We’re delighted to introduce you to Megan Mann.
Megan is a media tech specialist who has spent the past five years connecting kids with books at Jefferson Elementary in Hammond, Indiana. She’ll be our host when the bus stops by Jefferson next October.
Megan was kind enough to tell us a bit about her school. Her words paint a picture of the constant challenges faced by Title I educators—and the generosity of spirit they bring to the challenge of serving their students.
WHAT GETS YOU OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?
I love when I finish reading a book and know exactly which student I can give it to. There’s nothing better than when they come back into the library and say, “Miss Mann, I LOVED this book, what else do you have for me?” Books have always been my greatest treasure, and now I get to turn my school’s library into a treasure chest with a giant X on it for all of the students here.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL MAKES YOU PROUDEST?
The sheer tenacity of our staff. I’m constantly impressed by the little moments that prove they care so much about the students.
WHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL’S GREATEST CHALLENGE?
It’s always funding and not being heard. We live in a state where education isn’t exactly treated fairly, and it’s devastating. It’s not fair to these kids who just want to learn, and it’s not fair to the staff members who just want to do their damndest to make sure that happens.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP PRIORITIES IF YOUR SCHOOL HAD MORE FUNDING?
Making sure our staff had adequate materials. We rely heavily on the kindness of others via Amazon wishlists and digging into our own pockets for a good deal of our classroom materials. If we had more funding, I’d have a stockpile of extra clothes, coats, hats, and gloves for those who can’t come prepared or have accidents.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SCHOOL TRADITIONS?
I’m a big fan of literacy night and trunk or treat. Really, anything that brings together staff, students, and parents outside of the classroom. It gives us all a chance to shed that weird layer of formality during school hours and just have FUN.
WHAT’S SOMETHING FUN OR QUIRKY ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL?
All of our district schools are named for presidents. That’s quirky, right?
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BUS TOUR WILL MEAN TO YOUR STUDENTS?
Oh my god. What won’t it mean to these kids? We’re in a lower income district and most of these kids come to the book fair with five dollars hoping for $15 books. Breaking their hearts is so hard. Especially after the last school year and now this school year when everything has been taken from them… I know this will thrill them and give them something to look forward to and talk about for weeks before and after. I mean, a busload of books?! They’ll moon over it!