https://www.breakthroughcollaborative.org

Breakthrough Collaborative

Summer Teaching Fellow

June - August 2020 • San Juan Capistrano, CA

What I liked

Driven by the care and bond formed with the students, being a Summer Teaching Fellow was an experience full of interpersonal and intrapersonal growth. Breakthrough challenges their fellows to think outside the box in the ways in which we can better serve students from underrepresented backgrounds. The most gratifying and humbling aspect of Breakthrough is that you get to lean into the uncomfortable while being cheered on by supportive supervisors, colleagues, and students. And all is in the service of creating restorative and liberating education for students.

What I wish was different

Breakthrough, this year, was a virtual experience; my greatest hope is to return to an in-person summer session. Aside from the virtual aspect of the experience, I would change very little about the program. The areas that come to mind are further professional development and further colleague collaboration. The caveat is that these are all possible during an in-person experience.

Advice

Breakthrough not only challenges you to be out of your comfort zone, but they encourage you to lean into those moments and experiences of discomfort because it is those moments and experiences that will propel your growth. Breakthrough is true to their name. You will make a difference in the lives of the people you are with, but most importantly, you will be changed by your summer with Breakthrough.
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Teaching Fellow

June - August 2021 • Twin Cities, MN

What I liked

It was a really good learning experience, especially for those interested in teaching. The program provides you with department meetings and a coach who helps you grow as an educator throughout the program. It is a way to practice teaching actual students in an easy-going environment.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Teaching Fellow

June - August 2019 • Cincinnati, OH

What I liked

As an education major, I liked how I was able to have my own classroom and teach the lessons that I created to students. The class sizes were manageable, so I was able to develop my classroom management skills over the course of the summer. The training and professional development that I received was very valuable. I liked interacting with the students and creating a fun environment for them to learn. My co-workers were great as well.

What I wish was different

I wish the administration at my site had been more organized. This does not seem like a big issue, but it became one. Each site is different, though, so I am sure the administrations at other sites are different.

Advice

The advice I would give is to be open minded and prepared for a large amount of work. This was a full-time job. I taught all day and then worked on my lesson plans at night. This summer fellowship is not for someone who wants to have a side job. I loved this aspect of the job because it showed me what the life of a teacher is and truly convinced me that becoming a teacher is my career path. If you do not spend time and work hard to make great lessons, your students will not want to learn from you.
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Middle School Teacher Intern

July - August 2020 • Minneapolis, MN

What I liked

I really liked the community of people that worked there and the collective want to improve education while making students feel taken care of.

What I wish was different

I wish the experience was spread out over a longer period of time because there was a lot packed into a short amount of time, but this is partially due to Covid 19 and the murder of George Floyd.

Advice

It' s a lot of work, but it's very fulfilling and you will learn something about how to handle a classroom. You will not only be taught these skills through great resources, but you will learn for yourself through live experience.
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Teaching Fellow

June - July 2020 • Houston, TX

What I liked

I really liked the community that admin, students, and teaching fellows were able to create despite only being able to see each other online. This fellowship pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I appreciated the support given to me by my peers, students, and instructional coach. Overall, this fellowship gives you a great experience in working in the classroom and helpful feedback to improve.

What I wish was different

I wished the fellowship was longer and in-person. The month went by quickly, but I understand that with the pandemic, it was the best choice to have a shorter, virtual experience.

Advice

One piece of advice I would give about this experience is "lean into discomfort," which was a statement that admin would always repeat. Despite all the time spent on lesson planning, things don't always go to plan and that's okay; you just have to be able to adapt and learn from your experiences.
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Teaching Fellow

June - August 2018 • San Francisco, CA

What I liked

I loved working with middle-school children! It was amazing developing interpersonal relationships with these kids.

What I wish was different

As is inherent within the American education system, teachers are overworked and underpaid. I wish that my hours were more reasonable, but the relationships with kids and other teaching fellows made this internship worthwhile.

Advice

Plan EVERYTHING. Don't just consistently plan, but plan two weeks ahead. As students come from all over San Francisco, many of these kids can be at different places in their academic careers. As such, plan to have space to scrap entire lessons or add more where necessary.
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English teacher

June - August 2019 • Boston, MA

What I liked

The ability to create amazing relationships with students and other teachers with similar philosophies and passions! Learning teaching skills on the job!

What I wish was different

It was 24/7 and a lot of stress, I wish they did more with making sure teachers mental health was where it should be. An exhausting job.

Advice

If you are truly passionate about education, then this job will work you till you feel like you can’t work no more... but you won’t regret a single minute.
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Teaching Fellow

June - August 2019 • Pittsburgh, PA

What I liked

I appreciated the opportunity to try something different than my expected career path. I enjoyed the experience so much that I am considering teaching again in some shape or form in the future.

What I wish was different

I wish we had more organization amongst the teaching team, but otherwise, it was absolutely fantastic.

Advice

Learn from your students every day as much as they learn from you.
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Teaching Fellow

May - July 2018 • Birmingham, AL

What I liked

The experience, networking opportunities, and chance to interact with change-making students

What I wish was different

The administration

Advice

Go in with a support system - you can get so much out of this experience as long as you’re continually taking care of yourself
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Teaching Fellow

June - August 2018 • San Francisco, CA

What I liked

Being around passion--both in the kids for learning, and the teaching fellows for their desire to make change.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Teaching Fellow

June - August 2018 • Manchester, NH

What I liked

This job was an incredible opportunity to get involved with the American educational system. I absolutely loved getting to know my students. I loved getting to teach English, something I am very passionate about. This was an invaluable experience. I learned so much about teaching and how people are affected by low-income households.

What I wish was different

Honestly, I wish the pay had been more. I made $1400 for the whole summer. I was commuting two hours each day. I actually lost money doing this job. I applied for a grant from CAS but I did not get it. Though I loved this job, I am in a horrible financial situation now beause I did not have the opportunity to save money this summer.

Advice

Work on time management! This is the skill that will make you the most successful in this job. You need to be able to get your lesson plans ready, teach, grade and advise. Furthermore, you have to manage your reponsibilities on different committees.
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Teaching Fellowship

May - September 2017 • Cambridge, MA

What I liked

The impact I was able to make on kids

What I wish was different

Spent more time enjoying the visiting city

Advice

Get sleep before you go lol
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Administrative Fellow

June - August 2018 • San Francisco, CA

What I liked

I liked having the opportunity to transition from the classroom as a teacher, to executive leadership as an Administrative Fellow. The internship was strategically designed for me to receive direction and guidance from an Administration Team as I carried out my responsibilities. Remarkably, the program is an all-inclusive learning environment where students, teaching fellows, instructional coaches, and administrators are cumulatively learning and working together to maintain a progressive organization.

What I wish was different

What I wish had been different is there to be more opportunity for me to interact and engage with students. As an administrator, it is prominent to work with adults more than students; however, the ultimate goals are centered around the students.

Advice

One piece of advice I would share about this experience is to keep an open mind and never limit yourself to learning new things. Specifically, San Francisco, CA, and the "Bay Area" is a well-diverse city that is motive on liberation and embracing social norms. Being a young, African American female from the South who grew up as a preacher's kid, there were norms in the Bay Area I was not used to. It was my determination and dedication to keep an open mind and learn about nuances and social norms that were different or unique to what I am familiar with. This broadened my spectrum on a cultural, social, ethnical level of what American and World society truly is. I will leave my last piece of advice to the fond words of Frederick Douglas, "If there is no struggle, there is no progress." Be willing to own up to mistakes and see them as learning opportunities that are footsteps to your next step on your staircase to success.
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Teaching Fellow

June - August 2018 • Houston, TX

What I liked

I loved being able to teach 7th graders a topic that I loved so much! I taught a Life Sciences course which directly related to Kinesiology, my major, since it was simply a 7th grade friendly version of Anatomy and Physiology. I also planned a huge field day for all 180 students and taught a Strength and Conditioning elective.

What I wish was different

I wish I would have had more time at the fellowship. The summer seemed to progress so quickly.

Advice

"Lean into discomfort." This was one of the most repeated phrases at the fellowship and it makes complete sense. Teaching can be uncomfortable and awkward at first. However, once you embrace the unknown, you have so much fun learning from your students and fellow teachers!
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Teaching Fellow

June - July 2018 • Santa Fe, NM

What I liked

I liked that I was able to truly experience a challenging yet manageable teaching experience to figure out if I really want to be a teacher. Turns out, I do!

What I wish was different

Nothing

Advice

Time management here is key; You have to be on top of things. Also, remember that teaching isn’t just teaching. You’re a teacher, a planner, a counselor, and more.
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Teaching Fellow

June - August 2018 • Providence, RI

What I liked

Great pre-professional experience for my future career in teaching, amazing social justice curriculum incorporated into English curriculum, freedom to design lessons, mentorship from experienced public school teachers, warm and inclusive community (staff and students)

What I wish was different

Hours could be very taxing (some days we were at work for 11 hours and then have to prep for lessons for a few more hours after work; we were required to supervise an overnight sleepover and sleep in three-hour shifts)---overall a rewarding experience but could often be exhausting. I wish that they had kept this exhaustion more in mind (and either reduced hours or paid more) in order to really accomplish their self-care rhetoric.

Advice

You can make a meaningful impact on students and help them connect with the city of Providence even if you are not from Providence itself.
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Teaching Fellow

June - August 2018 • San Juan Capistrano, CA

What I liked

I loved the community there. Everyone was very welcoming and supportive. I got a lot of great experience as a leader and as a teacher.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Breakthrough Collaborative Teacher Fellow

June - August 2018 • Austin, TX

What I liked

I loved working with a variety of colleagues and getting a professional educational experience. These students captured my heart in such a vibrant city.

What I wish was different

Communication between leaderships and different staffs.

Advice

Go in with an open heart. You definitely get an eye-opening, real-world experience. Living in another city is such a wonderful opportunity, and now I have an Austin family and connections that makes me feel blessed.
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Summer Teaching Fellow

June - August 2018 • Philadelphia, PA

What I liked

I loved the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the classroom. I spent ALOT of time in the classroom teaching, which helped me to grow as en educator. Breakthrough also offered feedback from an instructional coach, who taught in my subject area. My IC was valuable in using his past experiences as an educator to asssit me in my efforts as a teacher. Breakthrough taught me valuable lesson planning and classroom management skills that I will take with me in my future as an educator. My experience at Breakthrough confirmed my passion for becoming a teacher. I recommend this internship to anyone interested in education equity or anyone looking to gain experience in the classroom.

What I wish was different

Advice

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