Twin Teachers

Photos by Sarah Ann Jump/The Herald
Special education teacher Madison Mundy works with kindergartner Ethan Whitis, left, and his twin brother, Easton, at Celestine Elementary on Wednesday.

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

When twins Madison Mundy and Alexa Rasche were growing up, the last thing either of them wanted to be was a teacher.

Their mom, Dubois and Celestine Elementary Principal Tara Rasche, taught at Forest Park Junior-Senior High School, so the sisters, now 25, were often asked if they, too, were planning to go into education. The answer was an emphatic, “No.” But when college came around, that changed, first for Madison who entered college in pursuit of an education degree, then for Alexa, who changed her major to education during their freshman year at the University of Evansville.

“It was an easy decision once I decided that’s where I needed to be,” Madison said. “I think I tried to deny it for so long just because mom was a teacher, and I didn’t want to do anything that my mom did, and I didn’t want to do anything that my dad did.”

The twins’ father, Dennis, is an engineer at Indiana Furniture. Madison’s husband, Kade Mundy, is also an engineer.

Although Madison and Alexa ended up in education, for most of their high school years at Northeast Dubois, each expected to end up in nursing. They took classes in the Health Occupations Students of America program in high school before realizing it wasn’t for them. Madison steered away from nursing her senior year of high school when she realized that although she wanted to help people, she could not handle the blood and guts of the medical field.

Special education teacher Alexa Rasche works with fourth-grader Beau Steckler at Ferdinand Elementary on Wednesday.

For Alexa, the realization that nursing wasn’t for her came one week into college.

“We were reading introduction chapters,” Alexa recalled. “I was like I do not think like a nurse. I do not want to be a nurse.”

Meanwhile, Madison was taking education classes filled with creative projects. Alexa admits she got a little bit jealous. Later that semester, Alexa declared an elementary education major, an action that Madison takes credit for.

“She was like, ‘Oh, that looks fun,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, you’re jealous, aren’t you?’” Madison said. “So then I convinced her.”

Along the way, both sisters added special education to their degrees, and after graduation, moved together to Mount Vernon where they each had a teaching job. After a year in Mount Vernon, the two moved together again, this time back to Dubois County where they both taught English at Forest Park in adjacent classrooms. Then, they split up. Madison took a job teaching special education to Northeast Dubois’ elementary students, and Alexa took a special education position at Ferdinand Elementary. Although they’re at different schools now, they aren’t far from each other. Alexa recently purchased a house in Jasper just down the street from where Kade and Madison live.

“I do like the community,” Alexa said. “I like the convenience of Jasper. Growing up in Dubois, we always had to drive to the store and drive to restaurants, so I do like the convenience of it. I’m not going to say it was all [Madison], but the driving force behind it was her being there.”

Madison and Alexa know it’s a little odd for siblings to have such similar lives, even if they are twins. But at the same time, neither is surprised that they walked almost identical paths. They’ve always been extremely close. Growing up, they shared a bedroom, were in the same classes and activities, and played on the same sports teams. And although there was a brief moment when they thought they might attend separate colleges, they ended up roommates at the University of Evansville.

To this day, they agree they’ve only really been apart once — during their sophomore year of college when Alexa studied abroad in the United Kingdom. Madison describes those four months as “rough.” It was so rough, in fact, that when Alexa got back, Kade jokingly told her she could never leave again.

Alexa describes those four months as “very tough,” but she also believes the time apart was necessary.

“It helped us grow as individuals,” she said. “We constantly our entire lives had somebody right there next to us, and we did lean on each other a lot, which is fine. But I feel like this helped us grow up a little bit without each other and not always have to have somebody right there next to you.”

Today, Madison and Alexa stand on their own as teachers, but they also strongly support one another, often bouncing ideas off each other about how to best serve their students. They bounce ideas off their mom, too, and soon there will be another educator in the family with whom to brainstorm. Their little sister, Kyla, is studying to be a French teacher.

Needless to say, family dinners often center around education and the issues facing Indiana schools. And although Dennis and Kade aren’t educators, Madison said they understand the challenges facing education today and can hold their own in the conversation. Kade grew up immersed in the education world, as his parents, Scott and Jackie Mundy, both teach at Southridge.

Alexa and Madison know they’re starting their teaching careers at a challenging time for educators across the country and in Indiana, but they’re also happy with their career choice.

“I am concerned about education, but not in a way that it’s scary,” Alexa said. “Where is there to go at this point other than up? I think we just need some of the right people to get involved. The concern is: Are we going to get the right people in the profession long enough to get the things done that need to be done? I hope so.”

The main concern for both Alexa and Madison is their students. Regardless of how education trends, they want to make sure they’re giving their students the best support they can and combating the stigmas that still exist against students in special education programs. To Alexa, it seems that people still misunderstand special education and think that if a child receives extra help, they’re pulled outside the classroom all day away from their peers. In reality, if students are pulled out for extra help, it’s often for 15 to 20 minutes or a couple hours tops.

“We want them with their friends,” Alexa said. “We want them out and about. But it’s also not a bad thing if they need a little extra help.”




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