SXU Education Professor Devotes Career to Inspiring Educators and Parents
Saint Xavier University (SXU) education professor Meg Carroll, Ed.D., has devoted 44 years of her teaching career to helping other educators and parents adapt to the ever-changing education industry by providing professional development workshops.
"When teachers go through their teacher preparation program, they learn what is to know at that time. As you teach, standards change, schools change, philosophies change, methods change, technology changes and kids change. All of those things require that teachers learn new things and find ways to solve the challenges that they face. Professional development is necessary for teachers to feel confident and competent," Carroll said.
Carroll was inspired to start these workshops after she realized she had a natural gift while teaching graduate classes at Chicago State University. When asked by the university to present at conferences, teachers would often boast about Carroll and ask their school districts to hire her for professional development.
Recently, she conducted seven workshops to help kickstart a new year for several different schools around the Chicagoland area. She has found that her teaching strategy has helped teachers and parents immensely, which has kept her eager to continue these programs. Carroll has built a good reputation with many school districts, which she visits throughout the year.
"When I provide workshops, I always make sure there is a print and digital footprint left for them so when they reach a challenge of their own, they can find that PowerPoint and that handout. At that point, any teacher is ready to use what I offer," Carroll said.
Her devotion to helping students with disabilities has stuck with her since she started teaching after gaining her bachelor's degree in special education and elementary education from the University of Illinois, which is why it is so important for her to pass along her knowledge to others.
"When I was training, I definitely had a passion for it and understood the challenges. Being a special educator is like being a detective. These kids don't learn in the same way that other kids do - you have to be smart enough to figure out a way to reach them. That appealed to me, and it still appeals to me," Carroll said.
Oftentimes, Carroll will share with her students at SXU things she picks up from conducting her workshops. The number one thing Carroll emphasizes in these workshops is for teachers and parents to care about and think like their children.
"Your kid is not you. Some teachers will shield children from the kinds of activities or learning experiences that they did not like, but all of their students are not like them. Some students might like those activities. I talk a lot about diversifying what you offer students so that every student, every day, finds something they are good at," Carroll said.
As Carroll continues to teach special education and instructional methods courses at SXU, she will be putting on more workshops and presenting at conferences throughout the 2022-23 academic year. She will be speaking at the Illinois State Board of Education Best Practices in Non-Public Schools event later in November.
Carroll earned a master's degree in learning disabilities from Chicago State University and a doctorate in education with a focus on curriculum and instruction (and minors in special education, reading, higher education and philosophy of education) at Loyola University Chicago. She has published five books and more than 35 articles.