Megan Ivins: Robert Morris University Megan Ivins | Robert Morris University

Changing Lives

MEGAN_IVINS See Recent Update!

To some kids, a teddy bear is just another teddy bear. But to the kids I teach at Mooncrest, a new teddy bear means the world. 

I created a literacy program for impoverished kids. I would go once a week and work with students. Read books, do activities. My favorite moment was when I read the book the Legend of the Teddy Bear—about Theodore Roosevelt and the teddy bear. I sat in a rocking chair with the kids scattered around me. Such a good feeling. But we didn’t just read. I surprised the kids that day. 

Build a Bear donated 25 bears. After the book, the children got to build their own personal bears to take home. To most kids, this would be just another teddy bear sitting in their bedrooms. But to these kids, you could see the appreciation. Their eyes lit up. 

Last summer I worked at camp in Texas. Counseled 15 and 16-year old girls. I loved these girls. That age is such a hard time. I went through camp hoping I said one thing right to them the whole time. 

Two or three months later, a few of the girls sent me letters. They said I changed the direction of their lives. One girl didn’t have the courage to try out for a field hockey team—because of me, she’s now playing varsity. Awesome. 

My whole family is filled with teachers and educators. Believe it or not, I started out as a business major at RMU. When I was a business major, it was always a joke in my family – when would I be sucked into being an education major? They were waiting for me to stop being stubborn. Stubborn, I was. I was determined not to be a teacher because that’s what everyone expected of me. 

I finally bit the bullet. Stopped being stubborn. I decided to become a teacher. My mom always said to follow your gut. Then dive all in…and enjoy it. It’s been a blessing ever since. It just feels right. Kids are brutally honest. They always keep you on your toes. Keep you real. I love having honest and true people around me. 

My mom inspired me to become a teacher. She’s a strong woman. She’s always kept the family together. She taught me what hard work it is, but also about the benefits that outweighed it. It’s a struggle to be a good teacher, a good mom, a good wife and a good friend. She taught me how powerful it can be when you’re able to balance everything. 

Before Robert Morris University, I thought I knew a lot about who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I was wrong. Now, I’m truly inspired. I know I’m in the right place.

UPDATE ON MEGAN  

After graduating, Megan worked for a while as a live-in nanny for a Pittsburgh family. "I loved the family," she says, "but I wanted to pursue something different, and knew I was at an age where if I was going to make a big life change, this was the time to do it." 

Megan had a friend who already lived in Texas, so in June 2011 she decided to move to the Lone Star state and settle in Austin. "I moved on a three-day road trip with everything I owned in my Chevy Malibu. It was a humbling experience to put everything in your car and drive literally across the country, but it has been the best decision I've ever made." 

After working as a nanny again over the summer, Megan was accepted into the University of Texas at Austin, where she began working toward a master's in special education. That same day she landed a job as a teaching assistant for children with autism. It was a busy but rewarding year. "I completed my master's within a year while teaching full time. I loved the school I was working in, and getting my master's was so challenging and made me grow so much as an educator. I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge from both experiences." 

This past summer Megan got a job as a 6th-Grade world cultures teacher in the Austin Independent School District. "I could not be happier. This will be my first full-time teaching job, and though I have a few butterflies, I am more excited and overjoyed to finally be getting to do what I have always wanted. I feel like teaching is my passion, and I finally get to live out my passion every day." 

As for the future, Megan plans on staying in Austin for as long as possible, if not forever. "I love it here—the people, the music and, well, not freezing my butt off all winter long! I can confidently say…all is well since leaving RMU. I feel blessed for each and every step that has brought me here. It hasn't been easy, but it feels pretty amazing to be where I am at doing what I have always wanted."