“I Consider It an Honor”: A Sit-Down with U.S. History and Global Perspectives Teacher, Meaghan Whitesides

Sophia Lottmann, Staff Writer

Meaghan Whitesides has been a part of the SPFHS family for nine years and has been teaching in public schools for 18 years total. She is also an alumnus of North Carolina State University. Some of her favorite things about teaching at SPFHS are all of the great families, the great administration and her colleagues. The reason that she started teaching in the first place is because she has a family full of teachers and she loves history and gathering students together to teach them as many things about history that she possibly can.


Whitesides said that one thing that she wished she knew in her first year of teaching was being able to manage student behavior, and it has to come before the content. Some of the most valuable advice that she has ever received about teaching was to make friends with the other staff members in the building. Whitesides has the following advice for people who want to teach.


“Don’t take yourself too seriously and learn what you can about the age of kids that you teach,” Whitesides said.


According to Whitesides, the best part of teaching is the students. Whitesides has learned many lessons from teaching.


Whitesides shared that some challenges of being a teacher are things that are going on in students’ lives that are drama related or traumatic that she cannot fix.


“ You can do everything that you can and have the best intentions but there are many circumstances that are out of my control,” Whitesides said.


She has cultivated successful classroom management skills that involve being understanding of her students. 


“If misbehaving, [I] talk one on one and know people’s boundaries and limits. I think that it’s important to treat students with respect even when certain behaviors are problematic,” Whitesides said.


Some of the hardest things about teaching have nothing to do with class assignments or students.


“[One of the biggest challenges about teaching is] when my students have things going on in their lives that help explain why they are having a tough time in school and not being able to help them,” Whitesides said.


She is very protective of her personal time and relationships with students.


When I was speaking to Mrs.Whitesides, she told me one of her favorite success stories. 


“When I taught in Staten Island, most of the kids I taught came from really tough backgrounds,” Whitesides said. “The trauma that a lot of them had faced or were facing on a regular basis is more than I will ever know. As seventh and eighth graders, it really seemed like some of them were going down really terrible paths. It makes me happy to see on Facebook former students who are happy, healthy, have good jobs, have families and were able to avoid the negative influences that were all around them.”


Whitesides is passionate about her discipline and recognizes the importance of being an informed citizen. 


“I love history and I think it’s really relevant,” Whitesides said. “I know that science and math and engineering are  also really important and I do support this push to get kids and girls into stem subjects and careers–but understanding government, what means to be a citizen, and why the world is how it is, also matters, and I consider it an honor to try and share those ideas and lessons on a daily basis.”


I have had the amazing opportunity of being one of her students this year and I can honestly say that the way that she teaches is very creative and you can tell she is passionate about what she teaches. She is caring and understanding toward her students. Overall, she is an inspiring teacher and very impactful, too.