To be in education means being able to not only offer information to students but to offer it to them in a way they can understand and apply to their own lives.
Discovering the best way to bring science to life is the goal of new RVMS seventh and eighth grade teacher Michael Meeker.
Meeker said his goal is not just to sit in front of the classroom lecturing the students but to give them opportunities for hands-on learning to help them see how what they are learning applies to life around them.
Meeker, who grew up in Mantorville and graduated from high school in 2004 said he already knew in second grade he was going to be a teacher.
There was one factor in particular he said led him in that direction.
“I grew up influenced by a lot of male teachers,” he said, adding he realized that was pretty rare, which led him to decide there was a need for more male influences in education.
“I know it might sound cliche, but I really like to help people,” Meeker said.
His goal is to do his best to change the education system from the traditional approach to education to more of an effort that meets the students where they are and teaches them as individuals in the way they learn best.
After high school, Meeker attended the Mankato campus of Minnesota State University where he earned a degree in elementary education with a specialty in math and science. He then took his first job in Austin teaching second grade.
While he was able to teach some science in that setting, his ultimate goal was to at least try teaching science all day.
So, he opted to make a move that, he admits, is a bit extreme, as he has moved from teaching some of the youngest students under the auspices of his K-8 teaching licensure to the oldest.
Meeker said he always enjoyed math and science, adding part of the reason for that is there was always a right answer and a process to finding it.
As one who has a love for the outdoors, Meeker’s change to teach life science and earth science at RVMS is ideal.
When making the decision to move from Austin, where he had taught for four years, to a new location, Meeker said he and his wife, Jessica, wanted to find a small-town setting that demonstrated support as a community for its people. Meeker said they found that in Redwood Falls. Of course, having his wife from the area certainly helped, too.
“People here have been super supportive,” he said, adding he felt that support during his interview. “Some of the questions they asked really showed me this was a caring place.”
Page 2 of 2 - So, they made the move.
Meeker said the experience he has had in the community and the school has been positive, and he said he is having a good time in his new classroom setting.
“I like the new schedule,” he said, adding he likes that he is able to work with both seventh and eighth graders splitting up his time between the two science subjects.
Meeker admitted as a kid he was a bit more reserved, but he said through 4-H he was able to gain the kinds of skills as a leader and public speaker that gave him the confidence he needed to become an educator.
“Because of my 4-H experiences I believe I am a better teacher,” he said.
Considering himself a lifelong learner, Meeker has earned a masters degree in educational leadership, and someday in the future he may end up continuing that education toward gaining a principal licensure.
“I am always reading the latest research to see how I can be a better teacher,” he said, adding he not only wants to help his students learn the material but to see they can have fun doing it.