Teacher Tuesday: LASD’s Melissa Ruboyianes

October 20, 2020

Melissa Ruboyianes, center, along with teachers Stephanie Stowe, left, and Cori Towns, right.

Teacher Tuesday: LASD’s Melissa Ruboyianes

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

By Kate Krieger, MCP Staff Writer.

LUDINGTON – Following in the footsteps of her mother and father, Stephanie and Dan Neil, Melissa (Neil) Ruboyianes comes from a long line of educators and couldn’t see herself doing anything else.

“I grew up watching my dad and mom pour their heart and soul into education and the Ludington Area School District,” she said.” “My mom was a begindergarten teacher. I spent a lot of time helping her prep activities or work in her classroom. That definitely was inspiring for me and also showed me the hard work I would need to put into being the kind of teacher I wanted to be. I knew I wanted to work with children and be able to do something in my life that created a positive impact on them. I guess I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, even from a young age.”

Ruboyianes is in her 17th year of teaching kindergarten. She is a veteran teacher of the LASD, teaching at Franklin Elementary School for 16 of those 17 years.

“I started my teaching career after college at Manistee Catholic Central where I taught kindergarten,” she said. “I worked there for one year and then I got a kindergarten job in Ludington. I have been in Ludington for 16 years, teaching kindergarten.”

A 1998 graduate of Ludington High School, Ruboyianes then went on to receive her teaching degree from Western Michigan University.

“I am a proud Oriole,” she said. “I graduated from Western Michigan University in 2003 with a degree in elementary education. Then I received my master’s degree in differentiated instruction from Grand Valley State University in 2012.”

Having parents in education sparked Ruboyianes’ love for reading at an early age and she loves to share her passion for reading and literacy with her students each, especially since they are in the beginnings of learning to read on their own.

“Teaching kindergarten is definitely an adventure each day,” Ruboyianes said. “I love the stories my ‘friends’ share with me and how they come to school so excited to learn. One of my favorite things each year is watching my students become readers and finding true joy in reading. It is like magic when it happens. I am blessed to have amazing co-workers that have become like family over the years as well. I am lucky I get to spend my days with some amazing teachers and students.”

Once children enter kindergarten, they are just starting their educational journey and the demands placed on young students is something Ruboyianes would like to see change, especially since this is the first years of many in a classroom for these students.

“If I could change anything about teaching today it would be to slow things down and let kids be kids,” she said. “Curriculum demands have changed so much over the years and it is so important that as an educator you find balance in what you have to do and what your students need. We are truly educating the whole child and it is important to take the time to meet all of their unique needs.”

Even though there are many struggles that come with being a teacher; seeing students fall behind, not knowing their home life situations, etc., Ruboyianes says the career is worth every heartache, along with all the successes because teachers can play such an important role in student’s lives, no matter what they are dealing with outside of the classroom.

“If I had to give advice to someone wanting to go into education, I would tell them to go for it,” she said. “There is something special about knowing you have the chance to impact a child in ways that will last forever. Teaching is hard work and teachers often give more time than is recognized beyond the school day. Be ready to pour your heart into your classroom because your students will definitely take a piece of your heart with them.”

One of the hardest things teachers across the world have been dealing with is COVID-19 and how it has changed teaching as a whole, whether in person or virtually.

“I am so happy to be back in the classroom with my students learning each day,” Ruboyianes said. “We need each other to make our learning meaningful. Kindergarten kids are so adaptable. They are doing great with all of our extra procedures and routines to keep our class healthy and clean. When school shut down this past spring it was definitely a change for me in how to deliver content and instruction to my students. I didn’t want to feel disconnected from them, so I had to find new ways to reach them. But, in all honesty, it helped me grow as an educator in so many ways. And that is teaching, growing and changing every day to meet the needs of your students.”

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