By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
A2 STEAM special education teacher Connie Myers grew up in Pinckney. She moved to Chelsea when she was in the eighth grade and graduated from Chelsea High School. Next she attended Western Michigan University, where she played softball as an outfielder while working on her bachelor’s degree in special education/emotionally impaired and learning disabilities. She later earned her master’s in educational leadership from Eastern Michigan University and also attended Michigan Technological University’s Michigan Teacher Excellence Program (MITEP) in the area of earth science.
Myers began her career in 2007 teaching students with emotional impairments at Jackson Public Schools’ Parkside Middle School.
She began working for AAPS in 2015 and has taught in the 3-5 classroom at A2 STEAM, working with students with emotional impairments.
Myers lives in Chelsea with her husband Ben, children Peyton, 8; Paisley, 6; Benny, 4; and Presley, 2; as well as their dog, Stella. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing sports, and traveling to fun places with her family.
What makes a good day at school? A good day at school is when all my students are following the classroom expectations and getting their work done. Behaviors are under control and students are spending time in their mainstream classes with support from me.
What inspired you to become a teacher? I was inspired to become a teacher by my parents who are both teachers. I also babysat for many students with disabilities as a teenager and helped at multiple camps in the summer.
Why special ed? What do you love about what you do? When I work with my students I feel rewarded when I see then making so many gains and accomplish new things every day academically or behaviorally. I love to hear my students say that they love to come to school and want to do well and be successful.
How do you keep students engaged? Every day is a challenge and we always need to be on our toes and ready for changes in our schedule and what I am teaching. I love to make learning fun and incorporate technology and fun into the lessons I teach.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about teaching? About learning? The most important thing I have learned is to be more patient than I think I already am, and to start each day with a smile and a fresh start. I have learned—like the students who are always learning—that I am always learning. It may be from professional development, other colleagues, by experiences each day, or from the students. Each day brings a new joy and challenge in education.
Describe an average workday. Each day is a new day and every day is different based on the students’ needs and behaviors in my classroom. Some days we spend all day on academics and other days we spend a majority of our days working on our social skills. I am always on the move with the students and like to keep things interesting and fun for my students.
What’s a typical Saturday like for you? A typical Saturday for me is spending time with my husband and kids going to sporting events. practices or just hanging out at home or with family and friends.
What advice would you give to a first-year teacher? The advice I would give to a first-year teacher is to never give up. Although at times your students, the school, the classroom and everything surrounding you might be uneasy or hard to keep up with, remember you can do it. Remember why you went into teaching and how what you are doing is impacting the youth of today and molding them into great citizens and young leaders.
How do you show school spirit? I enjoy putting together staff dances for variety shows, assemblies and fun times to get everyone together to show the students how great the staff is. I spend time with my student council to help plan events and activities for the school such as spirit weeks.
What is the most rewarding part of teaching? The most rewarding thing about teaching is watching my students achieve their goals and interact with their peers socially in their classes and to build relationships with my students.
What do you wish everyone realized about the work of a teacher? Teachers work hard, go above and beyond for their students and are there for each other when needed.
How do you recharge? I have lots of energy, so recharging comes all the time. I make sure to take care of myself and my family and remember I love what I do. That helps to fuel me every day.
How have you spent your summer breaks? During the summer I spend time with my husband and kids going to the zoo, museums, beach, baseball games, concerts, swimming, and traveling. I work at a Nature camp once a week in the summer and train educators in service learning a couple weeks out of the summer.