10 questions with Senior Teaching Assistant Megan Criscio

In the newest installment of our “10 Questions With…” series, we spoke with Megan Criscio. Megan has worked at the Eden School for eight years. She is a Senior Teaching Assistant, but since the beginning of the pandemic she has been working primarily in Adaptive Physical Education.

What is a typical day like for you at the Eden School?

Senior Teaching Assistant Megan Criscio

Pre-COVID my position was to train and mentor staff — helping with assessments and baselines and just provide added support in the classroom. The mentor program is something we offer to all our new staff that come in. It’s peer support for new staff to ask questions and go over more in-depth things that were covered in training to help them not feel overwhelmed. My position was created to oversee the mentors and make sure the classrooms have extra support.

Since COVID began, I’ve been in Adapted P.E. I do individual sessions throughout the day, group PE, and just focus on the students gross motor and fine motor program as part of their I.E.P. And then I try to keep the kids as active as possible.

Did you always want to work with students with special needs?

I’ve always wanted to work with kids. My boss at my previous job was invited to do a tour at Eden’s school shortly after the new building opened and asked me to come along. When I did the tour I really liked everything that they were saying. You could just tell the people giving the tour were passionate about the job, and I liked the fact that Eden wasn’t just the school — the company as a whole looks at the lifespan of the individual, and I thought that was really amazing. 

This has been a really challenging year for all of us. What are some things you and your colleagues have done to help make this year a little easier on the students and their families?

Especially when we were virtual, we did a lot with the families to be flexible and troubleshoot things at home. If there was a timing conflict we’d work with the families to provide sessions at times that were more convenient for them. I also collaborated with the Adaptive P.E. department to develop programs and activities that were more functional for the home setting.

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice on your first day at Eden, what would it be?

Not to be so hard on myself and or as critical. I’ve never worked at a school before, and because this was so hands on it was completely different than what I was used to. 

What was the most recent show you binge-watched

Cobra Kai!

If you could travel anywhere in the world after the pandemic is over, where would it be and why?

Ireland. I went once with my dad, and I loved it. My fiancé has never been there, and I feel like that’d be pretty cool for us to experience together. The people are nice and it’s beautiful. 

What do you enjoy doing most in your time off?

I usually enjoy spending time with my family, with my nieces and nephew. I spend time with my fiancé and my puppy, and we go to a lot of parks. Before COVID, we liked going to Atlantic City.

Who would you want with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?

Probably my fiancé. We have a lot of fun together, and we make a good team.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is watching my students learn and grow and seeing them become more confident and independent. I really enjoy taking them into the community and accompanying them to extracurricular activities like Special Olympics. 

What’s your biggest goal for the students at Eden in the upcoming year?

My biggest goal would be to increase their overall physical activity and their independence with their physical activity I.E.P. goals. I want to support them and get them acclimated back to in-person learning. And of course just keep them safe with all the COVID regulations.