Students talk with Kruse about education

INDIANAPOLIS — Two Trine University education majors met with State Sen. Dennis Kruse during an event Thursday, Feb. 23, sponsored by the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE).

Samuel Miller, a junior social studies education major from LaGrange, and Kara Eck, a senior elementary education/special education major from Auburn, took part in IACTE’s second annual “Day at the Statehouse,” which gave state legislators the opportunity to meet with teacher education candidates from colleges around the state. The theme for the day was “Meet Indiana’s Future: Our Future Teachers.”

The students met with Kruse, who serves as chair of the Senate’s Education and Career Development committee. He also is a member of Trine’s Board of Trustees.

Eck said she had spoken with Kruse several times previously, but this was the first time they had discussed education.

“He took interest in the material I have learned and the opportunities I have had to apply this material in the classroom,” she said. “He was eager to hear our journeys and showed great appreciation of our program.”

“We discussed our education here at Trine, specifically the practicum experiences we had in the field,” said Miller. “He was very relaxed and easy to talk with, especially because Kara and I are both locals and it was easy to make connections.”

The pair also had the opportunity to meet with Jean Russell, the 2016 Indiana Teacher of the Year. Russell, a literacy specialist at Haverhill Elementary School in Fort Wayne, also attended the event and spoke with students from a number of colleges.

“There were a lot of topics covered in our discussions with her, but my personal favorite was why and how she started getting involved in policy creation,” said Miller. “My personal goal to become involved in education policy someday.”

“Jean talked to us about how she’s been traveling to different schools, colleges and universities to talk about her experiences as Teacher of the Year. She expressed how she has learned many new things about teaching and how she cannot wait to apply it to her class,” said Eck. “We talked about ways to help implement new technology tools into the classroom while still being an effective teacher.”