By: Daisy Nieto
Breakthrough Houston Teaching Fellow, College Bound 2022

No one is born a perfect presenter. It takes a lot of practice, trial and error, and embarrassing moments to create your own style and persona. As a Breakthrough Houston College Bound Teaching Fellow (TF), I was able to start creating my own style as a presenter. The only difference with practicing as a Teaching Fellow is that I received an overwhelming amount of support and advice that I feel I could not have received elsewhere. 

I never considered myself to be a good presenter, and although I’d practiced at it over the years, I was nervous about managing my virtual classroom this summer. But right from the start, BTH provided me with the training and guidance I needed for this new experience. Knowing my lessons were making an impact on underrepresented youth that deserved this academic enrichment motivated me to keep going.

My class schedule initially felt challenging: each week, I would give four lessons to two class periods. Luckily, I spent the first two weeks of our Breakthrough summer training getting to know my fellow TFs. The relationships we formed with each other helped build up my confidence, and I knew that if I made any mistakes, I could lean on and learn from them. 

After those two weeks of training, day one of teaching had arrived.  I still felt nervous, but I knew I was mentally prepared for the day and ready to teach my first lesson. Although there were a few hiccups during the first lesson, I was able to correct them for my second lesson. At the end of the day when we had our staff huddle, I voiced my growth areas and received some great tips on engagement from my Instructional Coaches right away. I loved how the space we created not only felt safe for the students, but for us Teaching Fellows as well. I felt comfortable explaining my needs, and I received help when I asked for it.

The help I received allowed my classroom engagement with students to grow dramatically. While it was important for my students to continue learning their PSAT skills, I was glad to see that they felt safe enough in my classroom to comfortably learn from their mistakes. 

Entering a new environment can often lead me to put up mental walls to protect myself emotionally, and I know that applies to others as well. But that feeling of insecurity went away so quickly due to the care and support everyone put into this course. Working at BTH as a Teaching Fellow this summer has been such a precious experience. I appreciated learning new skills and tools that I was quickly able to apply to my classroom, and I know my students will continue learning and growing during the school year, too. 

Daisy Nieto is a rising sophomore at Trinity University. She is planning on majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Business. She is part of several organizations including Tiger Breaks (community service), the Chinese Language and Culture Association, Badminton Club, and the TU Latino Association.

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