This month's winner:Megan Gotshall, Service Learning/Outreach Coordinator at Christ Lutheran School
What does a day in the life of a Service Learning & Outreach Coordinator look like?
At CLS, every grade level has a different service focus. For example, fourth grade is homelessness, fifth grade is the elderly, sixth grade is Veterans. My role is to bring in guest speakers, stories and experiences that help each grade learn about that group of people. Another part of my role is planning service projects and field trips in which the students/parents can participate.
My day can get crazy – I might be teaching a lesson, conducting an assembly, going on a field trip, or planning events. My admin team and the teachers at CLS are awesome because they let me try anything that they think the students will benefit from. They are very encouraging and supportive.
How long have you been teaching at CLS?
This is my fourth year at CLS. I taught third grade at Zion Lutheran School in San Francisco for five years. Having experience as a classroom teacher helped me understand how to integrate service projects and guest speakers into the school day and classroom curriculum. It also helped me learn how to communicate the awesome stories within our community.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Thailand. We were missionaries there when I was five to 13 years old. Living there for eight years really helped to open my eyes up to the world and how there are so many people in need, physically and spiritually. It helps remind me that there is so much out there to experience and unique stories and circumstances to see. I moved to Phoenix when I was 13 and went to Christ Lutheran School myself. It’s a fabulous school, and I’m grateful for the way God has unfolded my life.
Describe the Leadership Program at CLS.
Assistant Principal Suzanne Black developed the Leadership Program 11 years ago. Suzanne was a school parent and wanted to see if another opportunity could be provided for students who wanted to hone their leadership skills.
For the last four years, I have been responsible for Leadership Group, and it has evolved into a group that students in sixth-eighth grade can apply to be in if they would like to grow their leadership skills. We have meetings with speakers as well as projects like the Veterans Day Breakfast that we host where we serve around 50+ Veterans and hear their stories.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
My parents are both teachers. Pastor Jeff Schrank asked me to help at the CLS summer camp when I was in high school and that experience, being trusted with a leadership role and being given the opportunity to practice leading kids at a young age, helped me figure out that I was passionate about teaching children. My parents were great “teacher role models” for me and really showed me how to be a teacher that loves her students, their families and my school community.
What is your favorite part of teaching?
I love seeing students step out of their comfort zone and connect with someone at our service experiences. When I take fifth graders to the nursing home and see them engage with seniors and make conversation, or when a student walks up to a Veteran sitting alone at our Veterans Day Breakfast and starts talking with them, it fills my heart with joy. They might’ve changed someone else’s life by that act of bravery and love.