In a tight job market, Kaitlin Meyer landed a coveted full-time position teaching math and earth science to special education students at Walt Whitman High School.

by Ela Schwartz

“I felt like I was in a discussion with my [Adelphi] professors, not just being taught by them.”—Kaitlin Meyer ’12, M.A.’13

For someone who has been out of school for scarcely a year, Kaitlin Meyer ’12, M.A. ’13, has certainly covered a lot of ground. Not only has she run many miles as part of the Adelphi University cross country team, but her influence also stretches far beyond Long Island––all the way to an orphanage in Kenya, where children can follow her example thanks to the 700 pairs of sneakers she collected for them. And, in a tight job market, she landed a coveted full-time position teaching math and earth science to special education students at Walt Whitman High School in Huntington Station, New York.

Her secret to success? “Know what you’re doing,” she said.

She considers the education she received in the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education instrumental in her securing a full-time teaching job fresh out of graduate school. “We learned the Common Core standards and were updated on what we should be teaching,” she said.

In addition, Ms. Meyer said she learned how to adapt her teaching methods to suit the learning styles of her students. “Some kids are visual; others are hands-on,” she said. “But every kid can learn.”

Ms. Meyer said she initially chose Adelphi for the Scholar Teacher Education Program––a unique five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s degree program that prepares candidates to teach at the childhood (grades 1–6) and adolescent (grades 7–12) levels. Adelphi also appealed to her because of its cross country and track teams, the Garden City campus was close to her hometown of Farmingville, New York, and her identical twin sister, Kristen, came to Adelphi to study nursing.

“After I started, I realized I loved the small classes,” Kaitlin Meyer said. “I felt like I was in a discussion with my teachers, not just being taught by them.”

Ms. Meyer always knew she wanted to be a teacher. She pursued a bachelor’s degree in mathematics because, she said, “I always loved math, and it was one of my stronger subjects.” When she volunteered with the Rolling Thunder Special Needs Program for challenged athletes, she was teamed with a young boy with autism. The experience motivated her to get certified to teach special education.

She found Anne Mungai, Ph.D., the director of Adelphi’s adolescent and childhood special education program, to be “passionate about teaching and children.” Ms. Meyer was so inspired by Dr. Mungai’s work establishing an orphanage and school in Kenya that she began collecting sneakers for the kids. Ms. Meyer soon got friends, family and neighbors involved and collected more than 700 pairs.

Ms. Meyer said she would love to visit the orphanage someday, but, in terms of working as a teacher, she’ll stay right where she is. “When a kid says, ‘Now I get it; now I understand,’ it’s very rewarding,” she said.

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