Wednesday, December 9, 2020

By: Claire Quigle

Megan Meyer sees the potential in all students.

That’s why this graduating senior is pursuing a career as a special education teacher.

“I look forward to helping students believe in themselves and their skills, regardless of their disabilities,” says Meyer, who is graduating this December with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and endorsements in strategist 1 (special education) and reading from the UI College of Education.

Originally from Center Point, Iowa, Meyer is now a graduating senior from the University of Iowa College of Education, who will begin working as a Strategist 1 Special Education teacher in the Iowa City Community School District in January.

“Every student needs someone to believe in them and who believes that they can learn and do great things, despite challenges like a disability,” Meyer says. “It’s just a matter of myself, as a teacher, figuring out how they learn.”

Meyer has also been selected as the student speaker for the College of Education’s Undergraduate Virtual Commencement and Teacher Education Program Recognition Ceremony Thursday, Dec. 17th, starting at 4 p.m.

Meyer has always known she wanted to become a teacher, but it wasn’t until working as a resident assistant for the UI REACH (Realizing Educational and Career Hopes) program that she realized what an impact she could have as a special education teacher.

UI REACH is a comprehensive transition program at the UI College of Education for students ages 18-25 years old with intellectual, cognitive, and learning disabilities.

“It was from this experience that I was able to see what a great special education experience in grade school could get for students, like the opportunity to attend college at a Big Ten University,” says Meyer. “I realized I wanted to contribute to a great special education experience, to help these individuals achieve big goals, like attending college, by becoming a teacher.”

During her time at UI College of Education, Meyer learned everyone has different identities and experiences,  and she plans to use this knowledge to help students feel included in her classroom. Meyer says that she is not the same person she was when she graduated high school and feels her time at UI College of Education prepared her for the future.

Meyer feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet Lisa Didion Johnston, assistant professor in special education.

“She opened my eyes to research and data and why it is important,” says Meyer. “Before her class, I would be handed research, asked what it was about, but I was never taught why it was important, so it was never interesting. Lisa taught me why research is important and what we can do and have done because of research.”

Looking ahead, Meyer plans to attend graduate school to receive either a master’s or doctorate in special education or administration.

“I can be that person who believes in each student, and because I will believe in each student I teach, they will go on to do great things,” says Meyer.