Teaching helps this former COM student shape the futures of young children

Megan Murillo is a world changer.

The 2007 graduate of Santa Fe High School is a second-year pre-kindergarten paraprofessional at Roy J. Wallom Elementary School, where she helps youngsters learn the foundations of reading, writing and comprehension.

She also instills a love of learning, values and morals that will serve her students well throughout their lifetimes.

Megan had dreams of becoming a dentist until being a mother changed her direction for good.

After high school, she took classes at College of the Mainland, got married and had two boys. As she observed what her children’s pre-school teachers did and the impact they made on her children, Megan realized she wanted to do the same.

She enrolled a second time at COM, this time entering the college’s Associate of Arts in Teaching program. After two semesters, she earned a certificate that allowed her to work as a paraprofessional.

This fall, her love of teaching will take her to the University of Houston-Clear Lake where she will work to complete a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s. Her goal is to teach math or science in an area high school someday.

“Right now, I love every part of my day,” Megan says. “I get to the school about 7:30 each morning so I can be among the first to see my students. It’s important for children to love going to school.”

Megan works beside a degreed pre-kindergarten teacher to help her class of 22 get the most out of every day.

“My favorite part is reading to the children,” she says. “I love watching them take an interest and engage through a story.”

She can even tell you her favorite children’s book—Big Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, illustrated by Eric Carle.

Good teachers come from various backgrounds, interests and skills, Megan affirms.

“Teaching is very rewarding,” she says. “I’ve met teachers who had other careers but switched to teaching because they found it more meaningful. A good teacher can help a child love learning and point them toward their future.”

And though teachers have various aptitudes, good ones are patient, have compassion, and “get to know” and understand their students, she says.

“Not every child learns the same way; some come from home problems and stresses of their own. A good teacher will get to know and understand their students and find ways to help each one learn.

“COM helped me prepare for what I do,” she says. “The program gave me an opportunity to observe classes at all grade levels.”

Now that she is teaching, does Megan miss her “original dream” of being a dentist?

“Maybe on paydays,” she laughs. “But I’ve found what I love, a place to make a difference. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”