Onsummer break from the University of Virginia in 2010, Daniel Grimes traveled to New York City to serve as a Teacher Intern with Breakthrough New York.
The experience, the 22-year-old says, was life-changing. Now he is a teacher with Teach for America at the Williamsburg Collegiate Charter School, teaching American history to fifth graders.
Here is his account of how Breakthrough New York changes the course of his career:
“I was searching for an internship at the University of Virginia. I had applied for jobs on Capitol Hill, political jobs, but didn’t get those. My school representative told me about Breakthrough New York and I applied because I thought it would be a good internship.
I wasn’t sure I was going to like teaching. I didn’t think it would be rewarding.
We had two weeks of preparation, and I felt excitement more than anything else when the first day of class came and I finally got to meet the students. The workload was more rigorous than I expected, which was nice because that’s what I want out of a career.
I only had 15 students and taught writing. It was a co-teaching model so I wasn’t alone.
I would go out to dinner with friends, and chat about how great the students were. They were so high-achieving and outstanding. They worked very hard and had so much homework every night, but they still came every day eager to work.
My experience with Breakthrough was amazing, which was why I decided to pursue Teach for America. The relationship I built with the students is why I realized teaching was such a great career.
This internship experience was incredibly valuable. You don’t realize how rewarding it is until you meet the students. They bring you so much joy, and it happened every single day I went to work. It’s unparalleled.”