SummerBloggers 2009 :: Laura Zaim

Name: Laura ZaimLaura Zaim photo
BreakthroughSite:  Miami- Ransom Everglades Site
Subject Teaching: 5th grade science and Yoga
School: Washington University in St. Louis, class of 2012, anthropology major and premed

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

I applied to Breakthrough because I have teaching experience, and I know what a great impact a teacher can have on a student. Therefore, what I most look forward to this summer is forging the friendships and bonds with my students in order to be able to help them, each and everyone individually, in the best way for them, whether it be as a role model, open ear, or simply a sounding board against which to vent their frustrations. I  also know that teaching is an all-consuming job that requires a lot of patience, organization and creativity. I will definitely be reliant on my fellow teachers for commiserating with me over having 12 lesson plans due the next day, for helping me to come up with a creative and fun way to teach lab safety, and for keeping staff meetings entertaining and creating an awesomely exuberant atmosphere at Ransom Everglades with their boundless energy.

If you are already in Orientation, please reflect on your biggest “Aha” moment in Orientation:

Having just wrapped up my Orientation week, I can look back and say that my greatest AHA moment came when I realized exactly why we had to be there from 9 to 5 every single day, although some of the activities seemed forced and the days lagged on for hours while outside the beautiful Miami sun shone down and the beach beckoned to us, especially the out-of-towners like me. It was Thursday, right after lunch, as we trouped across campus to yet another administrative meeting with some abstract title like student accountability, that I realized the point of Orientation was not simply to teach us how to teach. The entire staff had impressed me since the very first day with their wide range of talents and backgrounds and despite such differences, or maybe because of, we had gelled really quickly, and I knew we would all make good teachers individually. The point of this whole week was to immerse us into the Breakthrough mentality and solidify us into one solid unit, a team that can operate as smoothly as possible along shared values. This was the only way that we would ever be able to support the 200+ students, including our pilot 5th grade program (sooo young!!) that would be flooding our campus in 4 days. By creating this bond of trust and interdependence between the teachers, mentor teachers and our amazing administrative staff- from the site directors to the operations coordinators to the incredible volunteers- we would be able to withstand any and every problem headed our way during the first week, first day, and especially the first hour (and believe me, there were to be quite a few of those inevitable hiccups!). And really the only way to do this was to have us living, eating and breathing together for as much time as possible in a crash course of intense team-building activities squeeed into 6 days. Once I finally came to that realization and embraced the entire purpose of orientation, time started to fly- too bad it came so late in the week!!


2 Responses to SummerBloggers 2009 :: Laura Zaim

  1. Janessa says:

    Yay, Laura (co-bus captain)! Way to represent BT Miami in blogging! I know that you’re experience is just going to keep getting better. By the end of the summer, you’ll have accomplished an amazing task that will reward your students and be a huge growth for you.

    PS: Nancy, you rock. Everyday I teach English, I admire you a little bit more 🙂

  2. Nancy Wang says:

    Hey Laura,
    I taught at Ransom last year! I wish you the best! 😀

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