Meet your Colleagues: Sarah in Houston

Dear Breakthrough readers,

First, the “David Copperfield” introduction. 🙂 My name is Sarah Leslie and I’m proud to be teaching at the Breakthrough Houston Site. Not only do I teach 8th grade English, I also co-teach the Speak Out! elective (speech & debate) and the Arts & Crafts activity. In the fall, I’ll be a junior at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX.

Before beginning Breakthrough thoughts were flying through my brain. What will I teach my students? What will my co-workers be like? What other responsibilities will I have? Do I really know enough about Shakespeare to teach it effectively? How will I afford to eat? When orientation started, the questions increased. How will I incorporate Maslow, Piaget, and the other educational theorists? What will my class expections, discipline methods, and class rules be? How will I reach every student and make Shakespeare come alive for them?

At first, the questions were overwhelming. Even as I’ve passed the half-way point as a teacher, it can still be overwhelming. Over time, I’ve developed some techniques for coping. First, I write down any question, thought, random floating idea, etc. in my Breakthrough spiral. Literally, it has become my brain. Second, when I have a question, I get answers. I ask fellow teachers, students, mentor teachers, parents, friends, random people on the street. Well, maybe not the last group, but I use my resources. Of these, I feel like the most revelant, direct, and useful information comes from my students. They are full of creativity and energy, and they are not afraid to tell me what they want from me as a teacher.

As I continue to push forward toward the end of the program, I am amazed at all that has been accomplished. Here we are, with only our Director over the age of 30, running a school! I feel already that I have grown so much as a person, coworker, and especially a teacher. I have been stretched thinner than I thought I ever could be, run on less sleep than I thought was humanly possible, and tried as hard as I could to make fun, engaging, and educational lessons. But I’m not the only one who has accomplished something. Our staff, although a diverse group, has come together and formed a united front that conquers challenges as a team. I am always impressed with the number of faculty kudos at the end of our meetings and at the passion and dedication to the students each member of our faculty has.

I want to end with what this whole program rotates around. The kids. “Kids” doesn’t even seem like an appropriate title because these students have blown me away. Their dedication, creativity, spirit, and craving for knowledge are inspirational to me as a teacher and will continue to inspire me as a student when I return to school in the fall. I love these students, I love this program, and I am so grateful for the opportunity it gives all involved to strive to be the best they possibly can.

Thanks for reading and gooooo Breakthrough!

Sarah Leslie


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