City Year prepared me for a career in teaching
Starting a career with City Year AmeriCorps
While I was finishing up my student teaching experience at Milwaukee School of Languages (MSL) last year, I had the opportunity to meet Meralis Hood, executive director of City Year Milwaukee and a former teacher and assistant principal, and learn more about City Year. When Meralis described the work AmeriCorps members do every day—serving as student success coaches to students, tutoring them one-on-one and in small groups; becoming trusted mentors and role models; partnering with teachers to differentiate and personalize instruction; and running afterschool programs and whole school activities designed to enhance culture and climate, I was instantly hooked.
Learn more about what serving with City Year in schools looks like.
Although I was lucky enough to have other job offers lined up after I graduated from college in December, including offers to become a teacher, I did not think that I was ready to work in a high school space as a teacher, just yet. It would have been easy to take a teaching position halfway through the school year and make more money, but it would have been a disservice to me as well as to the students I would have worked with. I did not want to be the only Spanish teacher in a school and do a mediocre job right out of the gate, because I wasn’t ready. That said, I was highly convinced that working as a City Year AmeriCorps member would be a better route to prepare me as a new teacher.
Thousands of City Year alumni have entered the education sector as teachers, administrators, social workers and in education nonprofits. Check out the impact of our 32,000 alums who continue to serve and lead across a variety of professions.
Maintaining the joy in service
After nearly two months of service, I do not regret my decision of serving with City Year at all. From what I have been told, corps members who start their service year in January come in with all kinds of energy and excitement, then experience a dip soon after. In my case, I have yet to reach a large dip in my passion for the work that I do with my students. I no longer view work as a means of making money, but as a means of self-worth and service for others. When I wake up in the morning, now, I know what my purpose is: to help set students up for success in school as well as in the real world.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with hundreds of students with a variety of backgrounds this year. Before City Year, I could not have imagined learning how to say, “Good morning” or “How are you?” in Burmese and be able to respond afterward. Likewise, many of my Hispanic students have taught me different phrases and words that are used in their home countries. This knowledge will become useful for me when I start teaching Spanish classes of my own.
Expanding career skills with City Year AmeriCorps
It will be sad to part ways with my students after my year as a City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member is over, but I look forward to seeing them succeed in the near future. I am grateful for the experiences City Year brought me, and will take these experiences with me, when I become a teacher and have a classroom of my own.
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