Teacher Feature – Melissa Irick

Posted: November 15, 2021


School: Hiawatha School District, Kirkland

Position: Instructional Coach

Grades: K-12

Number of years in education: 11

Farm Bureau/Ag Literacy connection: When I was a second grade teacher, I taught Ag in the Classroom at Hiawatha Elementary. As an educational consultant, I delivered professional development on engagement strategies and Illinois Social Studies standards for the Farm Bureau’s Summer Ag Institute. Currently, I am the Ag Literacy Ambassador for Hiawatha Elementary School and I am on the Ag Literacy Committee.

What is your favorite unit to teach? I love to incorporate agricultural literature, ag literacy kits, and maps into science and social studies lessons.

What do you enjoy most about teaching? It’s very rewarding to have the opportunity to work with both adults and children. There’s nothing better than watching a student’s “lightbulb” turn on, or observing someone’s “aha” moment. My job is to support and facilitate those experiences.

What is something unique that you do in your classroom? I bring my “Swivl” robot into classrooms and record lessons. The teacher wears a small device with a microphone and tracker built in and the robot swivels on a tripod, following and recording the lesson for the teacher’s future reflection and goal setting.

Why is it important for students to learn about food and farming? It’s important for all students to understand and appreciate where their food comes from, but especially in an agriucltural region like DeKalb County. Students should have knowledge about the impact agriculture has in their everday lives – from production to employment, technology and economics – it’s all around them.


Hometown: DeKalb

Family: Husband, Charlie, and three adult children, Alex, Ben, and Belle

College/Degree(s): Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Wisconsin, Juris Doctorate from NIU, and a Master’s of Art in Teaching from National-Louis University

What did you want to be when you grew up? A ballet dancer or a teacher


Quote: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou

Hobbies: I love Zumba, reading, watching period dramas, and being with family.

Books: “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon

Music: Dan+Shay and soundtracks from Broadway musicals

Sports team: White Sox

Tv shows: “Downton Abbey” and “Friends”

Travel destination: Anywhere in the United Kingdom