Investing in Future Leaders

Investing in Future Leaders

Interview with Megan

K-3 Reading Corps Member

Megan is a 3rd year MEC member. She was looking for a service opportunity that would benefit the children in her community. After volunteering at her local school, she saw the need for extra support in the school system and she discovered AmeriCorps. She became a member in 2018-2019. Megan loves spending time with her family and also grows fresh cut flowers to sell at local markets. MEC has given Megan the hands on experience she needs to pursue a future career in Education.

What initially inspired you to serve with Michigan Education Corps? Witnessing the struggles the children within my community had with reading inspired me to join AmeriCorps. Understanding the importance of early literacy and how it impacts students in the classroom also encouraged me to serve.

What skills have you developed or strengthened during your service term? After years of service, I have developed stronger communications skills, organization skills and have participated in networking opportunities. These skills and opportunities allow me to widen my future goals whether it is for service or career driven.

What brings you the most joy during your service days? My service days are enjoyable because of the connections I am able to make with my students. Some students are intimidated with reading in front of others. I pride myself in making students feel comfortable and confident when reading aloud. I notice this when a student tells me they want to continue to read the whole passage or read additional times because they want to show me how much they have improved. This makes me smile every time.

What strategies have you used to engage students and get them excited about Reading? I utilize a sticker chart with weekly small rewards. I encourage students to pick a realistic goal for their reading every day. If they meet that goal, I reward them with praise and an occasional extra sticker for the day.

How has your service experience impacted you in unexpected ways? My experience of serving within the school system has shown me how much teachers go above and beyond for their students. I now understand why teachers invest their all into their students. When you see the improvements in the students and their excitement to meet with you, you begin to realize how influential your service is on their day. I never expected to have such an impact on students but now that I know, I too choose to invest my all into them.

How will you use your service experiences to achieve future goals? The connections I have made with the school staff during my years in service have opened a lot of career options in the future and has provided plenty of mentors if I chose to continue in Education. The experience of serving at school has made me familiar with class schedules, roles of staff members and resources to enable myself to understand the requirements needed to be a future public school employee.

Is there anything else you want to share about your service experience? My heart has grown immensely these past three years of service. I enjoy hearing when my students tell their parents/family members how much they have improved with their reading. Or when they tell me they are going to tell their teacher how well they did that day.  I am lucky to have a great opportunity to help the children in my own community.