CAS ‘16 | Independent Concentration-Neurosociology & Education
During the summer of 2015, Stefanie Grossano was a Teaching Fellow for the Generation Teach Program, which she found on Idealist.org.
CCD: What did you do in that position? What were your responsibilities?
Stefanie: As a Generation Teach (GT) Fellow, I taught Speech & Debate to middle schoolers for three periods a day, over four weeks. Outside of my teaching responsibility, I also oversaw a club of 12 students, advised three students, and ran a committee that coordinated the end-of-summer Community Celebration.
CCD: What was the best thing about the experience? What was the worst?
Stefanie: The best thing about my summer experience was GT’s focus on growth. Before becoming a GT Fellow, I taught at a college access program where I was given little guidance about how to teach and little feedback on my performance. At GT, growth is a core value that is focused on daily. Each fellow is assigned to an academic department (i.e., “the subject you teach”) with a Teacher Coach who is a professional educator. Everyday I was observed and given feedback from my Teacher Coach. During our orientation, we receive training in accepting and implementing feedback. In this way, I was able to constantly improve my teaching practice and never felt alone.
The worst part of my experience were the incredibly long hours that were required from us. I arrived at school at 7:30am and left at about 5:30pm. Even after I arrived at home, I would spent the rest of my evenings working on lesson plans and preparing for the next day. In this way, being a teaching fellow was very intensive.
CCD: What is one thing you’ve learned that will benefit any future internships or other hands-on experiences?
Stefanie: I learned how to be objective and critical about my own work and how to accept feedback. The structure of Generation Teach is such that you engage in reflective practice, where you are constantly evaluating your own practice. Additionally, you receive feedback from a more experienced coach every day. I believe that this will be invaluable as I move forward in the professional world. Many schools use a similarly intensive feedback structure. Even outside of teaching, being able to evaluate your own work is key to grow and optimal performance.
CCD: What are the benefits of the type of summer experience you did?
Stefanie: Most teachers decide to be teachers before stepping foot in the classroom. Most people decide not to be teachers because they are unsure if they will like it or if they will have an aptitude for it. Generation Teach gives you the opportunity to try out teaching in a supportive environment.