By Jessica Kissel, Senior, English Education Major
In the summer of 2015, I completed a teaching fellowship with Summerbridge Pittsburgh, a division of Breakthrough Collaborative. I had the opportunity to teach 9th grade Writing through Literature, as well as 10th grade College-Bound Skills, all while taking professional development courses, meeting with mentor teachers, and growing both personally and professionally.
Breakthrough taught me that teaching is not the idealized experience you often see in movies like Stand and Deliver or The Freedom Writers. Teaching is brutally hard work; without proper support, that work is both emotionally and physically draining. Thankfully, Breakthrough provides an outstanding support system of directors who offer young educators the advice and guidance necessary to succeed in the classroom. Most importantly, beyond the Breakthrough staff, on days when you want to give up and forget about being a teacher, one of your students will make you laugh, grasp a concept he or she has been struggling with, or even just smile at you from the bus window. It is those little day-to-day experiences and victories that keep you motivated. At the end of my internship with Breakthrough, I realized it was those small moments with my directors, colleagues, and students that all added up to one, life-changing, remarkable summer.
Now that my Breakthrough time has ended, I couldn’t imagine my summer without this experience. Every future educator should be required to teach with Breakthrough! For more information about teaching at any Breakthrough division, please feel free to contact me via Saint Vincent E-Mail, or click on the link below.