From soccer field to science field: Ms. Rerucha

Hedda Jagerskog, Staff Reporter

hiker on top of mountain
As a frequent flyer, Ms. Rerucha has seen a lot of beautiful views, including this one from the top of a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo courtesy of Megan Rerucha)

Ms. Rerucha was born in Colorado and raised in Nebraska. “People think of farmland and cows and corn when they think of Nebraska, but I wasn’t near any of that at all.” Her whole childhood was spent in the city of Omaha, Nebraska, known for their world-ranked zoo and incomparable steaks.

Although she loves spending time there, Ms. Rerucha felt the need for a new challenge, and decided to hop on a plane headed towards the nation’s capital. Now, she’s the latest addition to Mason’s science department.

Her first weeks in DC were spent on the hunt for a job– she recalls applying to any and every job she heard of. When she landed the job as a biology teacher at George Mason, she knew that it was meant to be. “Falls Church has a lot of resources that weren’t available at my old school,” she said. “I mean, we regularly ran out of paper.”

The excitement bubbles within her when she talks about her students. Ms. Rerucha believes that building genuine relationships with the students has to be a priority. “If kids believe you care about them, they are much more likely to buy into the content you’re trying to present to them.” 

“The biggest thing I’ve learned throughout my career has been celebrating growth. You need to look at where a kid starts out their year and celebrate all the milestones during the year.”

With virtual learning, however, it hasn’t been easy. As a very social person, Ms. Rerucha is finding it difficult to not be surrounded by eager and energy-filled students. She shared that she can’t wait to meet everyone in person and go back to “normal” life when it’s safe to do so.“There’s so much interaction that happens in a classroom that we take for granted, even just in passing conversations. I miss all of that.”

Another thing Ms. Rerucha misses during this pandemic is traveling and exploring. She’s been to Europe, Africa, and South America and can’t wait to go to Asia next. 

five siblings
As the oldest of five siblings, Ms. Rerucha began her teaching career early. ( Photo courtesy of Megan Rerucha)

Growing up, she always knew she wanted to work with children. At first, she thought pediatrics was the way to go, but she quickly realized that blood and bones were not her thing. In middle school, she understood that she had been the happiest during all the hours she’d spent playing pretend school with her younger siblings, and decided to become a teacher instead. 

At college, she was a student athlete spending her days playing soccer and studying English and science, the subjects she wanted to teach. When reminiscing on her busy college years, she said, “I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

The academic expectations were high. In order to play games, her coach made her and her teammates sit in the first two rows of the classroom to ensure that they were attentive. “You know, it’s funny, our coach would walk by our classrooms and make sure we were sitting where we were supposed to. If the rows were full, he’d make us tap someone on the shoulder and ask them to move.” She hopes to continue coaching in the near future.

soccer player, parents
During her junior year in college, Ms. Rerucha led her soccer team to a second place at Nationals. (Photo courtesy of Megan Rerucha)

Ms. Rerucha said that her biggest takeaways from her time at college was the use of leadership skills and her new mental toughness. It has helped her through her career as a teacher, and she knows she wouldn’t be the same without it.

Although it’s been a little lonely during her first months in the new city, the welcoming culture at school is one thing that has helped her. “I called my friends back home and told them I’d never been thanked by so many students. It’s the little things that go a long way.”

So, if you’re ever in the mood to talk about Harry Potter, fall, coffee, rainbows, dogs, pizza, or Husker football games, be sure to swing by Ms. Rerucha’s classroom (whether virtual or not).