2009 Summer Bloggers :: Julia Clark

Name: Julia Clarkjulia clark
Breakthrough Site: Hong Kong
Subject Teaching: Short Stories and Poetry of Japan
School Attending/Year: Smith College 2011

First Prompt: What are you most looking forward to this summer? What do you imagine you will need to rely on your fellow teachers for?

At Smith this year, I thought about coming back to Breakthrough daily. My Celebration invitation from Miami ’08 was hanging on my door, and the program on the mini-fridge in my room. An acrostic poem a student wrote for me was framed on my wall, a crown the students made all of the teachers hanging above my bed. My Summerbook was on a shelf of its own, away from all of my textbooks. Breakthrough makes me realize the importance of my education, and being a teacher gives me purpose. Aside from my own self-fulfillment, I am looking forward to meeting bright, talented students and learning with them and from them. As a returning teacher, this will also be my first class taught in English (I have previously taught German and Japanese at Breakthrough Miami), as well as my first international experience. I am so excited to meet other teachers form Canada, the UK, the US, and Hong Kong. It is so exciting to be a part of such an international collaboration for educational opportunity and equality. I am looking forward to the progress and growth of the students this summer at all of the Breakthrough sites most of all.

During my interview with the Hong Kong program, we discussed teacher interdependence a great deal. Although at the core of things, it’s all about the students, the teachers provide advice, friendship, compassion, and the ultimate support system. I know I wouldn’t have been able to deal with any of the stress that goes along with long hours and sometimes forgetting about one’s own needs without my fellow teachers. I am so looking forward to watching other teachers do what they do best: teach. My most successful classes have usually followed a brainstorming session with teachers from all subjects, and sometimes even from other sites, on how to teach something I just cannot tackle. Last summer, another Japanese teacher at one of Breakthrough Miami’s three sites helped me conquer a topic I had tried to teach unsuccessfully for a few days, incorporating costumes, dramatics, and ultimately, engaging the students in a way I had never seen before. I am looking forward to more lessons like these.

How lucky I am to be taking part in another great summer!

One Response to 2009 Summer Bloggers :: Julia Clark

  1. Nathalie A says:

    Hey Julia! So good to hear from you! Glad you are doing the blog! I started teaching at BTFL- Breakthrough Ft.Lauderdale. It’s a lot of work!
    Students are great!

    wish you all the best,


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