Margaret Prange-Taber, Specialist in the Emotional Growth Center at Brush College Elementary in Salem, Oregon'
Nominated By: Alicia Webb (student’s aunt)
Margaret teaches in an EGC (Emotional Growth Classroom) where she deals with children with behavioral issues. She has the patience of a saint. My nephew is in her class and I know that he has been very difficult to deal with at times but Miss Margaret is always calm and positive. She works very hard to make sure that the kids and staff are safe and she spends her own money to make sure that they have snacks and supplies needed. She even goes to her students houses and works with their families to make sure that the kids are happy and healthy. Often times the children become violent and out of control when they have episodes and she still keeps a smile on her face and treats them with love and respect. She treats every child in her class as if they were her own.
Congrats, Margaret, from all of us at K103! Get to know Margaret Prange-Taber:
What inspired you to become an educator?
I supported an aquatic therapy program at the local YMCA for students with disabilities after I had graduated from college with a degree in public relations. Connecting with those students in the water was absolute magic. I had never felt that level of fulfillment, excitement, passion, and hope in any type of work environment. It was also quite effortless…. very intuitive and natural for me. After that I decided to try working in the schools and I just knew that working with kids with special needs was my life’s purpose.
What do you like most about teaching?
I love really connecting with kids, being a safe person for them, focusing on their strengths so that they can begin to trust themselves and believe in their goodness and their abilities. I love seeing the joy that they express when they are successful, when they recognize that THEY did something really well.
What has changed the most since you began your career in education?
There has been a dramatic increase in testing and this obviously interrupts instruction. Also, schools are expected to deal with very extreme behaviors that would have resulted in placement in residential facilities or day treatment centers 20 years ago. Now classroom teachers are expected to cope with these highly disruptive students with minimum support.
What would you like parents to know about your job?
I think most parents know that teachers work really hard and I know the parents of our kids appreciate what we do in our program.
Share a favorite story about your years in education.
One day I was having lunch and invited a student who had been having a hard time in class to sit with me. He just needed some quiet and was reading to me. When I took the lid off my salad bowl, he glanced over and said “Wow! That’s a big salad!” I said, “Yes it is,” and I pointed out that it was my favorite salad and described some of the ingredients. He continued reading and I was listening and eating. When he finished reading, he looked at me, looked at my empty bowl and said with great surprise: “ You ate ALL of THAT that FAST? You’re a FATTY!”