Why I do this

Despite the unpleasant summer I had, it    will not deter my dreams of becoming a teacher. This summer was just a minor set back. I know that teaching is my passion because even though I had the worst summer of my life I still want to teach, I still want to learn, and I still want to grow. In fact after reflecting, I want to be a teacher more than ever because I know what keeps me going, I know why I do this.

The answer to why I do this is simple. I do it  for my students, my old students, my new students, and most of all my future students. If I give up after one bad summer, what kind of example would I be setting? Deep down I know this summer made me stronger. I learned that a classroom, a school, or any work environment would never be perfect. But because they are not perfect it    does not mean that I do not deserve support or that I have to put up with uncomfortable situations and degrading instances. A lot of the times this summer I felt like I couldn’t speak up about  a lot of things because I am a young professional and no one would take me seriously. However, I was wrong. Nothing should ever stop me from speaking up and demanding what I deserve. This terrible summer has taught me to respect and value myself as a professional by teaching me to speak up when I do not feel good about what’s going on around me.

Why do I teach? Why do I keep going? At this point, not only for my students, but also for myself. How can I ever advocate for my students without advocating for myself? How can students look up to me if I sometimes think my thoughts would have no value? Teaching is all about trial and error, feedback, and constant adjustments. One summer is never going to stop me from wanting to be a teacher. Instead I should look back at this summer as an error to continuously work on.

I can never stop wanting to be a teacher, I have students that will depend on me, I have students to push and inspire, and most of all I have students to learn from. Teaching is my passion and I can only hope to continue to learn and grow to bring the best me forward for  my students and for myself.

Next Steps…

So what now after this summer? …

Well I’m not sure yet. I am currently studying abroad in Akita Japan. But in a few months it    will be time to apply for a new summer job. I don’t think I can return to breakthrough for my own good. I love my students and they begged me to return, but I also love myself. I realized have out grown the Breakthrough summer teaching fellowship and need to find a new job that will help take my career where I need to be.

Therefore, this fall when I start looking for a new job I would need to find an organization that matches my believes and will allow me to grow everyday. This time I will learn from my mistakes and use the resources that are around me. I am planning to keep in contact with someone from Dickinson’s career center in order to make sure that what I am doing is that right fit for me. This summer I made a lot of mistakes; my biggest one being not communicating with the people who would have my back no matter what happened, the INP staff.

So in short, my next step is to have a fresh start and find a job I would love doing everyday no matter the obstacles. I need a job that fits the new stage in career and life I am in.

Presentation Of Growth (POG)

At the end of the summer Breakthrough teaching fellows, IC, and staff do  presentations of growth.  POGs are meant to help you reflect on your time at breakthrough and how you have changed or grown. Last summer I made a video for my growth presentation. However this summer, I decided to just write down my thoughts and verbally share them.

Here is my POG:

This summer was more challenging than I was expecting. This summer was the complete opposite of last summer. It is hard to not compare last summer to this summer when last summer I had everything. A lot of my mornings  this summer it  was hard to get up and come to work and it  wasn’t because of the kids or my co workers. It  was the fact that I was not given the support I need.

The best part of last summer was being able to grow everyday. learn from my mistakes and make adjustment the next day. I felt like I was making the right steps to become the teacher I dreamed of becoming. This summer I can’t say the same.

In fact, writing this POG is very difficult for me because I couldn’t think of ways in which I grew and it  is very hard to turn it  positive like I have been advised to do but i guess if i have grown some how it  is because of the difficult situations I encountered this summer.

If anything I can  I strengthen my problem solving skills by making adjustments and  making important decisions without the support of someone to troubleshoot for me.

I guess the biggest thing i can take away this summer is that sometimes as a teacher i am not going to have the support of the people above me. I am going to have to deal with difficult situations and difficult people and put up with it.

This summer has been the most uncomfortable i have ever felt. Not even the problematic white people at my school have made me feel the way i have. I felt like my problems this summer were minimal and not worth immediate action.  Nothing was being done to support me  in the way that i should have been.

The lack of support  I received then came into my classroom and my interactions with the kids. My one regret this summer is being too wrapped up my feelings and all my issues, that I didn’t have the time to be fully engaged with my kids.

It  has nothing to do with my responsibility as grade team leader, with my students, or co-workers. I just wasn’t able to do an IC’s Job the whole summer. I need feedback to grow. I need support to grow. I need an appropriate environment to grow. This summer this has not been the environment to promote my growth.

Lesson Planning the Break through Way 101

Unlike many, I came to college knowing exactly what I wanted to do. Because I knew the direction I wanted to take my education, the process of selecting classes, declaring, and even finding internships was easy for me. Because I knew I wanted to be a teacher, I was able to find Breakthrough last summer.

Breakthrough was a great program for me because it was an opportunity for me to get real classroom experience. One of those experiences being how to lesson plan. So on today’s blog we are going to lesson plan the Breakthrough way!

Breakthrough teaches all the Teaching Fellows to lesson plan during orientation using these sheets:

BTNY Lesson Plan Template


Every class should begin with Do Now. A Do Now is a quick problem or questions to help the students jump into the lesson at the beginning of class. The Do Now should provide the students with some ideas on what they are going to learn that day. Do Now’s can also be used to review previous content that would help them during that day or even content where students had many misconceptions and you would like to clarify. The Do Now is a great way to get instant feedback on where students are in terms of mastering the content.

After the Do Now you go over the objective, what the students will be learning that day, and the proving behavior, how they are going to learn the specific content. In my classroom I always pick a random student to read the objective and proving behavior, just so I’m not the only person talking throughout the whole class. It is important for students to take ownership of their learning through involvement and reliability in the lesson.

Now that the morning routine is complete, create a lesson by task analysis approach. Task analysis is when you breakdown a concept or problem into clear easy to understand steps. For example if you are trying to understand how to read a nutrition label, you would break those concepts into ways that it would be easier for the student to understand. So you would first want students to understand what nutrition labels are, then serving size, next calories,next percent value,and nutrient value. In this example you can see how with each step we are building understanding and using the previous step to better understand the next. Task analysis is one of the major parts.

Then for each step in the Task Analysis you would create a say, see, do cycle. A say,see,do cycle is the process used to teach a step of the task analysis.The say would be what you are going to say to the students to teach the concept, the information you are going to share with them. The see is the visuals you are using to represent what is being taught. The see can be pictures, diagrams, and videos. And lastly, the do, which is the most important part because this is the part that the students do. the do should include active participation models in order to keep students engaged. Do’s should be consistent, so at least every 3-5 mins, rigorous, demand 100% participation from students, and most importantly provide instant feedback to the teacher on whether students understand the step that had just be taught. you would need to do a say see do cycle for each step in the task analysis.

After you are done teaching the concept you would get into the structured practice where students are given work to do either alone, in groups, or as a class. The point of the structured practice is that the student are attempting to do what they have been just taught, but with guidance from a teacher.So students can ask the teacher for help,to clarify information, and to review things as a class.

When the time for structured practice is over, students are asked to put all there notes aways because it is time for the Exit Ticket also known as Guided Practice. This should be completed silently and individually. The exit ticket should cover the concept learned that day and should be graded out of 4.

The last step in lesson is a closure. A closure is used to end class. A closure can be used to get feedback on the lesson by doing thumb check ins, it can be a method called pepper, which is rapidly going around the class for one word answers, or it can be quick coral response.

I will interset  an example of all the materials I use to teach a lesson.

Bronx_Science_7_Day_18_ Group_Work





Now that’s how you lesson plan the Breakthrough way!!

Week Two at Breakthrough

Week two of teaching at Breakthrough is one of the most funnest out of the entire summer! This is the perfect week to get to know your students styles and personalities because it’s Spirit Week!!This was also a great week for the students to get to know the kid of person I am.

Here is the Spirit Week Line up:

Monday- PJ day
Tuesday- Grade Pride
Wednesday- Wacky Wednesday
Thursday- Throwback Thursday
Friday- Spirit Olympics

PJ Day:

On Monday for Pj I wore my long flower pattern PJ. If you know me you would know that I sometimes where those pjs around Dickinson campus at night when I go to the D-Den or the Quarry. They comfy and cute! I was glad to be able to go to work dress comfortably!

Grade Pride:

For grade pride the seventh grade team decided to dress up as royalty! Although I was not dressed as comfortably as for Pj day, Grade pride day was my favorite! That day I decided to bring my crown from my Quinceañera. I also wore a long gown, which was supposed to be my sister’s prom dress. That day I looked so EXTRA but I loved it! I had a lot of fun and my students seemed to love it too.

Wacky Wednesday:

For Wacky Wednesday I didn’t really do anything special. To be honest that day I was running late to work and jut grab some random clothes to combine with the clothes I was already wearing. I wore different sandals and then layered up a dress and a t-shirt.

Throwback Thursday:

Throwback Thursday was a very chill day because I and a lot of people at my site had the same idea, the 90s! A lot of us already owned mom jeans. So all we needed were cool t-shirts and shoes. In 2018, mom jeans are still the way to go.

Spirit Olympics:

If I am being completely honest in this blog, which I am, I must admit that Spirit Olympics is my least favorite day of the week. Despite what I think, the students love it. And at the end of the day if they are happy I’m happy. The day of spirit olympics all the Breakthrough New York sites come together at the Armory in Washington Heights. At the armory the students play a serious of different games. I am NOT a fun killer or game HATER so that aspect of Spirit Olympics is fun. However, the worst part of the trip and the students would agree is the commute. Everyone arrives at the Bronx site then we all walk about 15-20 mins to the train and then we take one train and then transfer to another. When the event is over we do it all again. Traveling with a large group of students is very serious and a lot of hardworking because you are responsible for the lives of all the students.

Overall Spirit Week was fun and I am glad I was able to participate again this year.

Week One of Teaching

The first week of teaching is always bittersweet. Sweet because I got to meet my students and by the end of the week build a more personal connection through “Diversity Day.” Diversity Day is a day where students and teaching fellows come together to build awareness about the diversity within our Breakthrough site. We discuss social economic status, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc. through as series of activities. On Friday we did a step in activity, a privilege walk, and then broke into smaller groups.This event allowed us understand our students better and build a connection. D-day allowed the students to view us as more than teachers.

The bitter part of week one being bittersweet is that we had to make adjustments to so lessons because students reacted differently to certain lessons than I initially anticipated. Also during the first week, there was lesson where we didn’t didn’t finish on time. That made me feel like a bad teacher because I felt like I wasn’t working the clock or made the material easy to understand. At that point it would’ve been helpful to have an Instructional Coach to help us in that moment.

Although there were some obstacles and frustrations during the first week, those obstacles allowed me to work on my problem solving skills and flexibility in the work place. I am very excited for week two especially since is Spirit Week!

Returning to Breakthrough This Summer

This is my second summer interning for Breakthrough New York as a Teaching Fellow. My job as a teaching fellow consists of teaching 2 core subject classes and 1 elective along side a co-tecaher, attending a series of meetings to help foster growth in both my professional and personal development.

This year, like last year, I am teaching 7th grade science, which is a Biology course. At first the idea of teaching a Biology course seemed crazy, but after last summer I am excited to teach it again! Teaching Biology was exciting and fun, and most of all allowed me to get creative. This summer, I am teaching the basketball elective. Ok! now that is crazy! If you know me, you know I am a clumsy person, 5’2.5”, and very uncoordinated. I do not know how I am going to pull this off. But I try to look at things positively. So here are my positives for basketball:
1) I get an extra workout in throughout the day
2) the co-teacher is one of my friends from last summer
3) the gym is basically a free sauna, which I’ve been wanting to go to
4) I going out of comfort zone by teaching this elective

Although I am trying to look at things from a positive perspective, I must admit there are some things I am nervous about. For example, this summer I have a new co-teacher. Co-teaching is something that requires a lot of coordination and communication. So I am nervous about teaching with someone new because teaching styles are different. Teaching relationships and styles can effect classroom dynamic and ultimately the whole summer.

As the summer approaches, I become less nervous and more prepared. I think it’s a good idea to jump into my internship with some goals. So here there are:

1) become grade team leader (which as of today I have accomplished)
2) be more approachable and become a resource to new teaching fellows
3) continue to work on my communication skills by being more direct about how I feel
4) use everyday as feedback to grow the next day
5) have fun!

The end of this week will mark the end of orientation. And I am more than excited to begin teaching and meeting my kids!