Category Archives: MAT English

2017 Teacher Research Project Conference

On May 17, 2017, Brown MAT students gathered at The Wheeler School in Providence to present their year-long teacher research projects. Director of Teacher Education Daniel Bisaccio welcomed everyone to the conference.

Dulari Tahbildar (Brown ’00), executive director of Breakthrough Providence whose works centers on educational equity and social justice, provided the keynote address. Dulari challenged the MAT students by participating in an exercise that encouraged them to reflect on their own teaching experiences and what they hope to do and be in the future classroom.

After a brief reception for students, faculty, mentors, and friends, 39 MAT students presented their projects during three 30-minute sessions. Visitors ambled from room to room to view presentations on computers and on posterboards, some with visual aids ranging from completed classroom assignments to student poems to taxonomy.

Read on to see candid conference photos of some of the presenters and their projects: Continue reading

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Student Perspective: A Visit (and Some Inspiration) from Penny Kittle

Bridget Sheppard is a current Master of Arts in Teaching student concentrating in Secondary English Education. This semester, the English MAT classroom was visited by a very special guest speaker, Penny Kittle, an English teacher, author, and student advocate. Bridget has graciously shared with us some of her thoughts and reflections on the experience. Read her words below!


There are those books you encounter that entirely change the way you see something–those moments of discovery that shift your perspective. For me, “Book Love” by Penny Kittle was one of those transformative books. So you can imagine my excitement when Ms. Kittle, also the author of “Write Beside Them,” visited Brown to talk with current English MATs, alumni, and local teachers.

During her presentation, Ms. Kittle shared more about her teaching philosophy: she believes that English class should be more focused on students discovering a love of books and of learning. She encourages this through a curriculum that has students each semester read one whole class novel, one option for a book club with other students, and their own independent reading.

As she showed us videos of her students discussing their reading and conferencing with her about books, it was clear how impactful this approach could be. One of her students in a video interview said he had never read any books for school before, but this year had read an entire stack of them–and the best part of this fact was the pride he had in saying it. What is so inspiring about Ms. Kittle is how she cares about and listens to her students and believes that they will find the books that resonate with them–they sense this belief she has in them and this love she has for books, and eventually, they believe it, too.

These moments of her students stood out to me among the million other ideas that stayed with me after the talk. I left Ms. Kittle’s presentation with enough enthusiasm and new ideas that I wanted to burst into a classroom the next morning and start trying them out right away. I wanted to try Draftback on Google Docs, I wanted to have students create their own reading ladders, I wanted to conference with students, I wanted to build up my own classroom library, I wanted to have book talks, and I wanted to have students freewrite and edit like we did on the idea of “Being 12” (sidenote: if you haven’t seen this video on YouTube, you should watch it–right after you finish reading this).

But most of all, I left wanting to see students discover the books that they love–the books that will make them fall in love with stories the way that Harry Potter did for me and did for my friend Hannah (Ms. Kittle’s daughter, who was also at the talk), the books that will then lead them to making friends with someone equally as enthused about them (because Harry Potter is part of the foundation of my friendship with Hannah–I’m refraining now from delving into an analysis of our Houses). I left wanting to put the ideas I learned from Ms. Kittle into practice, so that my students can find the books–like “Book Love” for me–that change the way they see the world.

Penny Kittle with English MATs, alumni, and local teachers

Student Perspective: English MATs attend “Educating for Change” Conference in St. Louis

This February, three current English MAT students, Victor Ha, Lucy Short, and Fritha Wright, traveled to St. Louis, Missouri to attend the Annual Educating for Change Conference, an event that focuses on social justice education in classrooms and communities. At the conference, these students had the amazing opportunity to present the results of their Teacher Research Projects, which MAT students complete during their student teaching semester as a means to explore and evaluate their own teaching practices.

Vic, Lucy, and Fritha were kind enough to share their experiences attending the conference; read their words below!


“We don’t always win, but we don’t stop fighting because we didn’t win.”
– Linda Christensen on making space for hope in the Social Justice English classroom

Fritha Wright, Victor Ha, and Lucy Short

This conference began as a dream to exchange plans, goals, and hopes for the social justice classroom. We stumbled upon the Educators for Social Justice conference, Educating for Change, while we were in between classes. Following our student-teaching semesters, we longed for the communities we’d nurtured with former students but dreamt of the curriculum we would build around our future ones.

With the combined support of the Education Department Graduate Student Conference Fund and the Brown Graduate School Graduate Student Conference Travel Fund, we ended up in St. Louis, Missouri to learn from local educators and keynote speaker, Linda Christensen. (St. Louis in February is beautiful!) After honing our Teacher Research Projects for this new audience, we felt exhilarated at the prospect of sharing the inspiring work of our students.

Vic shared his writing mini-workshops from his Race Studies unit. Researching and responding to nonfiction texts about race, students strengthened their ability to produce original analytical claims. Fritha presented her research on scaffolding literary analysis and using texts like poetry, lyrics, and music videos to engage students interests and identities and invite them to voice their unique insights and analysis. Lucy spoke with St. Louis area educators about the poetry journals her students created and how to foster expression in the ELA classroom through reading, reflection, and resistance.

As exciting as it was to share our original research with others, perhaps most meaningful of all was the opportunity to listen to, speak with, and explore alongside Linda Christensen, an educator who has devoted her life to innovating what it means to foster a simultaneously critical and hopeful classroom. In her keynote address, Christensen presented a unit on gentrification that employed student-centered inquiry to address contemporary notions of home, space, and belonging. In a workshop, Christensen engaged educators in critical discussions about how language and power shape each other. In closing, Christensen shared an incisive remark from a student about the importance of building community through honoring others’ narratives.

After the workshop, we all had the opportunity to ask Christensen questions about advice she had for us as new teachers entering the field. Her response was simple, “Be brave.” After a short but powerful weekend, we left St. Louis energized to teach expansively, think critically, and hope ardently.

Victor Ha, Brown B.A 2015, Brown English MAT 2016
Lucy Short, Brown English MAT 2016
Fritha Wright, Brown English MAT 2016

Student Perspective: Allie Curry on Curriculum Development

Allie CurryAllie Curry is a current Master of Arts in Teaching student concentrating in Secondary English Education. During her time student teaching at Brown Summer High School, Allie discovered a passion for the backwards-design approach to curriculum development taught by the Brown MAT Program.

Allie was kind enough to share with us some of her thoughts and reflections on this approach to teaching. Read her words below!


“I often think of K–12 curriculum as too important. In the hotly contested era of the Common Core, the American public debates whether curriculum is too important to be left to states or too important to be promoted by the federal government. In some urban school districts, curriculum is viewed as too important to be developed by teachers in the community, and so many cities are purchasing boxed curricula.

The Brown MAT program has taught me that curriculum is too important in a different sense. Beginning last summer in the first days of the program, I learned an approach to curriculum design that centers around Essential Questions—challenging, relevant, and authentic questions we ask about the world—and understandings, which, in the discipline of English at least, are rarely simple answers. With my talented teaching partner (another MAT), I developed a unit for a book we would teach to a diverse classroom of 9th through 12th graders over the course of Brown Summer High School, a free summer enrichment program for Providence-area youth.

In the afternoons, we paused our planning to take a Secondary program-wide course that has greatly influenced my teaching. Literacy Across the Curriculum challenged me to rethink my understanding of literacy and create curriculum that reflects and supports the community I teach. (I’ve thought about that class a lot in the first days of February. Curriculum—culturally relevant curriculum, that is—is too important to designate only a month of the year to the accomplishments of Black Americans.)

IMG_4008
I posed the question in the picture above (“Does the identity of the authors we read matter?”), as a part of a unit I designed during my student teaching semester last fall at a suburban public school south of Providence, North Kingstown High School. In my student teaching semester, I iterated and refined my curriculum design process to the point that I now feel prepared, confident, and excited to begin my first teaching job in an environment that will empower me to develop curriculum of real significance to my students and community.

The Brown MAT program will teach you to design and carry out lessons, units, and learning experiences that matter. Over the course of the program, I’ve seen many times how an Essential Questions curriculum encourages students to discover and construct knowledge in ways that will transfer to their lives beyond school. Ultimately, curriculum is too important because all students deserve access to challenging, relevant questions about the world and safe, supportive classrooms in which they can develop and express their diverse understandings.”

Meet our English Summer 2015 Mentors!

Each summer as our new cohorts take their first steps of the year into student teaching at Summer Prep (Elementary) or Brown Summer High School (Secondary), MAT students are equipped with the support of our enthusiastic mentor teachers.  Brown MAT mentor teachers are a diverse group of educators from public and private schools, some of whom received their Master of Arts in Teaching from Brown University in years past!  They all share one thing in common: a dedication to shaping the newest members of their profession into the most effective teachers possible.

This year, our Secondary English mentors were kind enough to share a bit about themselves with the MAT blog.  Read their bios below!



PeterPeter Boland
 has been teaching English for nearly fifteen years in a career spanning public, private Catholic, continuing ed, college, the Upward Bound program, and charter schools. He has spent the past eight years at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts which he counts as a career highlight and an extremely rewarding experience. Over the course of the past eight years he has received a Golden Apple award, been nominated by Beacon as a State Teacher of the Year Candidate, and has served on the Educators in Action committee, an advisory board for Rhode Island’s outgoing Education Commissioner Deborah Gist. This is his second year as a Brown Summer High School M.A.T. Mentor and he is looking forward to working with his new team with great enthusiasm.

Daniel DeCellesDaniel G. DeCelles earned an MAT in Secondary English from Brown University in 2000, and an MA in ESL Education and Cross-Cultural Studies in 2014. He has taught grades 6-12 for 15 years in Central Falls, Rhode Island’s smallest, poorest, and most diverse community, with a focus on arts-integrated literacy. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Education at Johnson & Wales, a member of the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, and a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction at Boston College. He has been a Mentor with the Brown Teacher Education program for nearly ten years.

Christina LawrenceChristina Lawrence teaches English at North Kingstown High School, a large suburban high school about half an hour south of Providence. Before moving to Providence, she attended Vassar College and majored in American Culture, with a focus on American Literature and Art History. Christina moved to Providence to attend the MAT program at Brown and graduated in 2008. Since then, she has worked in a variety of educational contexts in and around Providence, at both public and private schools and in non-profit organizations. Though she no longer works in Providence, she tries to maintain ties to after-school arts programming in Providence and volunteers at New Urban Arts. When not at school, Christina enjoys taking her dog, Rosie, on long walks around the city.

Kate LorchKate Lorch grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts and Little Compton, Rhode Island. One of her most influential high school English teachers was Margaret Metzger, a Brown Mentor and Visiting Professor. Kate attended University of California, Berkeley and studied abroad in Ghana, West Africa and Granada, Spain. She received her degree in Comparative Literature in English and Spanish.

Before returning to Rhode Island for the Brown MAT Program, Kate worked as a vocational trainer in San Francisco, coaching homeless youth and adults with psychiatric disabilities in job readiness and workplace skills. Attending Brown and returning as a mentor in the summer program was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for Kate. For the past ten years she has taught high school in Providence Public Schools and Marin County, California. She earned National Board Certification in 2008. For the past three years of her work at Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley, CA she has served as the mentor to new teachers at Tam, coaching new teachers one-on-one, serving as a California Beginning Teacher Support Provider, and co-teaching Instructional Design workshops to new teachers in all disciplines district-wide. This year Kate is on sabbatical from teaching while she explores her interest in adult learning styles and organizational development models and starts her own family.

Screen shot 2015-07-01 at 11.24.08 AMVanessa O’Driscoll is the Middle School Dean of Students and an English teacher at The Wheeler School in Providence. After living in the same ancient farmhouse in Massachusetts for the first eighteen years of her life, Vanessa moved to Swarthmore College and then to New York City. There, she lived in a total of eight different apartments over eight years, while working in arts administration and arts education. Managing a course called Shakespeare Teaches at BAM helped her realize that she didn’t feel like returning to her office from the classroom. Vanessa earned her M.A. in education from Columbia University Teachers College and taught at Brooklyn Heights Montessori School before moving to Rhode Island. She has been a mentor teacher with the Brown University Education department for five years. She no longer moves every year, and has settled in Providence with her husband and two children and a cantankerous cat.


Tamar PaullTamar Paull
 was a UTEP at Brown in 1996, and had the good fortune to be placed at Community Prep, a small independent school on the Southside of Providence. Little did she know, she would fall in love with the school and end up spending the first fifteen years of her career teaching language arts and social studies in the seventh and eighth grades there. After she and her wife adopted their twin sons, she took a year off from teaching to take care of them before starting work at Gordon School, an independent nursery through eighth grade in East Providence. She currently teach humanities and academic support to seventh and eighth graders at Gordon. She has mentored in the Brown Teacher Education program on and off since 2004 and has also worked as a teacher coach at Sophia Academy, a middle school for girls in Providence. Somewhere in there, she spent five glorious summers in Vermont completing a Master’s degree in English at Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. When she’s not teaching, preparing to teach, or talking about teaching, she can be found doing such glamorous things as laundry, dishes, or training for her first 5K (though by the time you read this, she may have given up).

Erik SkogsbergErik Skogsberg is currently an Assistant Secondary Coordinator and PhD Candidate in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University. He is passionate about teaching and learning innovation that responds to the needs of schools, communities, and organizations. He brings a wealth of teaching, mentoring, curriculum design, and professional development experiences in both secondary and higher education across the US and in rural, urban, and suburban classroom and community spaces.

As a PhD Candidate in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education (CITE) at Michigan State University (MSU), his current research focuses on pre-service teacher (PST) development towards the inclusion of youth literacies, digital literacies, and culturally sustaining, dialogic pedagogies in the secondary English classroom. He teaches courses focused on disciplinary and youth literacies, digital literacies and educational technology, teacher identity, and secondary English methods for PST’s. Additionally, as the Assistant Secondary Coordinator in the Department of Teacher Education at MSU, he works closely with university, district, and community administrators and teachers to place junior-year students in classrooms and community sites that support optimal PST learning and fit with university, district, classroom, and organizational goals. Further, he supports graduate teaching assistant (TA) professional development across MSU through his work with Inside Teaching MSU and the MSU Graduate School.

Prior to his time at MSU, he taught high school English in Washington State and Rhode Island, as well as worked in Residence Life and College Admissions at Western Washington University (WWU). He holds degrees in English Literature (BA) from WWU and Secondary English Education (MAT) from Brown University.

Twitter: @erikskogs
LinkedIn: http://lnkd.in/dteNfPH

Brittany Brewer Presents at 2014 NCTE Annual Conference!

In November, the MAT Blog covered an amazing feat — 11 English MAT/UTEP alumni, faculty, and current students descending on Washington, D.C. to attend the 2014 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Annual Convention.

Since then, one of our current English MATs, Brittany Brewer, has graciously recounted her experience workshopping, networking, and even presenting at the convention. Read her words below!

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The MAT Program at Brown University strongly advocates for student attendance and participation in professional development opportunities. This past November, thanks to the kindness of a respected educator, I was extended the opportunity to present during a roundtable session entitled, “The Future is Now: Exploring 21st Century Teaching Ideas with the Next Generation of English Teachers,” at the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention: Story as the Landscape of Knowing. My experience at the 2014 NCTE convention was an invaluable one, particularly as a new teacher, as I had the opportunity to practice presenting my research, observe and participate in workshops, meet numerous young adult authors, and learn about the happenings of Brown MAT secondary English education alumni.

On the third day of the NCTE national conference, Saturday, November 22nd, I presented my teacher research project, “Navigating Non-Fiction through Drama: Using Choral Reading to Create a Transaction with Text,” at the roundtable session to a small but very engaged and supportive audience, which included Brown’s English MAT Director, Laura Snyder, as well as three of the program’s alumni. My teacher research project addressed the essential question: How can drama be utilized to create student understanding of purpose in non-fiction texts? Presenting at NCTE aided in the development of my research as it drove me to complete my research earlier, to seek constant critique and feedback, and to present the material in front of several different types of audiences.

When I was not presenting, I was exploring the numerous workshops NCTE offered its conference attendees. I participated in many presentations, from several created by diligent graduate students to those created by educational “celebrities,” including Jim Burke and Kelly Gallagher. After reading a sizable portion of these authors’ texts over the past summer and fall as part of the MAT curriculum, it was great to see them in action, discussing and developing education with fellow advocates. During the workshops, I filled my journal with pages of notes and afterwards, I waited for the opportunity to converse briefly with presenters. During exhibit hours, attendees were also offered the opportunity to meet various authors of all genres of prose, from children’s books to poetry, fantasy, and non-fiction. Not only did I fill my canvas bags and arms with all of the complimentary copies of young adults’ novels that I could carry and meet my favorite childhood author, T.A. Barron, but I was able to meet and briefly talk to Jeffrey Wilhelm, an alumnus of the Brown University MAT English program! Dr. Wilhelm’s publication, “You Gotta BE the Book”: Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading with Adolescents, greatly informed my teacher research project and I relished the opportunity to discuss the program and the influence his text had on my research, even briefly.

Finally, the NCTE Annual Convention provided me with the opportunity to meet and learn about the endeavors of recent Brown English MAT alumni, who, among those I met, are teaching in locations ranging from California to Maryland to Massachusetts to Africa. The presentations and stories of these fellow MATs from years past revealed dedication and compassion that (like my audience’s support of my presentation, the workshops I attended, the speakers I met, and the hundreds of educators in attendance) further fueled my dedication and passion as a new teacher!


Thank you, Brittany!

MATs Descend on Washington D.C. for NCTE Annual Convention

NCTE

On Sunday evening, English MAT students, faculty, and Providence-area alumni and mentor teachers gathered to hear in-person and Skype previews of some of this year’s presentations for the 2014 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) annual convention. Presenters connected through Skype from California, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Burkina Faso! The event provided a great opportunity for rehearsal and was also designed to inspire current graduate students to take their own teacher research to the national stage.

Eleven English MAT/UTEP alumni, faculty, and students then descended on Washington, D.C. this week to take part in the NCTE convention from November 20-23.  MAT Professor Laura Snyder will be presenting with a group of four alumni on “Young Adult Literature as Part of a Social Justice Curriculum”. Their presentation will highlight key books taught in English classes at Brown Summer High School and peek into the alumni’s current classrooms around the world. Several of these teachers are also presenting their own research or presenting curricula with their schools and districts.

Waldina Pineda (MAT ‘11) will be presenting with others from her district on transforming their ninth grade English classes into a “readers and writers workshops”. Michelle Ramadan (UTEP ‘10) will present about understanding the Middle East through literature. Erik Skogsberg (MAT ‘09) will be speaking about teaching diverse learners. Brittany Brewer (MAT ‘15) will be presenting her recently completed Teacher Research Project, inspired by her work in arts literacy, on “Navigating Non-Fiction with Drama”.

Professor Snyder has also been leading an alumni panel at the NCTE conference for the past four years. This year’s panel features Sara Tahir (MAT ‘14), Debbie Yoon (MAT ‘13), Emily Scherer (MAT ‘13), and Eric Spreng (MAT ‘13).

Stay tuned for a recap following the conference!

English MAT alumni offer free Shakespeare summer camp

Jaymes Sanchez '14 and Laura Neill '14 share their love of reading with campers at the Youth Shakespeare Project

Jaymes Sanchez ’14 and Laura Neill ’14 share their love of literature with campers at the Youth Shakespeare Project

Two recent English MAT graduates, Laura Neill ’14 and Jaymes Sanchez ’14, are putting their degrees to use this summer at the Youth Shakespeare Project (YSP) in Hanover, NH. Founded by Laura and Jaymes in 2012, the Youth Shakespeare Project is a tuition-free summer camp for local students ages 11 to 17. Each summer, campers explore one of Shakespeare’s plays through text study, theater games, and movement and improvisation. The month-long camp culminates in a production of this year’s selected play, As You Like It. Their experience running the YSP in 2012 inspired Laura and Jaymes to pursue a career in teaching English, leading them to the Brown MAT program. This summer Laura and Jaymes will be implementing multimodal ArtsLiteracy activities from their MAT methods classes to develop YSP campers’ literacy skills and engagement with the text.

Learn more about the Youth Shakespeare Project through their website, and keep up with this summer’s production of As You Like It through their Facebook page.

Spotlight on Alumni: Eric Spreng ’13

Eric-Spreng

In this Spotlight on Alumni, English MAT alum Eric Spreng shares his insights for those considering the MAT program. Along with his wife, Allison (History MAT ’13), he is now based at the International School of Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso. Both Allison and Eric exemplify the wealth of life experiences you’ll find across the Brown MAT cohorts.

What were you doing before the program?
Before coming to Brown, I spent three years teaching 7th and 8th grade English Language Arts at an international school in Beijing. The professional environment at the school was supportive and collaborative, and the experience pushed me into the questions that ultimately landed me at Brown: How can I facilitate an environment that is more conducive to learning? How do I foster a sense of belonging in the individuals in a learning community? How can I better account for disparate student backgrounds? What can I do to promote human sensitivity as well as knowledge and skills?

What attracted you to Brown’s program?
I was attracted to the program’s emphasis on mentorship, reflection, and personalized feedback. The fact that the MAT year includes two practicums was important, as was the teacher research component. But most importantly, perhaps, was the fact that the program is intentionally small. As the teaching placements are central to the MAT experience, I wanted a director who actually knew me personally and could advise me based on my own interests, strengths, and areas where I needed to grow.

What was the highlight of the program?
To be honest, the whole year was great. The program is well-designed to develop a strong understanding of pedagogy and to provide the chance to develop expertise in your content area as well. That said, the professional relationship that I had the chance to cultivate with my mentor teacher has proven a tremendous resource to me since completing the program.

Where did you student teach?
I student taught at Classical (a Providence public school) and had a really positive experience there.

How did the program meet your expectations?
The MAT year is intense. There is so much to learn and to process and before you know it, it is over. Since completing the experience, I have found that many of the questions that arise in my teaching practice were in some way addressed by the MAT program. One year is not long enough to answer all of these questions, but I do feel the program provided what I need in order to pursue the philosophical and pragmatic questions through further research and practice.

How did the program help you meet your personal goals?
The program provided the chance to push myself toward excellence in a close-knit, supportive community. The friendships that I was able to make with young teachers have been a tremendous professional asset to be sure, but also a source of personal joy and inspiration. Spending a year with such inspiring, brilliant people was awesome.

What do you like best about your work as a teacher?
I love that teaching is never boring. It is always a challenge. I love that I get to work with talented young people who have something to say, and that I can help them develop the skills to say it. And I love engaging on the big ideas that matter—both in my classroom with my students and in the faculty lounge with my colleagues.

What would you tell someone considering the Brown MAT?
Do it! The Brown MAT program is well designed. It is flexible enough to provide the chance for you to pursue your own areas of interest within the field as you strive to develop the competencies that are necessary to be a great teacher.

Anything else?
As an MAT, go to lots of talks and events, and make connections beyond the department as well. As a teacher, at some point in your career, consider teaching abroad. My wife, Allison (History MAT ’13), and I are currently at the International School of Ouagadougou, and we are loving it. Our classes are full of kids who come from countries all over Africa, Europe, North America and beyond. We are learning a lot about what it means to be teachers in the 21st century, and what skills are most important for success in a more connected world.

Spotlight On Alumni: Waldina Pineda ’11

Waldina Pineda '11

In this interview, Secondary English MAT alum Waldina Pineda, who now teaches in Mamaroneck, NY, discusses her experience in Brown’s program, and how it helped her become the teacher she is today.

What were you doing before the program?
Prior to participating in the MAT program, I was an undergrad at Brown. I concentrated in Education Studies and I was happy to call the Education Department my home for an additional year. When I arrived to Brown as a freshman, I planned on concentrating in Biology and completing Pre-Med requirements. However, after participating in several education projects and taking a few Education Studies classes, I found that I was more passionate about education than I was in medicine. While at Brown, I tutored students at Hope High School and also participated in the College Guidance Project through the Swearer Center. Both experiences gave me the opportunity to work with students as an academic tutor and mentor. Teaching for a summer in Miami with Breakthrough Collaborative also helped me see that working with students was the right fit me.

What are you doing now?
Currently, I am teaching at a high school in the Mamaroneck Union Free School District in New York. Before working at Mamaroneck, I worked at a charter school in the south Bronx. I’m glad to have found the right fit with Mamaroneck. At Mamaroneck, I teach 9th grade English and a class called Academic Enrichment, which focuses on helping students build literacy skills. I’ve also had the wonderful opportunity of helping my department create and build both the Academic Enrichment and English 9 curricula to meet new district initiatives, as well as the new common core standards. Collaborating with my colleagues is really motivating. They and the work they do really push me to be better. I’m really grateful to have found a school that challenges me and gives me the opportunity to grow as a teacher.

What attracted you to Brown’s program?
As a Brown undergrad that concentrated in Education Studies, I was already familiar with all the great work the department and its professors do with students and teachers. Aside from that, I was really attracted to the size of the Brown MAT program. I visited a few larger schools and I could easily see myself getting lost there. I knew that I would get the attention and personal guidance I needed to grow and develop my craft as a teacher at Brown.

What was the highlight of the program?
Definitely the relationships I built. To this day, I still keep in contact with many of my peers from the program and I know that Laura Snyder is always an email away. I still talk through teaching ideas with some of my friends from the program—much as I did while I was in the program. The relationships I built with Laura and my mentor teacher at E-Cubed Academy were also really important. Because they both worked really closely with me, they really knew who I was as a teacher and how I could use that to really develop my craft. Through their support, feedback and guidance, I felt like I learned so much and was prepared for my first year of teaching.

How did the program meet your expectations?
I am the teacher I am today because of the Brown MAT program. I am in my third year of teaching and I still have so much to learn and I look forward to growing as a teacher. However, there are certain aspects about teaching that come naturally to me because the Brown program trained me so well. The program really does meet teachers where they are. Teaching is really personal. In addition to receiving instruction and practice with pedagogy in a whole class setting, I felt like I received support and guidance that was specific to me. I still think about the personal guidance and feedback I received during the program when I plan and teach today.

How did the program help you meet your personal goals?
I had two personal goals going into the program: (1) To gain experience and training in the field of education and (2) To find my “voice” (I am extremely shy). Brown provided me with a great amount of experience and training. Both BSHS and student teaching gave me enough experience to discuss during the hiring process and to inform my planning and decisions during my first year of teaching. Brown also helped me find my teacher “voice.” The Brown program gave me enough opportunities and experience (both inside and outside the classroom, as a teacher and student, in a team or without a team, et cetera) that put me on the spot and challenged me to overcome my shyness.

What do you like best about your work as a teacher?
The students. Working with students during undergrad inspired me to become a teacher, and my students today inspire me to be a better teacher for them. I am very committed to guiding them as they grow as readers, writers, thinkers and young people. I love seeing them grow, and it’s great to think about where they were in the beginning of the year and where they are by the end.

What would you tell someone considering the Brown MAT?
They should know that the Brown MAT program prepares them for success in the classroom. Individual support and guidance is so important for new teachers. This is what you get at Brown. I can’t imagine having gone anywhere else. If anyone has any questions, they can feel free to ask Laura for my email address!

Anything else?
I am really grateful for my experience at Brown!