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First-year teacher relishes return to small town life

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RIGHT AT HOME — Megan Steuck, originally from the Medford area, feels fortunate to land a job teaching first-graders in a rural community. (Star Eagle photo by Rachel Rietsema)


By RACHEL RIETSEMA

Staff Writer

Straight out of college, Megan Steuck landed her dream job. But, Steuck doesn’t and will not take all the credit.

Instead, she gives the glory to God for allowing her to lead one of Ellendale’s first-grade classrooms.

“I worked hard to get here, but this would be because of Him, absolutely,” Steuck said. “I wanted a small country school and I wanted first grade. I feel so blessed.”

Persistence also played a huge role in acquiring her new title.

“After finishing school in May, I stopped by and talked to the school secretaries to see if they had any openings,” she said. “I came back another time and ran into Mr. Anderson. I then gave him a brochure that outlined who I am as an educator.”

She even made it a point to show interest in subbing positions, and it just so happens that Mr. Anderson kindly obliged.

“I am so excited to be here and be a part of a school that is so full of community and collaboration,” she said. “That’s so important because the kids see that modeled to them too.”

Set up in the corners of her room are different centers, some for math and others for reading. She’s also hoping to build an iPad station that features audio books and music.

“I’ve been planning all summer and garage saleing,” she said. “All the animal print decorations are wild and fun I think.”

Every morning, she has plans to begin with something called “Morning Meeting.” It sets the tone for the day, she says.

“There’s a greeting, a sharing time where a couple kids share what they did yesterday, an activity time really quick, like rock paper scissors, etc.,” she said.

Another area she will continually emphasize involves social behaviors, which will in turn give the students a good foundation for what they need to learn.

“If they are socially capable, they can therefore learn the things they need academically,” she said. “It will save time in the end to deal with the social and emotional things right away.”

Morals are just as important too.

“My favorite book is “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein,” she said. “I am so excited to read that because of the ethics therein.”

In other words, she firmly believes that kids are who our future is, and she deeply wants to be a part of the process of preparing them for this somewhat daunting responsibility.

“I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was five years old,” she said. “I’m the oldest sister so I think it’s in my blood. My mom homeschooled me in kindergarten and first grade, and my grandma and grandpa were both teachers too.”

That unshakable confidence in her dreams actually paved the way to a much earlier college graduation ceremony.

“In high school, I took post-secondary for two years and got my associates at Riverland Community College,” she said. “I’m very focused and driven. I know what I want.”

Now, as a recent North Central University graduate, she can return to her country girl lifestyle. And, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Living by the Metrodome in Minneapolis was fun, but I wouldn’t want to live there the rest of my life,” she said. “My student teaching at Normandale Hills in Bloomington was the best experience I could possibly have had.”

She even remembers shedding a few tears when parting with the students, only after leading for a 10-week period.

“I get to know each kid so personally, all their quirks,” she said. “It’s so fun.”

The relationships she established with her professors meant a great deal to her as well. They are the ones who truly inspired her to barrel through the challenging program.

“At first I thought, ‘Is this what I want to do?’” she said. “It was a second-guessing time in my life. But, I came to see their modeling of good teaching, which made me want to be a great teacher just like them.”

Ready to work towards that goal, she can’t emphasize enough just how much she is excited to be in Ellendale. Thrilled might not even describe her height of excitement.

“I will never forget the first time I walked in here,” she said. “I feel like I could ask anyone to help here and they would. A few parents and a grandparent have even come in and ask me if I needed anything.”


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