Even before the pandemic, Houston struggled to staff classrooms with skilled teachers. The pandemic increased teacher retirements and contributed to declining enrollments to work in the educational sector. 

Your support of Breakthrough programs addresses this critical need by growing a teacher pipeline with students like Angelique Pinto. Angelique worked as a Teaching Assistant in Breakthrough Houston’s 2021 Summer Program. 

Below she talks about this renowned training program and explains why it is so valuable to future teachers and college students of any major. 

Q. Can you share a bit about the program? 

A. It’s an 8-week program that begins with two weeks of intensive teacher training, followed by six weeks of actual classroom teaching. In addition to teaching academics, our training includes modules on growing leadership skills, socio-emotional learning and classroom management. Over the course of the summer, we developed & strengthened interpersonal skills and learned how to effectively manage conflict – all valuable skills for any profession.

Q. What did you do?

A. Everything a teacher would do, from lesson planning to classroom setup, to grading. Working as a Teaching Assistant was incredibly valuable as it provided an opportunity to observe teaching skills about which I only had theoretical knowledge, deepening my understanding. It also gave me direct experience with teenage classroom antics.

Q. What did you learn? 

A. As educators, we have a responsibility to foster our students’ personal growth. My 9th graders went from reluctantly participating in class to stepping up to effectively argue their answers. Witnessing them metamorphose from guarded to fully engaged was incredibly powerful.

Q. Sounds like a busy summer. Was it worth it? 

A. Definitely. It’s rare to say that a program changes your life, but I honestly would not be the person I am now had I not participated in this program. 

Q. Any negatives at all? 

A. The only untoward experience would be that it completely spoiled me!

It was everything an academic environment should be — the students were motivated, the curriculum was well-structured, the environment was supportive and nurturing.

This program was a utopia. Through Breakthrough I experienced what a teaching model should and could look like — and what it shouldn’t.

I really encourage all students to apply to the program irrespective of their major. It will be an experience you will not regret — or forget!