Application FAQ, or “How I Spend My Days”

Answering these questions.  They are frequently asked.  In the spirit of being proactive, here is the 2009 Teacher Application FAQ:

  • I’m studying abroad this spring, and I won’t be able to attend an interview. Can I still apply?
    • Yes! A great many of our applicants travel during the application season, and our directors expect to conduct many interviews at strange hours over the phone or via Skype. In fact, most interviews overall are conducted over the phone, so this is totally no big deal.
  • I’m a senior graduating in May, so I won’t be an undergraduate this summer. Am I still eligible?
    • Absolutely. Even those of you who graduate a semester early in December are eligible. Any students within the age range with a Bachelor’s completion date of December 2008 or later are eligible to teach with Breakthrough.
  • I’m a returning teacher, and I can’t seem to get my login and password.
  • I’m totally awesome, and really great as well. Please accept my impressive resume for further consideration.
    • I really can’t do anything with your resume, except wonder whether you can follow instructions. All admissions are completed via the online application, and all decisions are made by the placement directors of our sites. Kudos for being a go-getter, though.
  • What are the dates of the program?
    • The dates of our various programs vary according to the local school schedule, but all cover 8-9 weeks of service with full attendance required. Make sure you apply to sites with dates that work for you. The specific dates are included on the Site Roster inside the application, or they can be accessed via the handy chart downloadable here.

23 Responses to Application FAQ, or “How I Spend My Days”

  1. Tamara says:

    I just learned about this program and am in the middle of filling out the application. I was wondering when the letters of recommendations are due. Are they due with the application or only if we are considered for an interview?

  2. Simonne says:

    I am an 8th grader and going to be a highschooler (freshman) for the 2010-2011 school year. Am I aloud to apply? If yes, what do I put for all of the high school information?

    • Dave Bryson says:


      Unfortunately, I think you should wait at least a year to consider applying to teach full time with Breakthrough. We recruit high school and college student (typically between the ages of 15 and 23) to teach. There are often volunteer positions for people interested in teaching in the future. You may want to investigate those opportunities at the site near you.

      Good luck!

  3. Tina says:

    Hello, I just submitted my application. However, I was wondering about the housing process? How does it work? I don’t have a place to stay in the sites that I choose. What is done in these circumstances? Would that become a problem?

    • Dave Bryson says:

      Hi Tina-

      I assume you’ve looked at the “Site Roster” inside the application in order to determine that the sites you listed actually offer housing. That would be step number one. As far as each specific location, I would encourage you to raise that question if and when you are interviewed at a given site. Specifics range from site to site and year to year. For candidates that sites need to bring on every effort is made to find a positive housing situation.

  4. Mia says:

    Hi, I just sent in my application, but I’m confused about the letter of recommendation. Do we have our recommender send it in electronically or do we have them put it in a sealed envelope to give at the interview?
    Thank you!

    • Dave Bryson says:

      Hi Mia-

      Great question. We have changed up our process to an electronic format this year so we are experiencing a few growing pains. Thanks for you perseverance.

      With the eRecommendation form, please forward it as an attachment to your professor/employer. Tell this person to complete it and save it on his/her folders. If you are asked for an interview, you (the applicant) will provide the email of the director (and this director only) to your recommender. Your recommender will send the eRecommendation as an attachment directly to the director.

      The reason we want you recommender sending the recomendation only to the director who asks for it, is that not every applicant is offered an interview and therefore will require a recommendation. Once the first director recieves the eRecommendation, s/he can upload it to your online file in our database so that other directors can access it.

  5. Rhea says:

    Hello, I am considering applying and wonder if anyone has ever done this program and also took a summer course at the same time? In other words has anyone taken a night course and taught during the day?

    Thank You!!!

    • Dave Bryson says:

      Hi Rhea-

      The expectation is full commitment for all teachers. If I were a Director, I would have strong reservations about bringing someone on board who was going to give anything but the highest commitment. I would not advise you to take on extra responsibilities.

      Best of luck.

  6. Yin Guan says:

    Hi, I am really excited to apply to teach for Breakthroughs this summer! I have a question regarding the letter of recommendation. I am a college freshman and have just finished my first semester; do you have a preference for whether my recommender is a college professor or a high school teacher?

    • Dave Bryson says:

      Hi Yin-

      I usually answer this question by asking a question: Who knows you best? Who can describe your leadership qualities most accurately? Who can assess your ability to stretch yourself in new ways, take on responsibility, work as part of a high-functioning team, incorporate feedback and model excellence? That’s your person. Whether it’s a high school teacher, a college professor or a summer supervisor is less important than the person’s knowledge of you!

      I would encourage you to stay away from family member or friend as those people will tend to be less objective in their assessment and will be more difficult for the Placement Directors to utilize in their decision making process.

      Good luck!

  7. Hannah Sharp says:

    I, unfortunately, only learned about this program last night. I am extremely interested in breakthrough, and can’t wait to start in as soon as possible on the next application session. When will the information for next year’s summer session become available?

  8. Boris Atanassov says:

    Do the interviews have to necessarily happen face to face?

  9. Esha Singh says:

    I’d like to know if I an Indian citizen in my final year of graduation doing political science honors apply!
    Id love a global experience.. i’ve already worked with kids in Ukraine last summer.

    • Bobby Cupp says:


      You should submit your application, then engage with the directors to which you applied about your situation. International students are admitted, but the policies and procedures are dictated by each individual site.

  10. Olga Pagan says:

    I’m looking for a description of each site, not just the start and end dates… I know I’ve seen it before but I can’t seem to find it anymore. Where can I look at such a list?

  11. Laure Hoffman says:

    The summer teaching program sounds like a great experience. I am just wondering if the paid internship refers to the $2000 stipend?

  12. Leah says:

    Hi, I’m applying for the first time, and I have a question:
    When I look at the profile for all the sites, it says something like, for 2008, 30 teachers were chosen out of 140 applications. Does the 140 include people who put that site down as their second or third choice, too? Or does it mean that only 1/7 people who applied got to teach?

    In other words, what percentage of people who apply to Breakthrough are chosen to teach?


    • Bobby Cupp says:

      Leah –

      That’s a good question. The number listed includes all the applicants that chose that site 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th. Overall, in 2008 we received around 1,600 applications and 753 teachers were placed. Most of those were chosen by their 1st or 2nd ranked site.

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