“I can show them all of the parts of what they are doing,” said Susie Matejczyk, “but I can’t do it for them.”
Matejczyk teaches at the Montessori Academy of Valparaiso. The Montessori style differs from mainstream education in that it places the responsibility of learning on the child, creating a truly individualized educational experience. Montessori teachers act as guides, collaborating with each child in their own learning journeys and encouraging them to discover and think for themselves.
“Being able to help them learn not just raw information, but also how to build on that and continue learning into the future, is both incredibly important and incredibly rewarding,” said Matejczyk. “That moment when everything clicks and the child finally succeeds in what they were doing is one of the most incredible moments anyone can ever experience because you can see the look of pure accomplishment on the child’s face.”
Ten months ago, Matejczyk and her husband, who live in Lake Station, welcomed their daughter into the world.
“She’s the light of my life,” said the teacher whose greatest joy is witnessing a child’s individual accomplishment. No doubt will she provide those same opportunities to her daughter in the coming years.
In her own pursuit of accomplishment, Matejczyk credits her father with inspiring her to strive toward her goals.
“He always pushed me to achieve things that he was never able to do,” Matejczyk said, crediting his and the rest of her family’s support along with her own dedication and hard work as the reason she graduated with honors from Kendall College. “He didn’t graduate college, so it was very important to him that I did.”
What is family, after all, except the smallest form of community wherein we realize our own dreams and help others do the same?
“Community is the next best thing we have to family,” Matejczyk said. “Community is an incredibly important source of support for all of us, and to build a strong, thriving community means everyone can grow together.”
Matejczyk is active in many local organizations, including the Lake Station Lions Club.
“Community is more than just a word for the area you live in,” she said. “It’s a living, breathing group of people all working towards the same goals. Plus, it’s very rewarding and a great way to meet people and build new, lasting friendships.”
And so, from children to seniors and everyone in between, Matejczyk has dedicated her life to supporting others as they grow throughout their individual journeys.
“Giving back to your community is a great way to learn about yourself, too,” Matejczyk said, “You get to talk to and learn from people whose paths you might not normally cross.”