Mixing creativity with learning is how one Stanley-Boyd teacher makes a difference in her classroom. Megan Litwiller grew up in a small town in Northwest Illinois where she lived with her dad, mom …
Mixing creativity with learning is how one Stanley-Boyd teacher makes a difference in her classroom. Megan Litwiller grew up in a small town in Northwest Illinois where she lived with her dad, mom and brother. After completing her degree in Elementary Education and Special Education at Ball State University in 2022, Megan moved to Eau Claire, where she currently lives with her boyfriend, Kyle and her cat, Poe. Fresh out of college and unfamiliar with the area, Litwiller started applying to schools all around in the hopes of finding a job. “Stanley reached out and when I interviewed there, I knew it was a great fit. I love the people I work with and all of the students. It’s such a great community!”
Megan was inspired to become a teacher at a young age by the great educational influences around her. Her mother was a special education teacher for twenty-two years and Megan spent a lot of time in her classroom growing up.
“Seeing how much she cared for her students inspired me to want to work in education. She was a great teacher and a great role model for me,” Litwiller commented. “I have wanted to be a teacher since I was very young. I remember dressing up as a teacher for career day in elementary school! I cannot imagine being anything other than a teacher!”
As a Kindergarten teacher, Litwiller now inspires her students with her own creativity and enthusiasm. She shared that she chose to become a teacher because she wanted to make a difference in her students’ lives.
“Being a teacher, you get to have a significant role in a child’s life. Even if I can make a lasting impact on just one student a year, it adds up. I think that is really awesome,” she said.
Megan’s favorite part of being a teacher is her students. She remarked, “I love being able to cheer them on through life and seeing how much they grow. Getting to see students accomplish something they have been working so hard towards is one of the best feelings in the world. I want them to feel proud of themselves.”
Education and teaching can go both ways. Megan commented that her students teach her just as much as she teaches them. “I learn something new from my students every day! The best thing I have taken from my students is to just be your silly, fun self. These amazing 5- and 6-year-olds keep me laughing and smiling all day long. Days and daily tasks are much more fun when you’re laughing!”
Any students lucky enough to have Megan as their teacher have experienced her thoughtfulness and compassion. “The thing I want all my parents to know is how much I care and appreciate each student,” she said. “My goal is not just to teach them to read and write. I want each of them to end the year a more confident person with leadership skills.” She said that for many teachers, teaching is more than a job, it’s a passion and their students are always in their thoughts. “Just because they are not on the clock does not mean they are not often thinking about how they can help their students,” she remarked.
Litwiller explained that play is very important in the development of kindergarteners where many important lessons and life skills are taught. She commented, “I love the moments we can take some time to have playtime together. When it is playtime, I am right there playing with them. The sand table, Legos, magnet tiles, dinosaurs, and cars are some of our favorite activities.”
Megan shared one of her favorite activities that her class completes every year around Thanksgiving time. “We talk about what it means to be thankful. To introduce the word, I make a poster with a reason I am thankful for each of them. They get so excited to hear their name and the reason! After I read it to them, I give them the opportunity to come up with things they are thankful for and share them. They often say they are thankful for each other, and it is a really good feeling.” She finished, “The room always feels warm and fuzzy after this activity!”
Growing up, dance was a huge part of Megan’s life. She began dancing at her local dance studio and in high school she danced on her school’s dance team. “I started dancing when I was three! I was always dancing around the house as a child, so my mom decided to sign me up for dance. I loved it from day one and it has continued to be a big part of my life for twenty years,” she explained. It comes as no surprise that Megan joined local dance studio, Releve Dance Company as an instructor where she teaches classes twice a week. “It has been so fun seeing students from school excel outside of the classroom too.”
Being a dance instructor, creative expression seeps into Litwiller’s classroom as well where learning goes hand in hand with movement. “I love to incorporate dance into learning whenever possible! We do many movement breaks and dance every morning during our morning greeting song. When working on a project, I will often turn on music for students to listen and dance to while they work,” Megan shared.
Megan stated that besides dance, two of her favorite things are reading and music. “Mystery books with big twists are my favorite,” she said and mentioned that her favorite books are “Mad Honey” by Jodi Picoult and “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty. Megan is passing on her love of reading to her students as she reads to them every day. “During snack time, I enjoy reading “The Magic Treehouse” book series to the class. My students this year love these books!”
She also enjoys listening to a wide variety of genres and artists in music and especially attending music festivals. When asked what her favorite music festival is, Megan answered, “Lollapalooza! My best friend and I go together each summer.”
In addition to reading, dancing, and music, some of Megan’s other hobbies include, puzzles, sewing, and traveling. Her favorite vacation was going to Hawaii with her family after her high school graduation in 2018. “It is such a beautiful place! There is so much to do there. We were there for 10 days and still did not get everything in.” She added, “I would go back in a heartbeat!”
While teaching is a very rewarding profession, it also comes with its fair share of obstacles and Megan mentioned that her first year of teaching was very challenging for her. “I grew so much in that first year and still have much more room for improvement. The biggest challenge for me has been classroom management and implementation of routines and procedures.” She observed, “Until you are in your own classroom and experiencing a school year on your own, it is hard to envision exactly how you want your classroom to run. It is a skill that comes with experience and some trial and error.” Megan is excited to share in the rest of this school year’s adventures with her students. “I am so excited to see the growth of each student. One of the best parts about being a teacher is seeing the progress students start making from day one.”