ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Student tutors filled the Region 14 Education Services Center for the Second Annual Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE) Student Tutors Summit on Monday. Region 14 hosted the summit with a goal to inspire the next generation of teachers.

One student looking to become a teacher, Brendan, told KTAB/KRBC events like this allows he and his peers to share their tutoring experiences with others.

“We get to come out here, learn about teaching; it’s just a great time overall,” Brendan said.

Taking input from the first TAFE student tutor summit from last year, Region 14 said it wanted to tailor this year’s summit to help its student tutors and pique their interests.

“We wanted to expand and grow our efforts. So, we have breakout rooms this year and we’re offering some different subjects to help the kids,” explained Brenna Muscatell, high quality instructional support liaison for Region 14.

Melody Roper, a former teacher and current instructor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at McMurry University, shared how the enthusiasm summit attendees have is a bright spot for the future of education

“In the climate of today’s education, that’s certainly what we need: Kids, young people, to have a passion for teaching, that want to go into teaching and their new ideas, their fresh thoughts, all the things that they bring to the table,” Roper beamed.

Roper is just a part of the local institutions of higher education partnering with Region 14 to develop a pipeline for future educators in Big Country schools. Cisco College and Hardin-Simmons and McMurry universities recruit future students and bring in former teachers who have had real world experience in the classroom beyond what students could learn from their exams.

“Years of experience, knowing about behavior management plans that work for special students; it helps them be better prepared with the toolbox that has more strategies in it,” said Dr. Renee Collins, associate dean of the Irvin School of Education at Hardin-Simmons University.

Region 14 said it wanted to make a committed effort to be a resource at every step of an educator’s career for years to come as it had been for former teacher Roper.

“I can remember back in the olden days, coming out to Region 14 and having the support system that they had. Not just for Abilene but all the surrounding school districts,” Roper looked back.