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The one who changed her course

IMG_5880.JPGBy Nick Stanojevic
Staff Writer
Parents have struggled to get their young kids to clean their rooms. Often, parents need to turn off the TV or hide the Barbie dolls and raise their voices in order to get their kids to simply clean their rooms. To get a young Megan Knight to clean her room, on the other hand, was easy.  Take away her book and put it on top of the fridge where she can’t reach it.
As a child growing up in the Ohio suburbs, Knight adored English, yet never desired to be an English teacher.
“I swore up and down that I wouldn’t be a teacher because my mom was one,” Knight said.
Instead, Knight aimed at living the life of her idol, Wilma Smith. Smith was an award winning news anchor from Ohio.
Knight originally attended Kent State University for a broadcast-journalism degree.  Knight fully planned on pursuing a job as a news anchor. Freshman year at Kent State, there was an opening for a spot on the local news team. Knight showed up to the audition, but she was not alone.
“There were over 200 people there, and these people had voice coaches and stylists and I realized there that this wasn’t for me,” Knight said.
During the summer ensuing her freshman year, Knight had to decide what she was going to major in and ultimately, what to do with her life.
It wasn’t until Knight had a long phone conversation with her former English teacher, Mrs. Knific, that she realized she wanted to be a teacher.
Knific and Knight had a lot in common when they were at these points in their lives. Knific, originally a business major, would constantly sign up for English classes whenever she would receive the course booklet from college. Knight, a broadcast-journalism major, did the same thing.
Knight hasn’t forgotten Knific or Knific’s advice. In fact, Knight still keeps a black binder beneath her window sill, next to her desk. The binder is full of her work from high school that was graded by Knific. All of the work was typed on an electrical typewriter.
The next thing Knight needed to do was confess her new aspiration to her mother.
“She pretty much said, ‘I told you so’,” Mrs. Knight recalls after admitting her future plans to her mother.
Her mother, Roberta Brickman, never pushed Knight to be a teacher, but always believed she would make a great one.
“She  was always a good student, loved school, had a great personality for teaching and enjoyed having the summer off,” Brickman said.
Once Knight had decided her future, she stuck with it. She went on to get a Bachelor of Science in Education degree. Her degree qualified her to teach English, speech and journalism.
Knight got her first teaching opportunity in the fall semester of 2000. Through a program called COST, Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching, Knight got a chance to student teach in Dublin, Ireland. Knight taught at Ballinteer Community School, a seventh-12th grade secondary school. At Ballinteer, Knight taught English and American history to grades 9-12. The program lasted 12 weeks.
Knight still notes that the experience of teaching in Ireland was one of her best and  she learned that kids are the same everywhere, regardless of country.
After student teaching and finishing school, Knight had taught at three different schools and a wide variety of grades in a short time span.
After teaching at East Lake North, Knight had finally moved to Illinois with her husband.
However, Knight’s luck ran out, as she was unable to find a teaching job in her new state.
So Knight settled for what was available – a job at CDWG. Where, instead of teaching, Knight was making 80 outbound phone calls a day, selling computers and being trained in certain software in order to sell it. Knight found it awful. She was selling computers to Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky from her cubicle instead of doing what she now loved, teaching.
Nevertheless, after one year of cubicle work at CDWG, Knight eventually found a teaching job, as the permanent substitute teacher for Buffalo Grove High School.
Knight was the designated substitute teacher for all missing teachers, all through the building. She once even had to teach autos.
“I showed up at autos in my four inch high heels and skirt and they (the students) pointed out immediately that ‘she didn’t know what she was doing’,” Knight said.
Knight says that she was a “glorified babysitter” at Buffalo Grove. Most teachers would simply leave lesson plans that required the students to do independent quiet work, leaving Knight to virtually baby-sit the students. This allowed her to read a lot of books.
After her one year stint as the permanent substitute for Buffalo Grove High School, Knight finally found a permanent teaching job in Illinois. It was here at Prospect High School, where she has taught for longer than anywhere else and has taught an English class to all four grade levels.
Obviously Knight continues her love for the English language, but no longer refuses to be a teacher. Knight yearned to be just like Wilma Smith, legendary news anchor from Ohio.
Now, Knight says that she is doing what she truly loves. “This is it; my dream job is what I am doing now, maybe if somebody just graded my papers.”

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  • L

    Lydia KafaderNov 11, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    This is a really cool article that gave me a lot of insight into Ms Knight’s life before teaching. I often wonder what made some teachers want to teach and its noce to read about it. I really like the way that the quotes were instered as well. Good job and keep it up.

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  • J

    John HummelNov 9, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Mrs. Knight is really great at what she does. She has helped me a lot with my speech team script and I look forward to working with her more in the future. Go PHS Speech!

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