The boy had something important to say to Megan Beecher.
“You know I’m going to be a teacher just like you,” he told her midway through his kindergarten year at the W.G. Rice Elementary School.
For months, the boy struggled with behavioral issues in class. He didn’t like school. Time and energy put in by Beecher and other staff members changed his mind.
“He walked over to my table,” Beecher recalled. “He had to tell me at that exact moment. Those are the moments you live for as a teacher. It makes you just melt.”
Fond memories guided Beecher to pick education as a career. She grew up around it. Her father, Chris Sherlock, is a retired elementary school teacher while her mother, Betsy, works with hearing impaired preschoolers as a paraprofessional with the Capital Area Intermediate Unit.
The oldest of three children, Beecher used to babysit her siblings along with some of the same students her father taught in the second grade.
“I love inspiring kids to learn,” Beecher said. "The youngest children especially possess a love of learning in pursuit of all things new and exciting.
“The other thing is making a good connection with families,” she added. “A concern at home is usually a concern at school. It’s about knowing what they need and how to support them.”
This support starts early in the South Middleton School District with a Pre-K Camp offered to incoming kindergartners. Beecher is a leader in the program designed to ease separation anxiety and to prepare children emotionally and socially for the classroom.
"It takes the fear out of coming to the big school,” Beecher said.
What inspires her about teaching is the increased use of technology in the classroom and how often the students enter the system more savvy than many of the adults. There is also a trend towards small group instruction to better address the needs of each student rather than tailor instruction only to a large group.
South Middleton School District
Family: Spouse, Bradley Beecher, and children Riley Beecher and Kynnedy Beecher
Profession: Kindergarten teacher at W.G. Rice Elementary School
Birth place: Mechanicsburg
Where you live now: Chambersburg
Q. What do you like best about what you do?
I love working with young children. It brings me such joy to see the "light bulb go off" when they learn something new. Their love for learning inspires me to teach them more.
Q. What is the toughest challenge you face?
Teaching involves challenges such as supporting families, working with the social/emotional needs of a young child and teaching rigorous standards to 5- and 6-year-olds.
Q. What do you like best about working in your school district?
I love working in South Middleton School District because we have a wonderful connection with all of our families. SMSD is known for being One Township, One Community, One School District.
Q. What are the key elements you see in effective teachers?
An effective teacher has a dedication to learning and teaching, a kind and loving personality and engages all learners at their level.
Q. What work is left to do?
I believe that we still have a lot of learning to do when it comes to the understanding of the social/emotional behaviors that young children exhibit. Children need lots of support and guidance to become the best they can be.
Email Joseph Cress at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I love inspiring kids to learn. The youngest children especially possess a love of learning in pursuit of all things new and exciting."
— Megan Beecher
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