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Supporting the Next Generation of Teachers

Each May, organizations and communities across the nation celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, coming together to express gratitude to the educators who work tirelessly to support and inspire our students.

At City Year, we understand the joys and challenges of working as an educator. Teachers put in long hours and often invest their own financial resources to provide their students with a nurturing learning environment. Yet, despite navigating the complexities of the classroom, being an educator also comes with so much joy. Few things compare to watching students achieve their goals, helping them foster healthy friendships with other students, and seeing young people come into their own, year after year.

For Teacher Appreciation Week this year, we’re highlighting Rachel Keyt, City Year Sacramento ’21, and a current teacher at a City Year partner school. She shares how her years as a student success coach helped shape her as an educator and what it’s like to be on “the other side” as a City Year partner teacher.

City Year prepares you for your career as an educator.

I knew I wanted to become a teacher after graduating from college, even though I majored in animal science with a focus on equine science. However, one summer, I worked at a camp teaching kids about animals, and I realized that I liked the teaching part more than the animal science part, so I decided to apply to City Year to serve as a student success coach.

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  City Year AmeriCorps members are student success coaches.

My service experience as an AmeriCorps member prepared me in that I learned a lot of foundational skills and had a safe and supportive environment to put those skills into practice. I worked with small groups of students, practicing the instructional techniques I had learned, and I was able to get feedback from my partner teacher and impact manager (a City Year staff person who supports teams of AmeriCorps members in schools).

Working with a City Year AmeriCorps member as a classroom teacher brings additional resources to students.

This is not my first year teaching, but it is my first year partnering with a City Year AmeriCorps member. I work with City Year Sacramento AmeriCorps member Vanessa Vang in my third-grade classroom; she has been a great help this year. She is another supportive presence in the class, checking in with students. Like I did as a corps member, Vaness works with small groups of students to help them achieve their academic goals.

As I mentioned, I didn’t have a City Year student success coach in my classroom last year, but it was also my first year teaching. It was incredibly difficult to manage everything on my own and support all of my students’ different needs.

So, having Vanessa be here to pull small groups or check in with students is really helpful for me. She also checks in with kids socially, emotionally, and academically. It’s just really nice having another adult in the room. We get a lot more done that way!

Your experience as a City Year alum uniquely positions you to support new AmeriCorps members.

Having been a corps member, I felt really prepared to support Vanessa because I understand what it’s like to be in a classroom for the first time, helping students in new ways, or trying to foster a positive relationship with a new partner teacher.

I remember all the questions and nerves I had as an AmeriCorps member, so I make sure to communicate clearly and support in other practical ways like helping Vanessa prepare her small-group lessons.

Learn what to expect when you join City Year as an AmeriCorps member.

Helping to inspire the next generation of educators.

One of the reasons why Vanessa and I were paired together is because Vanessa also wants to become a teacher. It’s been really fun and rewarding to have someone to mentor along that process and support someone who wants to be a teacher and pursue this career path.

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    Did you know that nearly half of City Year’s alumni currently work in the education sector? Check out the impact our alums are making across an array of professions.

We need highly qualified and dedicated educators to teach in our schools. As someone who has served in the school where I work now, I feel teachers need to be connected to their community. Having someone who knows what it’s like working at our school and who wants to be a teacher makes me hopeful for the future of education.

Are you interested in serving our students and laying the foundation for your career as an educator? Click here to apply now! 

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