|Alumni Spotlight: Special Education Teacher Meagan Hammerbacker|
Meagan Hammerbacker City Year Miami '11-'12 Special Education Teacher, Automotive High School
As a Special Education teacher in Automotive Technical High School, Meagan said the discipline and rigor of City Year – although she didn't always like it – has made her a better employee and teacher to her students. "(At City Year) there were mornings you didn't want to first circle, but you did it anyway – it made you more resilient; it made you a stronger person. I didn't really understand what discipline meant in the beginning, but now I understand that I’m a disciplined employee and it’s making me more successful.”
Meagan served with City Year Miami as a literacy interventionist for ninth graders at Carol City Senior High School in 2011-12. Originally from Spanish Harlem, Meagan, an art sculpture graduate from Binghamton University, took the plunge to do her City Year in Miami, FL after hearing about the program through a friend. She said the experience was imperative to her personal and professional development.
"We (my team and I) had a really strong bond. There were people who tested my patience, which taught me that as I grew into my career, there would be people I’d have to be patient with; and my team leader really pushed me. I’m from New York and I have an attitude. My PM (Program Manager) Anthony Teague taught me how to calm myself and how to be professional with everyone.”
After City Year Miami, Meagan returned to New York where she attended a one year master’s program to teach high school at Hunter College. Today, pregnant with her first child, she is a full time special education teacher at Automotive High School teaching English and Geometry to 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders. She said her professional teaching career was directly shaped by her work at City Year.
"Working at City Year opened up my eyes to what we’re dealing with. We can talk about graduation rates, but the biggest issue is reading levels -- (and) preparing them for college and telling them what going to college really even means. … It’s because of CY I chose to work with the special ed population, because they are the ones that need the most help.”