Teacher Tuesday: Amy Mesyar, a passion for special education.

September 8, 2020

Amy Mesyar with her son, Brad.

Teacher Tuesday: Amy Mesyar, a passion for special education.

Teacher Tuesday is a presentation of Shelby State Bank, www.shelbystatebank.com.

By Kate Krieger, MCP Staff Writer.

LUDINGTON – West Shore Educational Service District teacher, Amy Mesyar has a strong passion for special education and her students.

“I started teaching second trimester of 1997,” she said. “I started working at Mason County Central Middle School, where I taught special education. I have also worked for Ludington Area Schools, where I taught third and fourth grade special education and second grade.”

Mesyar is a graduate of Ludington High School and she knew from a young age she wanted to attend college and seek a teaching degree.

“I went to West Shore Community College and then transferred to Calvin College (now University) where I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in special education,” she said. “I went on to attend Grand Valley State University, where I graduated with my master’s degree in educational leadership.”

Wanting to work with students who had special needs, Mesyar turned to one of her teachers to help her.

“I had grown up around students with special needs and I really enjoyed that,” she said. “I asked Mr. (Mike) Robinson if he could help me and he set me up with an internship at the ESD while I attended West Shore Community College. This was so helpful and really sealed the deal on me wanting to go into special education.”

After working in the public schools as a special education teacher, Mesyar then received a job with the ESD and she’s been working there for eight years.

“I work in a special education preschool classroom,” she said. “I work with students who have some amazing strengths as well as some needs that may require some extra attention in one or more areas. Any student in our classroom may qualify for speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work, or just need some additional time for development.”

Working with very young students, Mesyar said she has a lot of exciting times in her classroom, especially when she gets to witness the children excel at something new or hearing positive news from the student’s parents about things they are now accomplishing at home.

“I love getting to work with the students, but I also love getting to know their parents and the co-workers I have as well,” she said. “It’s really exciting when a student accomplishes something for the first time. It’s great to watch their faces light up when we call their parents.”

Mesyar said that there are a lot of rewards that come with teaching children and those with special needs, but she also stated that there are some downfalls to the profession.

“I really don’t like the amount of time I spend on paperwork,” she said. “I know some of it is necessary, but I feel some is repetitive.”

Although there are parts of the job that can be stressful and not-so-rewarding, Mesyar said without understanding the entire job as a whole, students looking to seek a special education degree wouldn’t get the full understanding of the job and what they’re walking into when entering a classroom.

“This is a rewarding profession,” she said. “Students have so much love to give and they’re so proud when they show growth. I would recommend using the program available at their high school (when possible with the pandemic) to volunteer in an area they have an interest in. I see many openings for employment each year.”

Mesyar started back to school for the 2020-2021 school year and she still has some concerns about everything happening due to COVID-19.

“We did our best with what we had, but it was frustrating at times,” she said. “Parents were working hard at home, with their own jobs, and with other children in the house. There was so much new information with the pandemic, that throwing the educational things at them was pretty overwhelming in March. Hopefully we have had time to adjust and will work through this transition together with positivity.”

Even though there has been a lot of ups and downs these last months for educators, Mesyar stated that the goods outweigh the bad and she has a lot of memories from her time teaching in Mason County so far and one memory sticks out in her mind when she discusses her teaching experiences.

“When I went to Foster School, Mr. (Jerry) Erickson was my principal,” she said. “He also hired me to teach at Foster Elementary and had a little ceremony to give me my first paycheck as my boss which was something I’ll always remember.”

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