Majoring in Education Brings Father-Daughter Teachers to the Same Classroom
Grace May never thought that majoring in education at Grace College would lead to teaching sixth grade with her dad in their hometown of Rudyard, Michigan. This return home was not in her original plan but provided her a new perspective and greater love for education. Grace and Steve May both have a passion for teaching that is made stronger by their mutual connection to their profession and to each other.
Both Grace and Steve discovered their love for teaching early on in life. Steve helped at an elementary school while he was in high school, which led him to get his degree in education from Grand Valley State University. He began teaching at Rudyard Area Schools after graduation, and he is now in his thirty-first year there.
Besides the fact that her dad was a teacher, or that three of her four siblings are current or future teachers, Grace spent a lot of time with kids growing up. As a high schooler, she helped teach children’s classes at her church and served as a mentor for second graders. These experiences solidified that she wanted to follow in her family’s footsteps and become a teacher.
When it came time to select a college, Grace wanted to attend a small Christian college farther from home. On her tour of Grace College, she met with Dr. Laurie Owen and was inspired by her joy for teaching. When she found out about the three-year accelerated program, it sealed the deal for her.
During her college years, Grace developed her skills and got hands-on experience in various classrooms and grade levels. She benefited from the caring professors and was challenged in her career preparation. Being in the School of Education at Grace also clarified and ignited Grace’s lifelong calling to teach elementary students.
After she graduated, Grace taught at another school in Michigan for one year but didn’t feel supported in her job and questioned whether she really wanted to be a teacher. When the opportunity to teach at Rudyard alongside her dad opened up, she had to apply. Grace was thrilled to accept the position and begin working with her dad in the fall of 2022.
“As a teacher, Grace’s energy rejuvenated me,” said Steve. “For me, as her dad, it’s fun to see Grace grow as a teacher. It’s awesome to work with her.”
Grace shares in her dad’s enthusiasm. In fact, Steve and Grace call themselves the “dream team,” using each of their strengths to collaborate for a better overall classroom.
The sixth grade at Rudyard has 42 students total, so the school assigns two teachers to team teach each group of students. Steve teaches his content areas of expertise: math and science, and Grace teaches hers: language arts and social studies. With a shared prep period, Steve and Grace plan activities, prep lessons, and lead field trips together. Because of their close relationship, they make collaborative decisions about how to run the classroom.
“It enriches the education of our students to have co-teachers that get along so well,” said Grace.
The students also benefit from having one teacher in her third year of teaching and one in his thirty-first year. Steve and Grace form distinctive relationships with their students and are able to meet their needs in unique ways based on their individual experiences. They may tell different jokes, listen to different music and have different preferences when it comes to technology, but Grace and Steve have the same heart for the students, especially those attending the Title 1 school who are in hard places.
“We’re the best thing some of our kids see in their day,” said Grace.”It’s important we show them care.”
Alongside his daughter, Steve serves the community he’s known and loved for more than 30 years. Steve has taught many parents of the students he teaches now. “It’s a real full-circle moment for me,” he says.
Steve and Grace plan to work together for the next few years at Rudyard. And through it all, they hope to continue spurring one another on in their love for teaching.
Considering majoring in education? Learn more about a degree in elementary education at Grace!