference.

What do you think?