Creativity. Faith. Compassion. Education. Music.
These are themes that live each day in Mallory Megerdichian’s classroom at Sts. Simon and Jude Catholic School in Huntington Beach.
From singing with students at the start of each day to acting out math word problems, the 3rd-grade teacher ensures each day her classroom is an active, welcoming place where students are inspired, engaged and confident.
“Learning can be fun, you just have to find that way to make it applicable and relevant so they want to explore, take risks and strive for knowledge,” Megerdichian said.
About 27 years ago, Mallory Megerdichian’s parents enrolled her in kindergarten at Sts. Simon & Jude School. Her heart has been there ever since. She said her experience at the school set her on a pathway for lifelong learning and allows her to relate to each child in her classroom, especially those who have learning difficulties.
“I was a struggling learner myself,” she said. “My teachers made learning fun and applicable.”
After Sts. Simon and Jude, Megerdichian attended Mater Dei High School. She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree and teaching credential at Loyola Marymount University.
This school year marks her 12th as a teacher. Megerdichian works to ensure her classroom experience is dynamic and engaging. A typical day in Megerdichian’s classroom begins with her strumming her guitar, leading the students in songs like Shout to the Lord and Blessed be Your Name. Then students rotate through lessons in math, language arts and history. Her classroom is one of friendship and collaboration – students are encouraged to help each other learn, and to work through challenging problems together.
“My teaching philosophy was you have to be creative,” she said. “You have to find what students tick. No two students are the same. Harnessing energy into positive experience, find what motivates them. Giving them confidence, so much of struggle gets alleviated.”
She enjoys teaching math, specifically word problems.
“We turn word problems into short plays – I call on students and we act out the problem together, in front of the class,” she said. “It’s amazing when you make them part of the story how much they bond with it and understand.”
Megerdichian said she enjoys teaching 3rd grade because students are at a critical point in their early education and many are learning how to take on new challenges in the classroom, whether it be math, reading or writing.
“The students come in every day with a fresh, positive outlook on life, my goal is to help mold their values and perspective,” said Megerdichian, who is married and has a young son, Vinny. “They are transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn. Being part of that part of their education is so cool.”
Faith has guided her work, and Megerdichian believes strongly in the mission of Catholic education. As a student, she was involved in service ministries that helped the less fortunate in Orange County. She considered becoming a public school teacher, but was drawn to the spiritual aspect of Catholic schools.
“Being able to talk about God in the classroom is so special,” she said. “Faith is such a personal relationship, sometime parents want the teacher to be the model. I was drawn to be able to reference my faith in my educational journey and it’s nice to relay that as a leader to other students in their educational journey.”
She added: “Catholic schools are not just a community, but a family.”