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By Archana Venugopal

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”

This quote from Benjamin Franklin is the motto of the year for UC Irvine’s Cal Teach club and program. Cal Teach is a program for undergraduate students who are interested in teaching. Although it is mainly aimed at STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors, all majors are welcome. The Cal Teach Club, founded October 2008, works closely with the program and provides activities and meetings that help students learn more about the program and about teaching.

“It was originally created as a support system for students in progress who weren’t sure if they wanted to continue,” says Khanh Tran, the club’s treasurer.

Although the club’s website states that the purpose of the club is to be a support system and a way to help undergraduate students network with their peers and colleagues, the club also provides an atmosphere of friendship and community. The club includes meetings that incorporate ideas and topics relevant to the field of teaching, as well as social activities to help students get closer.

“We provide [our members] resources, like after-school programs,” said activities chair Ellen Firme. “We also plan a lot of social stuff.”

Several of the club’s past activities include playing sports, having get-togethers at restaurants, watching educational movies, visiting the observatory, having bonfires and going camping. Last Friday, the club also had an ice skating event. “It’s not just the academic things,” says Julie Wilson, vice president. “It’s also about the community.”

This year the club is also helping out with Mesa Day for the first time. Mesa Day is a program where kids from different elementary, middle and high schools come to UCI and spend all day learning concepts and doing projects. This event is occurring on four different Saturdays of the 2012 year.

“We focus on hands-on learning and discovery. [This club] helped me when I most needed it, and I’m trying to carry on the legacy,” says Bri Hazlewood, president of the Cal Teach club.

The Cal Teach club is for any person who is interested in being involved in teaching, whether they want to get started on their teaching credential or just want to look at possible career options. The club also has peer advisors to talk to about the different ways to get started. The program itself provides several different routes, including the four year program or the four plus one option. It also offers opportunities outside of the classrooms at UCI such as internships and fellowships. “It really helped me develop leadership skills, and there are tons of opportunities to develop them,” says Bri. “I never imagined walking into my first club meeting that I would be the president of it someday.”

The club meets every other Tuesday at Rowland Hall but they also have an office in BSA 137 which is open from nine to five Mondays through Fridays. Students can come in to learn about the program or check out the different resources, including books and computers for program members to use to their advantage. There is also a bulletin board that contains pictures, events and updates from the club. Students who are interested can also check out the club website for more information: https://sites.google.com/site/calteachclub/.

All the officers agreed that this club and program has impacted their lives greatly. The officers’ meeting is evidence of how close the club is, switching jokes and positive comments in between the serious talk about ideas for fundraising or member socials. As Julie says, it’s become “my little family, my niche on campus.”

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