Nevada County teacher of the year
Multi-tasking English, journalism and yearbook teacher Megan Ross — who returned to her alma mater, Bear River High School, two years ago — has been selected as the Nevada County Teacher of the Year.
Bear River Principal Jim Nieto said Ross has been an integral part of the Bear River campus and English department and she always has a positive attitude.
“She’s really done an outstanding job. The newspaper and yearbook have won awards over the past several years and she just makes a great contribution to our students and campus,” he said. “One of the things that makes her unique is that her passions were established when she was a student. She was the yearbook editor and she’s got a lot of prior experience to teaching those kinds of things. I think our kids are genuinely fortunate to have her.”
Ross said such experience in the subjects she teaches helps students.
“It’s fun, especially in classes like yearbook and journalism where I say, ‘I’ve done this. I’ve been there and had to write on deadline and do interviews. I’ve had the computer go out on me seconds before I had to print a story,’” she said. “I think it’s cool when you can teach from that real-world experience and get that human side. When they say ‘When are we going to use this?’ and I can tell them.”
Ross worked at The Union and KNCO while she was a student at Bear River. She majored in journalism at California State University, Chico, and was chosen as one of the top 10 sports journalism students in the country and attended a sports editors convention by Associated Press.
“Every day, we spent the day writing and doing interviews and we did a newspaper that would be on their doorstep every morning,” Ross said.
“Each student was selected to have an internship somewhere in the country,” Ross explained, adding she interned at the Houston Chronicle and covered sports from the high school and college to professional level.
From there, she worked at the Cleveland Plain Dealer in the sports department in the summer, then graduated from Chico State with a bachelor’s in journalism in 2000.
She later covered high school sports with the Oakland Tribune, where she was given the idea to work as a teacher when one of the coaches complimented her work with kids and she was offered a teaching job.
Ross worked by day as a part-time yearbook teacher and at night on the copy desk at the Tribune. The following year, she became a full-time journalism teacher.
Ross received her single subject English credential from Chapman University in 2004 and a master’s degree in English in 2010 from National University.
She taught seventh and eighth grade English, yearbook, journalism and digital media from August 2002 to June 2005 and eighth grade English, drama and AVID from January 2008 to June 2008 at Thomas S. Hart Middle School in Pleasanton.
She taught ninth grade English at Foothill High School in Pleasanton from August 2005 to June 2006 and then she moved back to Nevada County.
She taught English 3, AVID and yearbook at Ghidotti Early College High School from August 2008 to June 2010, and began teaching at Bear River in August 2010.
Returning to work at the school she graduated from has been interesting and fun, she said.
“It’s neat to come back and be at my alma mater teaching there and being a part of that vibe,” she said, adding her focus as a teaching is on building relationships with students.
“I’m happy. It’s fun to get to do the classes where it’s not quite so academic. Kids walk away with tons of practical knowledge and skills, but you can really build that rapport and relationships with kids and watch them grow,” she said.
“I think it’s about having a good combination of good classroom management, but never taking yourself too seriously. It’s about being a human in front of these kids and teaching them,” she said.
“This generation of kids especially have grown up on electronics and iPods, so they have to like you for you to get through to them and try to get them interested in what Shakespeare wrote in the 1500s.”
Ross has three children with competitive mountain biker and Union Hill Elementary teacher Chuck Ross — Gavin, 11, Chloe, 9 and Zackary, 8. Ross is also active in Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, which Chloe and Zackary are involved with, respectively.
Ross was named the 2013 Bear River High School Teacher Who Makes a Difference and was encouraged to apply for Teacher of the Year.
“I just did not expect to win it at all,” she said, adding she was on vacation in Ashland, Ore., when she was told she won. “It was neat to be relaxing and hanging out and then get the call.
“My philosophy tends to go with the fact you have to have good rapport with your students. That always comes first,” she said. “Teaching is more than just standing up and lecturing kids. It’s about making connections and forming relationships. Just being a part of their lives.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4230.
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