TROY — It takes a dedicated kind of person to become a teacher and help their students grow and flourish with each passing year, and Mara Siegel is that kind of teacher.
Now the Intervention Specialist at Heywood Elementary School, Siegel grew up in Sidney and attended Bowling Green State University before graduating in December 2014 with a bachelor’s of education. She said she realized she wanted to be an intervention specialist as a teen.
“My sophomore year of high school I did a lot of hours at a preschool back home where they did inclusion,” she said. “I was working with my old preschool teacher. She made me kind of fall in love with the profession.”
She is licensed to cover all subjects and focuses on the first and second graders at Heywood. A typical day in her life is pretty crazy. In the morning she works with three groups before lunch and continues with the kids until 2:30 p.m.
“I’m very in and out,” she said. “I do a lot of inclusion and right now I do inclusion with my first graders and I pull out all my second graders.”
Inclusion is when Siegel goes into the classroom and works with the students who need help with a particular subject their class is working on. Behaviors of the kids vary between her first and second graders, which is one of the challenges.
“Seeing the growth in the kids is one of the best things,” she said. “From the first day even to now. I did my second round of testing this past Wednesday, and seeing how the kids have made progress is neat when we’ve only been back about 20 days.”
Siegel credited the teachers with welcoming her and helping her feel like part of the family, including her mentor and the two teachers she works alongside.
“I probably stop and meet with my mentor every day,” she said. “They help me instruction-wise, such as is it OK to do this, should I do that? She (her mentor) throws a lot of new ideas at me, and I learn a lot from being in the classroom with the teachers.”
She enjoys Heywood and the students and said her goal is to obtain a master’s degree in the next five years, as well as continue honing her skills with the kids.
“I want them to know me as that teacher that didn’t make them feel like they were coming here to do lower work, like they were doing on-grade work,” she said. “I want them to feel like they’re on the same level as their friends.”
Reach Allison C. Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Troydailynews.