Leanne M. Finamore

October 17, 2014

Becoming a Teacher: Reflections on a Summer of Learning

Summer internships not only teach us practical skills for the career fields we are interested in, but also teach us about ourselves and how we learn in challenging and professional environments. This summer, I taught Chemistry to twenty-eight 8th Graders from Denver's Public Middle Schools at Breakthrough Kent Denver: a site of the national organization, Breakthrough Collaborative. I taught three 45-minute chemistry lessons each day, had my own classroom, built lesson plans, advised eight students, co-taught an elective class, and collaborated regularly with a professional teacher to improve my chemistry curriculum. Much of my experience was exactly what I expected going into this role. I learned a lot about how to structure a lesson effectively, how to keep students engaged, how to set clear expectations and procedures for my classroom, and how to hold my students accountable to those expectations using strong classroom management tools. I also, however, gained many unexpected insights into my personal process of growth as a teacher. This presentation reflects on what I learned about teaching and about myself during my summer internship teaching at Breakthrough Collaborative.