Teaching at Breakthrough is life changing. Inspiring. Career defining. It is building a wall with Evan, rocking the BK and letting Zion do it, watching Attayah travel down the hall with laughter, stopping for ice cream with Rachel and Greg on our way to LIU, and reading my SMOD notes six months later and still crying. It is observing KZ and Rony teach with passion, Joyla produce quality work, Nebs and Tessa engage their students, Bishesh amaze in work—breaking hearts with his spoken word, and forming part of Zion’s growth to a 92 percent on his post-test. Teaching at Breakthrough is a lifestyle. Most importantly, BTNY is part of my identity.
I want to return to the Breakthrough Community because I believe in the work we do—most of all I believe in my students, and I want to see them again. I am a witness to the impact Breakthrough has on our kids, and I want to form part of the community that supports them in their academic and personal growth and success. Before arriving in New York I did not know much about the education system in this “dream city.” Taylor Swift said, “Welcome to New York—it’s been waiting for you.” And it was. What was waiting for me was the learning experience of my life. I became passionate about providing my students with the tools necessary to navigate the culture of power in academia. I felt a drive to close the opportunity gap, and to learn as much as I could from staff, colleagues, and from my students.
My work is not done yet. I have a lot left to learn, and a lot left to give. I need to continue growing together with my students. The Breakthrough experience cannot be completely explained with words. It is needs to be lived, and the impact felt. Why do I want to return as a leader at Breakthrough this summer? I cannot tell you—I’ve tried to show you. Because: today I am a learner who wants to lead my students to and through college. BTNY!
By Ana Reyes
2015 BTNY Teaching Fellow, Brooklyn Site
7th Grade Literature