WPS’s Spontaneous New Technology Integration Specialist: Ms. Gerstenzang

Sandhya Bala, Contributing Writer

Ms. Megan Gerstenzang took a huge leap of faith when switching her job as 8th grade algebra teacher to becoming a Technology Integration Specialist for grades 7 to 12.

Ms. Gerstenzang, better known to her students as Ms. G., had her interview to be a math teacher for the Westborough Public Schools before she even attended her college graduation.

She didn’t expect to get the job, and remarks, “I thought it was good practice because I had never been to a job interview before. Quite frankly, I wasn’t even good at driving on the highway at that point.”

From the first time she walked into the classroom, Ms. G. had a strong presence. She credits the man who directed the camp that she went to for her entire childhood. Watching how he handled the children at the camp taught Ms. G. that there is no exact formula to helping kids; everyone has a different way of learning that works best for them. As Ms. G grew older, the camp director gave her more responsibilities, with her progressing to a counselor in training, and eventually becoming a counselor.

“I knew I could be in charge because he had given me that little bit more of responsibility that was natural and progressive,” Ms. G. reflects.

She believes that none of the things she learned in college came even close to impacting her career as much as her years spent at that camp did.

One of the main reasons Ms. G. loved her job as a teacher was because she was able to build meaningful relationships with each and every one of her students.

“The way I know students is through working with them everyday and laughing and making a fool of yourselves. You know, that’s the fun part. That’s purposeful. That makes you all more comfortable to learn,” Ms. G. voices.

She misses the way that she could see incremental improvements in her students throughout the year as an algebra teacher. In the Tech Office, a student comes to her with a problem, she fixes it, and they leave; most likely for her never to see again.

Ms. G. didn’t expect to become a Technology Integration Specialist, but took the new opportunity in stride.

She loves the problem solving aspect of her new job, and enjoys getting to work with a team that has varied strengths. Still applying the troubleshooting techniques that the camp director taught her, she has had an outstandingly successful start to this job.

Ms. G. also enjoys the time she spends helping with technology problems at the High School as she’s able to see the friendly faces of her students from past years. The new job is quite different from her job as a math teacher, so she takes pride in the quick manner in which she adapted to it.

When asked what advice she would give to high school students during the coronavirus pandemic, she exclaims, “Just get through it! This isn’t fun. You’re going to look back and totally recognize how much stronger you are for getting through it. You’re not going to have the same high school experience that you expected, but you are gaining new relationships with people. That still carries. The laughing with your friends, whether it’s over a computer or in person, still matters.”

Ms. G. cherishes all of the relationships and connections she has made through the years. Admittedly a very opinionated and outspoken person, she has one main goal: not to get fired before she retires.

She confesses, “I’m not very good at keeping my mouth shut, so my goal is not to offend someone so much that I get fired. In 20 years, I hope that I have not burned too many bridges that I have made it through a teaching career in Westborough.”

Ms. G. has no idea what WPS job she will work next year, but her spontaneity along with her positive attitude ensure that she will be successful wherever her future endeavors may take her.