Hoosier natives and Marian University seniors Megan Bell and Morgan Keenan have a lot in common.
Both members of the Class of 2018, the roommates are elementary education majors who have been included on the Dean’s List every semester.
Both have part-time jobs at St. Richard’s Episcopal School, where each works in the early childhood extended day program. They teach a pre-school curriculum that includes exposure to art, dance, swimming, tennis, basketball, and other activities. They plan lessons, manage their own classrooms, supervise organized activities, and build relationships with a diverse group of students and parents.
The two are also active in Kappa Delta Pi (KDP). Megan, who is double-majoring in special education, is president of Marian’s 2017-18 chapter, while Morgan serves as vice president.
With 1.2 million initiated members, KDP is an international honor society that fosters excellence in education. It supports quality learning for all students by helping teachers adopt research-based best practices, continue professional growth, assume leadership roles, and become highly skilled master teachers.
As Megan and Morgan prepare for final exams and graduation, they shared some thoughts about their KDP experience.
What did Marian’s KDP chapter achieve this year?
MEGAN: We partnered with Cold Spring School, an Indianapolis magnet school for environmental studies, on a semester-long pen pal project to help first graders develop writing and communication skills. At the end of the semester, we hosted a gathering so pen pals could meet in person. We also worked with the school on Literacy Alive!, a community service initiative to promote importance of reading and building literacy skills. We selected books that described life in other countries, discussed their unique cultures and customs, coordinated hands-on learning activities, and provided snacks. My country was France, so my partner and I read from a children’s book called A Poodle in Paris, taught elementary-level French vocabulary words, and shared crepes and eclairs.
MORGAN: Our theme was “Passport to Literacy.” We created stations for each country and students spent 30 minutes at each station. When time was up, we stamped their “passports” to show where each student had “traveled.” Since I have Irish roots and 12 years of Irish dance experience, my partner and I did a lesson on Ireland. We read from a book on Irish culture and talked about Irish history. For our activity, I taught students how to dance the jig and we brought soda bread for the kids to sample. Here on campus, we hosted a silent book auction that was a big fundraiser for our chapter. We held the auction in Alumni Hall, where students, faculty, and staff bid on new and gently used children’s books to use in their future classrooms and give to family or friends.
How has being a KDP member helped you prepare for your teaching career?
MEGAN: I want to work with elementary students who have severe and profound special education needs, so I was excited to be one of eight KDP officers from Marian who traveled to Pittsburgh for the annual convocation* last year. The program included 150 different educational sessions and workshops. For me, some of the most interesting sessions were related to brain and cognitive development in kids who have experienced physical trauma or were born with learning challenges. Attending this event was a great learning and networking opportunity. Many of the speakers and panelists were nationally recognized educators and, in total, I think there were about 1,000 people in attendance.
*Editorial note: The 2018 KDP annual convocation will be held this November in Indianapolis.
MORGAN: This was the second time I was able to attend convocation and I absolutely loved it! There were so many sessions to choose over the course of three days. Most of us chose different topics during the morning and afternoon sessions. Then we got together each evening to share and discuss what we learned. Some of the sessions I chose focused on student advocacy, project-based learning, and how to have a successful first year of full-time teaching. My favorite was actually led by Dr. Susie Beesley, a Marian faculty member. She discussed the work of Eric Carle, an award-winning writer and illustrator whose work has been translated into 62 languages, and how to use it throughout an elementary curriculum.
What advice do you have for high school students who are thinking about majoring in education?
MEGAN: Becoming a teacher will be the most rewarding career choice you can make. Seeing your students achieve more than they ever thought possible is an amazing experience, both for teachers and students. Being a teacher means you have an opportunity to educate and make a positive impact on children with the potential to change our world and our future. So while you’re in high school, work hard and do the best that you can because it will pay off when you begin college.
MORGAN: I was hesitant to choose a major in college. In fact, I didn’t really like the idea of choosing one career for the rest of my life. But after I met and talked with some of Marian’s education faculty, took my first education class, and began making friends with my fellow education majors, I knew I had made the right choice. If you are undecided about what major is right for you, consider taking an education class—you have nothing to lose and you might find you love it, just like I did. And no matter what major you decide to choose, take advantage of resources like KDP while you’re in college. I’ve made so many lifelong friendships and learned so much because I got involved. I’ve participated in countless professional development opportunities through KDP will help me tremendously in my career.
After they graduate in May, both Megan and Morgan plan to get a few years of full-time teaching experience before they go back to school in a part-time program to earn a master’s degree in education.
Learn more about the Klipsch Educators College and Marian University’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education at marian.edu/education.