KALISPELL - This week's One Class at a Time winner is Megan Malia who is a special education teacher from West Valley School in Kalispell.
Megan Malia — who works with 12 kids ranging from Kindergarten to fourth grade — hopes to use her $250 grant to purchase some new tech to help her students.
She’s only been at West Valley School for one year but has been a special education teacher for about a decade.
“I knew that that’s what I wanted to do, I went to college, went to be a special education teacher, and that’s what I’ve been doing for 11 years," Malia said.
Malia says the hardest challenge she faces in her role is helping her students regulate their emotions and behaviors.
“We’re seeing a lot more behavior challenges and my students need explicit instruction for those skills," explained Malia. "So I’m just looking for some more tools and resources that I can use to help get those skills across.”
To add to her toolkit of resources, Megan will use her grant towards a yearly subscription to an online computer program.
“And then there’s an online curriculum that uses a game/video game scenario to teach emotional regulation and then coping skills and even some friendship skills," Malia said. "I’ve noticed they really relate to that.”
Within the program, students get to be in the game mode to learn how to act in real-life situations — like when they’re making a new friend or when a teacher gives them responsibility.
“No matter how big or small that growth is they are still growing and I love getting to watch that, that’s my favorite part of this job," Malia said. "They are always gaining confidence and learning new skills and learning new things — whether it is math or making a new friend - that’s huge.”
Malia's grant will not cover all of the fees of the subscription because it’s expensive, but Megan says that she is joining forces with other teachers to get the subscription and they’ll share in the benefits of the program.