Ariana Hernandez was a Teaching Fellow at Breakthrough Twin Cities during our 2018 Summer Session! Check out her thoughts on Breakthrough and the Teaching Fellowship in her interview below!
1. Please tell me a little bit about your background! Where did you grow up, where did you attend high school, are you currently in college and if so where, what have been some subjects or potential careers you have been interested in, and how did you become interested in teaching?
I grew up in Compton, California. I was accepted and was lucky enough to attend the California Academy of Math and Science (CAMS). My school was designed to provide a rigorous education to students from all backgrounds, but especially those of us who came from impoverished neighborhoods. I graduated from CAMS in 2015 and enrolled in Middlebury College that same fall. Middlebury is a small liberal arts college in rural Vermont, and was very different from what I was used to. I am about to enter my last year at Middlebury and am trying to decide what career path I will choose. I am going to graduate with a Chemistry and Spanish double major and over the past three years I have been trying to decide if I want to go to medical school, pursue a Ph.D., or become a teacher. I have been working at an after school program for the past three years, and that is where my interest in teaching came from. It has been fun working with younger children, and that is something that I see myself doing in the possible near future.
2. How did you become aware of Breakthrough, and why did you decide to get involved as a Teaching Fellow?
My roommate was part of Breakthrough Miami last year and she told me that she loved the program, and it helped her decide that she would love to be an educator. I looked into the program and realized that I loved the mission and that Breakthrough would be an organization that I would be very happy to work with. I decided to get involved as a Teaching Fellow because I knew that this experience would allow me to experience what it might be like to be a teacher.
3. In what ways has your teaching experience at Breakthrough helped you develop and grow as an individual?
This experience has allowed me to become an even more patient individual. I like to think that I have a great amount of patience, but it takes a new level of patience when working with younger scholars. I am required to have patience when teaching, giving instructions, and when communicating. This experience has also given me the opportunity to grow as an educator. This is my first teaching experience, and this program has provided me with a very real insight as to what it is like to teach a class.
4. Can you tell us about an experience working at Breakthrough that impacted you or sticks out in your mind?
As a Breakthrough Leaders Program (BLP) teacher, I accompanied our students on their week-long BLP retreat. As a math teacher, it is difficult to build much of an emotional connection with students because of the subject matter, but in this week, I felt like that bond between my students and myself grew. It was very rewarding to see my students grow as leaders and connect with their emotions in ways that I had not seen before.