Here at Fund for Teachers, we’ve spent the summer following our 2022 Fellows, as well as those from 2020 and 2021 whose fellowships were deferred, as they pursued learning around the country and five continents. It’s now September and most of our grant recipients are back in the classroom, so we’re bringing back Fund for Teachers – The Podcast for our fourth season.
We are already in contact with Fellows who experienced lifechanging fellowships this summer – they are eager to share their learning on future episodes. However, since they are in the midst of processing their learning and welcoming new students into their classrooms – we sought out the FFT Fellow making national news as part of Weave: The Social Fabric Project at the Aspen Institute, founded by New York Times columnist and author David Brooks.
In 2013, Megan Helberg and her husband (then an English teacher/now principal in rural Nebraska) used a Fund for Teachers’ team grant to retrace the footsteps of Poland’s Jewish and non-Jewish people during the Holocaust to develop a greater understanding of its lingering impact and help students grapple with the atrocities committed. Since that time, Megan created a Holocaust curriculum that united their community, formed a travel club that takes students and adults on collaborative educational journeys, was selected as a Museum Teacher Fellowat the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and asked to join the Nebraska Community Foundation’s board of directors. In 2020, she was named Nebraska Teacher of the Year – an honor her mother received 25 years prior, and in 2021, the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes named Megan a Lowell Milken Fellow.
In our visit, we dialogued about how her trajectory went from “I’ll never be a teacher” to a private audience with First Lady Jill Biden, as well as her encouragement to other teachers thinking about applying for a Fund for Teachers grant. But we began with the same question that kicks off all our podcasts: Why did you become a teacher?