Check out what Laura Smith, one of our fantastic 2018 Summer Session Teaching Fellows, has to say about Breakthrough Twin Citeis 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 Washington D.C. and graduated from Georgetown Day School in 2015. Currently, I am a rising senior at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. I am majoring in English and minoring in Educational Studies. My love of reading comes from my 5th and 6th grade Language Arts teachers, so I guess those two things just came together for me at Carleton, and at Breakthrough as well where I am a Literature Teaching Fellow.
2. How did you become aware of Breakthrough, and why did you decide to get involved as a Teaching Fellow?
Daniel Bernal is a Carleton Alum, and I became aware of Breakthrough through that connection–the Teaching Fellow position was listing on the Carleton Career Center’s Alumni Connection Page. I have had the opportunity to work with students and young people through being a sleepaway camp counselor at a YMCA camp and through tutoring a high school student from Northfield. I really enjoyed both those experiences and decided to apply for the Breakthrough Teaching Fellow position as a way to continue exploring a possible future in working with students in some capacity.
3. In what ways has your teaching experience at Breakthrough helped you develop and grow as an individual?
Teaching at Breakthrough has taught me that people want to hear what I have to say. Before the summer began I imagined I would have to do everything in my power to keep attention on me or on the task at hand, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Standing in front of a class with all eyes focused on me and ready to learn whatever it is I am planning on teaching that day has helped build my confidence. It has shown me that I can succeed and that everyone (especially my students) want me to succeed.
4. Can you tell us about an experience working at Breakthrough that impacted you or sticks out in your mind?
One day at lunch during my first week at Breakthrough, a student I didn’t know approached me. She wasn’t in any of my classes and she had no reason to know me, but she sat down across from me and asked me my name and what grade and subject I taught. When I was her age I never would have approached a teacher I didn’t know just to start a friendly conversation. It is amazing to me how poised and genial Breakthrough students are. The connections at Breakthrough between students, faculty, and staff are incredible, and it is heartwarming to see so many people coming together to strive for a common goal.