What Students Really Say About Farmington
Why did you pick your major?
I chose to be an Early Childhood Special Education major because of how rewarding this field can be. Every day young children go without a diagnosis or without the services they need and are eligible for, because either parents or educators just don't know or don't know how to help. I feel that in order for children to reach their full potential both developmentally and educationally, children need someone in their lives that can provide the support and services they may need. To me, it's important that this field continues to be studied by passionate and caring people.
Did you start at UMF with this major?
Actually, I was initially an Early Childhood Education major. But as time went on, I found myself to be more and more interested in special education and helping those with special needs. However, my love for young children and teaching young children didn't change, so the Early Childhood Special Education major was a perfect fit for me.
What is a special strength of Farmington’s Early Childhood Special Education program?
I think a strength of UMF's Early Childhood Special Education program is the experience you gain during your time spent here. Often starting in your first year, you're in a classroom or setting working with children and educators, getting the hands-on experience necessary to learn and to apply the knowledge learned from seminar classes. This can be scary or intimidating being in the environment right away, but in reality, it's not.
For example, in practicum my first year here, I worked one-on-one with a little boy who has autism. At first, I was nervous and wasn't confident of my abilities to work with him. But soon, my nerves calmed and I ended up having a wonderful semester with him. I learned so much through my work with him. And his parents expressed to me their appreciation and told me how well their son was doing. Without the opportunity to work with him, I never would've known my potential right from the start and it really was an excellent learning opportunity. The professors really work with you to help you feel comfortable and secure in the classroom and the hands-on learning is so beneficial -- all along the way.
Have you had a favorite class at UMF?
All of my classes here have been great. Of course, some classes are better than others but that's all opinion-based. In one way or another they've all been extremely beneficial and I've enjoyed an aspect of each. I've loved all of my education courses because of the great professors and the content being taught, but I have also loved my general education courses, too, because of the opportunity to get out and learn new things. There is not one class, in particular, that I can rank above the rest ... but all of them together allow me to rank this college above the rest.
Tell me a bit about your Early Childhood Special Education teaching practicum.
I've done a few Early Childhood Special Education Practicums during my time here at UMF. What I really like about this program is that it requires you to work with young children of all ages. Working with infants and toddlers is much different than working with preschoolers or kindergarteners. So getting the opportunity to work with children of a variety of ages really lets you to see which age group you enjoy working with the most or what aspect of the field is of interest to you. Plus, each practicum is different in regard to the workload or field work required. So by varying the practicums, you're able to spend time in the classroom doing the hands-on work, but you also get to experience the behind-the-scenes work in the field. I feel that each practicum is extremely valuable and helpful, and together they help paint the bigger picture of how great this major is.
Do you plan on teaching in an Early Childhood Special Education classroom or setting?
Well, I haven't decided if I'm going to attend graduate school right away or to wait a few years. However, I DO know that I want to get a job working with children with special needs right after graduation. I'll make a decision about grad school a little later on.
What has been the most useful thing you’ve learned in a class?
I know this is quite cliché, but the most useful thing I've learned from classes here is more patience. In high school, you have to be patient and respectful of the other students in the classroom because it's a rule. But in college, you're on your own and are held to a different standard than you were in high school. In college, your classmates may be younger than you, older than you, or even older than your professor but they're still your classmates. Each person learns differently and at a different rate, so it's important to be patient and to use that patience to your benefit. Each class is an opportunity to learn something new. So by remaining patient and respectful of those around you, you're giving yourself an opportunity to gain something more.
So, how did you choose to come to UMF?
Initially, I chose UMF because of the wonderful reputation this school has for education majors.
What do you like now that you’re here?
Now that I've been here, I've also found that the professors are truly here to help you and the relationships you build along the way are genuine. The small school environment helps you to be comfortable in your classes, on campus, and in the community. This place has really become my home-away-from-home. I also really love the sense of community that the campus has with the town. At some schools, the campus is right in the center of the city, yet the college is so segregated from the rest of the community. But UMF isn't like that. The college is right in the heart of downtown and you can tell it's a college town, yet it's still really a community. Especially for those who work in or with those in the community, like Education students, for example. We work with the local children and families, so when you see them in the grocery store or at the movie theater, you can see the sense of community and respect that each party has for one another. Farmington is a great town.
Has any classwork or outside-the-classroom experience affected the way you think?
Like I mentioned before, the experience I gained from the classes and from the hands-on work has really made me enjoy the time I've spent here. The people on campus and the professors here really help make a difference in your life and show that they truly care about you and your education alike.
Was the western Maine area a draw for you?
I grew up in a smaller city in comparison to Farmington and the surrounding area, but I was closer to a big city, so coming here was a bit of a change. It's nice to be somewhat secluded and away from the hustle and bustle of the city life, but to still be close enough to be able to drive to more populated areas. What's nice about Farmington and the Farmington area is the access we have. Right in town we have restaurants, a movie theater, and access to fishing and swimming. Also, Farmington's just a short drive to Sugarloaf or Saddleback, where there's great skiing and snowboarding. And we're also near Augusta, where there are even more restaurants, a concert venue, and LOTS of shopping. All in all, western Maine's a great area!
- Kristen Bisson
From Waterville, Maine
- Emily Baer
Double major: Art and English
From Brunswick, Maine
- Andrew Thompson
Double major: Music and Art
From Plymouth, Massachusetts
- Shawn Rogers
From Dover, New Hampshire
- Lesley Kittredge
From Mount Vernon, Maine
- Kristen Simoneau
Community Health Education - School Health Education
From Jay, Maine
- Shane Koski
From Auburn, Maine
- Renee Meserve
Early Childhood Education
From Westbrook, Maine
- Casey Myers
Early Childhood Special Education
From Winooski, Vermont
- Craig Nadeau
From Fairfield, Maine
- Michaela Hitchcock
Environmental Planning & Policy
From Springfield, Vermont
- Erica Austin
Double major: History and Geography
From Turner, Maine
- Alison Gerrish
International & Global Studies
From Portland, Maine
- Lisa Kittredge
Liberal Arts Undecided
From Mount Vernon, Maine
- Nate Burns
Double major: Music and Philosophy / Religion
From Wayne, Maine
- Genesis Burke
From Amesbury, Massachusetts
- Mary Beth Kirby
From Farmington, Maine
- Joel Hatfield
Secondary / Middle Education
From Palermo, Maine
- Courtney Church
Sociology / Anthropology
From Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- Emily Langton
From Manchester, New Hampshire