February 16, 2024

In the public eye: Manchester School teacher inspires students to love reading

Editor’s note: This is another in an ongoing series of Windham and Raymond town employee profiles.

By Ed Pierce

Meg Sparrow believes that a great teacher is a compass that activates the magnets of curiosity, wonder, and wisdom in her students and it’s what she does every day in her duties as a Fifth-Grade classroom teacher at Manchester School in Windham.

Meg Sparrow has taught fifth
grade at Manchester School
in Windham since 2017 and
shares her love for reading
on a daily basis with 
her students.
Sparrow has taught at Manchester School since 2017 and says that sharing her love of reading with her students makes a difference.

“So many kids start fifth grade saying that they don’t like books,” Sparrow said. “I love that I can share my love of reading with them. Some of my favorite books we read are ‘ReStart,’ ‘Hoot,’ and ‘The City of Ember.’ I really enjoy getting students engaged and excited about reading. Students are always begging to read just a little bit more and at the end of the book I’m so happy to hear that they loved the book.”

Among her duties are reviewing important student data in areas such as academic, attendance, and behavior and student work to inform and create lesson plans, including intervention and enrichment. She also grades assignments, collects and shares evidence of student learning, accumulates data and perspectives, collaborates with Manchester School staff to develop and implement authentic, engaging units of instruction.

She also creates and promotes meaningful relationships with students and families while fostering a sense of belonging, engages in work that improves student academic learning and outcomes, communicates with families, and actively engages in professional learning communities.

The job is challenging, and Sparrow said that is because there are such varying differences among all her students.

“Each student has unique strengths, interests, and backgrounds. As a teacher, I want to make sure that I tailor every lesson in a way that every student feels engaged and can participate in a meaningful way,” she said. “This requires a deep understanding of each student, constant adaptation, and the ability to meet the needs of each individual student.”

According to Sparrow, the greatest misconception people may have about her work is that some think that teachers can just use the same lessons year after year.

“This is not true because students’ needs change from year to year. Modifying instruction to meet the needs of a diverse student body is a huge responsibility that I take seriously,” she said. “Teaching is not a one-size-fits-all profession and I’m not just a teacher imparting knowledge, but I act as a mentor and role model for my fifth graders, preparing them for the challenges of the future. Every day is different, and I always need to be able to think on my feet and adapt when necessary. As teachers, we’re always thinking about our students and teaching, and it doesn’t stop when the school day ends. The ongoing dedication beyond school hours are important aspects of the teaching profession that many do not understand. Teaching is a multifaceted and demanding profession.”

Sparrow grew up in New Jersey and went to college at the University of New Hampshire where she majored in Family Studies and minored in Education. After earning a master’s degree in education from the University of Southern Maine, she worked as a preschool teacher for a few years after college.

“I was an Education Tech for a middle and high school in Cumberland and North Yarmouth,’ Sparow said. “I worked as a classroom teacher for grades 3-5 in Freeport for six years before I moved to Windham and took time off to have children. After I had children, I took a break from teaching to stay home and raise them. When my youngest was 2 1/2, I decided it was time to go back to teaching. I was really eager to teach in the same town that I live in because I wanted to be close to my children and an active part of the community.”

She said that her husband and kids are very supportive of her teaching career and her two daughters love that their mom is a teacher at school with them.

The most important thing she says she’s learned while working for Manchester School is that it truly does take a village to educate amazing kids.

“We all work together to create a safe, engaging, and nurturing environment for the student body,” Sparrow said. “It is a collaborative effort by all employees of the school district, the families, and community.” <

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