Spend a day in Megan Rojo’s classroom and you’ll see that she has found her calling. Some might even say that teaching is in her DNA. The daughter of two educators, Rojo was determined to carve a different path in life. Yet the gravitational pull toward the classroom was too hard to ignore.
“I was a pre-med major in college, but after shadowing in a classroom one day, I knew teaching was the profession for me,” says Rojo (B.A., College of Liberal Arts, UT Austin ’09; MEd, Bilingual, Bicultural Education, Texas State University ’11). “Since I started, I’ve worked with underrepresented youth in urban, title 1 schools, which is my passion. It is so gratifying to know my work is making a difference in someone’s life.”
Since joining UT Elementary School (UTES) in 2012, Rojo has been helping students embrace the wide, wondrous world of mathematics, turning even the most reluctant learners into skilled number crunchers. Now as the math intervention specialist (grades 3-5), she is working with students in small groups to get them back on grade level. She also provides professional support to the school’s math team.
The best part of the job, she says, is building relationships with students and watching them learn and grow throughout the semester.
“Last semester made the biggest impact on my life,” Rojo adds. “I became the homeroom teacher midyear to students who had experienced different types of trauma and didn’t trust a lot of adults. There were struggles and we had many ups and downs, but I built a great relationship with each and every one of those students.”
At a school that focuses on the total wellbeing of the child, Rojo incorporates social-emotional learning into her teachings. The result, she says, is truly remarkable.
“Although I was the math teacher, there were many days when I scrapped the lessons to teach social and emotional skills and have classroom meetings,” Rojo says. “The transformation I saw in all of the students was extraordinary. Students would come in excited to do math stations and by the end of the year, every single student improved their math benchmark scores. Those kids will always hold a special place in my heart.”