A Day in the Life of a BTH Teacher

New Things Happening At Breakthrough Houston in Summer 2017

By: Kathy Heinzerling, Executive Director

 

  • Largest student body and cohort of teachers – 180 students and 36 Teaching Fellows and 6 Teaching Assistants.
  • New parts of orientation for teachers – 3 hour training from Mental Health America to help teachers identify students with needs; also a 2 part leadership training with PAL (Peer Assistance Leadership) to train our teaching fellows and teaching assistants to be able to lead leadership activities on the 9th grade camping trip the weekend of June 23.
  • Improved camping trip as a result of a grant from Bridge- Up at Menninger – includes our trainings with PAL, 2 charter buses to take us to Brazos Bend State Park and better food and equipment.
  • Improved BPI (Breakthrough Pals Initiative) including more activities for the BPI groupings between 7th and 9th graders.
  • A school counselor to come 2 times a week during a non-academic period, to speak to any of our students who might need some counseling help; the licensed counselor comes through UH ADAPT and is as a result of our Bridge- Up at Menninger grant.
  • Improved ACT/College Knowledge 2 week workshop for sophomores and juniors; an updated curriculum and added College Essay writing for 30+ students. This is also a result of our grant from Bridge-Up at Menninger.
  • We are very grateful to ALL of our donors for making Breakthrough Houston possible for both students and teachers.

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.”

 

 

Week One – Summer 2017 Teacher Blog

By: Kathryn Powell

 

My first week of Breakthrough and teaching in a classroom setting has been a whirlwind of papers, schedules, cheers, and kudos. I rush from one class to the next, multitasking by setting up my PowerPoints and directing students, sometimes crossing my fingers and hoping the copier didn’t cheat me on the handout count. The days are a slow blur. It’s a tough learning curve for someone with no prior teaching experience.  And yet, in each day there are many moments of joy. Students trade high fives with teachers in the Morning Bridge, Flores Hall echoes with Breakthrough cheers, and Teaching Fellows lead the way with encouraging messages and Spirit Stick nominations during the All School Meetings.

These joyful moments are some of what I appreciate most about Breakthrough. It’s hard work. It’s dedication. But, it’s also fun. The support Teaching Fellows receive from the Breakthrough community is also something that encourages me and keeps me going. From Instructional Coaches who give specific advice for the classroom, to A-Team members who answer every question, to fellow TF’s who lend their laptops, advice, and friendship, everyone at Breakthrough keeps the program afloat with thoughtful support.

So far, this summer I’ve learned a few lessons:

  1. Never, ever, judge a first-year teacher ever again.
  2. Every moment matters, both in and out of the classroom. My time is no longer mine–it’s the kids’. It’s both an intimidating and wonderful opportunity and responsibility.
  3. Hole punch everything.

 

I’m sure in the coming weeks there will be many more lessons to add to this list, which is so exciting. I look forward to settling into the classroom as a teacher and getting to know my students. I am excited to see where the summer will take us. Breakthrough gives both students and teaching fellows space to grow, and I cannot wait to see who my students and my co-teachers will become in the next few weeks.

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