Teacher, University Park Campus School, Worcester
Meghan Rosa’s mother is a high school teacher in Attleboro, Mass., and three of her star students went on to the same school: Clark University.
“She thought there must be something magic about Clark for attracting these three seemingly different but equally thoughtful and original students, so she encouraged me to apply,” Rosa says.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that Meghan Rosa not only studied at Clark, but that she now leads her own classroom as a high school teacher at the University Park Campus School in Worcester’s Main South neighborhood, where she is now preparing students for their own college experiences.
“Academically, I came away from undergrad with a clear understanding that there was some stuff in the world that needed fixing,” Rosa says. But that doesn’t mean she was predestined to become a teacher. At a school that preaches the power of challenging convention, pursuing a career education seemed too, well, conventional.
“Teaching was too much of an obvious choice, and I didn’t want to do the thing that everybody expected me to do,” she says. “However, when it came time to consider my life after college graduation, I couldn’t really see myself doing anything else. I love kids and I love school. It only made sense.”
Every day in her classes — a packed slate that includes 7th grade literacy, 10th grade AP English Language & Composition, 11th and 12th grade journalism, and 12th grade honors English — Rosa embraces the daunting task of engaging students of myriad abilities and backgrounds. Not all are so easily inspired.
“Motivating students — to do work, to do work well, to take risks — is a daily challenge,” she acknowledges. “It’s different for every assignment and every kid, but through lots of trial and error I’ve found that emphasizing the particular student’s strengths, instead of his or her weaknesses, as is commonplace in academia, tends to work.”
The payback of her efforts is tangible.
“The first seventh graders I ever taught back as a student-teacher are now my current seniors. They’ve come so far in their six years at the school. We’re like a family now and it’s so fun to be with them in their final year and to see them off to college.”