“Everybody’s been very friendly and very nice,” Ms. Magaha said of how the students of Millbrook High School have helped her transition into her permanent substitute teacher position in the Biology class.
Having worked as a special education aide for almost five years and as a long-term substitute for six months, Ms. Magaha has been teaching Biology as a permanent substitute for the past two months since the beginning of the second semester when Ms. Steblein retired to South Carolina. And Ms. Magaha coaches gymnastics on top of that. She said that being a permanent substitute is very different from being an aide because “it’s more work because you have to come up with lesson plans, you have to be prepared… as an aide, you just follow whatever the teacher asks you to do,” she explained. She also compared coaching to teaching, saying, “With coaching [gymnastics, the students] want to be there, and, of course, with school, not everybody wants to sit through biology class. And other than that, it’s just being prepared; I have to be much more prepared for teaching biology than I do for coaching.”
Ms. Magaha studied at Lord Fairfax Community College and then Shenandoah University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in biology. After that, she attended the Physical Therapy School at Shenandoah for a year in pursuit of her doctorate, but stopped when she started substitute teaching. She said that that was when she “fell in love with teaching.”
Ms. Magaha said that the transition was not as “bad as I thought [it would be].” Though she has in the past mainly taught elementary school aged children, she has experience in teaching high school and middle school students gymnastics. She remarked that her students have “been very friendly” these last two months and said, “It wasn’t bad figuring each other out.”