Julie Kwong '16

Since I graduated from TPP, I applied to and learned about various schools and teaching positions. I also completed the edTPA during this time. For the 2017-2018 academic year, I will be doing my first year of teaching at MESA Charter High School in Bushwick (Brooklyn, NY). In the past month, I taught a couple weeks in their summer program and am now deep into their 2-week "Summer Institute" (teacher orientation).

In addition to student teaching which was a very memorable semester for me, I will also never forget how challenging my first ever experience teaching a group of high school students was back in TPP 301. From that experience I learned the true value of building relationships with students, being fully prepared and present in the classroom, and communicating with colleagues in the teaching world.  Participating on the Maine trip with QUEST/EarthWatch exposed me to the magic of engaging and relevant PD as well as the power of bringing the outside world into the classroom and the classroom into the outside world. This experience broadened my view of the classroom as it fits in society.

I am very grateful for my experience in TPP and the various mentors I've worked with during my time in the program. My student teaching experience in particular was eye-opening and humbling. All of these experiences have led me to where I realize I really want to be - in the classroom. From what I have experienced thus far at MESA, I have found a school community in which I truly fit and to which I truly belong.

I have a lot of feelings about beginning teaching - I am both very excited and very nervous at the same time. I am most looking forward to building relationships with my students, collaborating with colleagues, and learning a ton. In the little time I've spent at the school in their summer program and teacher orientation, I have already learned about the importance of communicating with other teachers and staff in the building about students on a constant basis. This ensures we are together supporting students in the best way possible. I also love the innovative spirit of this school - there are two notable aspects: standards-based grading, and love & logic philosophy. All aspects of the school show how much it values every student, every teacher, and every member of the community. They truly value the students just as much as they value the teachers - the school invests in the personal and professional growth of everyone within it. These philosophies speak volumes about the culture and spirit of this school - I wholeheartedly believe in and buy into the mission and values of this school.