English major Laureen Duarte Guarriello’s first post-Princeton teaching job was in a San Antonio, Tex., high school. Among her students were gang members, children of military families, and others—a population 90 percent of whom came from low-income families. “Twenty-four of my boys had parole officers,” she recalls. “I would not want to walk into a classroom without knowing what I was doing, feeling confident I could engage the students.” Fortunately for Guarriello, and for her students, she had Program in Teacher Preparation experience behind her.
“I know people,” she says, “who are put into classrooms after a three-week training session. That just isn’t fair to the teacher or to the students. If you want to teach, you are committed to getting the best professional training available.”
Guarriello chose to enter the TPP after a summer in New York City when she worked with middle-schoolers from disadvantaged families, and with their teachers. Almost immediately, she knew, “This is what I want to do!” Her first stop on campus after that summer was the office of the Program in Teacher Preparation.
Guarriello credits her parents, as well as the TPP, for encouraging her in her career: “My dad recited the names of all the teachers he’s had from kindergarten through 12th grade. ‘I know those names 50 years later,’ he told me. ‘How many people are remembered like that?’”
After her job in San Antonio, Guarriello joined Classroom, Inc., a New York-based company that works with students and educators to use technology in support of instruction. She traveled the country helping teachers learn the technical tools they need. Then, a little homesick for the classroom, and for Texas, she took her current position, teaching English and American literature at Highland Park High School in Dallas. She now sees herself “as a lifelong classroom teacher.”