United for a Common Purpose: The Kids

By Erin Galvin — This summer I am a member of an incredible teaching staff who always keeps “kids in focus” and dedicates themselves to Breakthrough’s mission.

Our staff consists of twenty-five high school and college students ranging from seniors in high school to recent college graduates.  Our group includes teachers who participated in the Breakthrough program as students, returning teachers, education majors, and some teachers who are having their first experience teaching this summer.  Amidst the diversity in our staff, we all come together for a common purpose: the kids.

I feel blessed to be a member of a staff that is so committed to preparing middle school students to enter college preparatory high schools.  My co-workers inspire me on a daily basis to be a better teacher by implementing creative activities into their lesson plans, setting high expectations for their students, and working tirelessly to ensure that all students master each day’s objective.

Below are three characteristics that I appreciate about our staff.


1)    Passion for Learning – Each member of our staff demonstrates a passion for learning and models this to students on a daily basis.  In the classroom, we show our students that learning is always fun and encourage students to demonstrate their love of learning on a daily basis. All of us place a high value on education, and we are always prepared to share our love of learning.

2)    Dedication – Our staff dedicates themselves to our students’ success both during the school day and in the evenings.   Similar to regular teachers, Breakthrough teachers arrive at school early and continue to work after the students leave.  As Breakthrough teachers, our workday begins at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5:30 p.m. However, we continue to help our students achieve success after our workday is finished.  Unlike regular school, Breakthrough students can call or text their teachers to ask them homework questions.  This gives students an opportunity to clarify the homework assignment, improve the understanding of the material, and achieve success on their assignments.  We genuinely care about our students’ questions and are always available to help our students succeed.

3)    Collaboration – Within our four departments, teachers are willing to collaborate with each other to prepare lessons that are aligned, rigorous, and effective.  While we are given a scripted curriculum, we discuss modifications with each other.  For example, my co-worker and I often brainstorm ways for how we can make the structured practice part of our lessons more engaging and effective for our students.  Across departments, teachers are willing to share ideas to improve classroom management or strategies for working with particular students. Being able to collaborate with fellow teachers has helped me to improve my own instruction and classroom management strategies.

As a result of being a member of such an incredible staff, I feel that I have grown as teacher.  This staff has helped me to realize that modeling a passion for learning increases students’ enthusiasm for your class, dedicating yourself to your students’ success yields powerful results, and collaborating with fellow teachers is an important component of being an excellent teacher.  In the future, I hope to embody the same characteristics in my own classroom that I have developed as a Breakthrough teacher.

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