Sophia Alvarez '17

I was drawn to Teacher Prep because my experiences in an Oklahoma public high school showed me the power of good teachers--even within the worst institutional conditions and political environment. I majored in Anthropology at Princeton, with a certificate in Latin American Studies. Studying anthropology was a perfect entry into education, because it teaches you to notice how our daily interactions relate to bigger issues, like culture and learning. I also worked as a teaching assistant for the Princeton University Preparatory Program, or PUPP. Working with the incredible PUPP scholars convinced me that I wanted to teach in an urban school. 

I am now a student teacher at Trenton Central High School, where I am teaching United States History to 11th and 12 graders. When people ask me how it is going, I say two things: "It is so hard!" and "It's amazing!" Although teaching is challenging in so many ways I had not predicted, it is amazing to work with young people every day. I am learning so much every day about my students, myself, and the tiny intricacies of teaching, like how to phrase something or when to pass out papers. One memorable moment so far was when a student who had been repeatedly absent and disengaged produced a creative project on the 1920s that was above and beyond the expectations. Students never fail to surprise you!

I am grateful for the Drewry award because it has relieved some financial stress during this stressful, challenging time. After the semester of student teaching, I will look for a full time teaching job as a high school social studies teacher (and maybe speech and debate coach). I plan to stay in New Jersey or the Philadelphia area for the next couple years. I hope to find a school where I can experiment (high school anthropology, anyone?) and continue to grow as an educator.