Studies show that this time of year tends to bring on the “teacher blues”— a time when teachers might especially feel the weight of their workload, or even feel a little discouraged. We asked veteran teachers to share how they reboot when the days start getting shorter, and they offered up some valuable tips and tricks.
New teachers, we hope this advice from last year’s “Rookie of the Year” winners encourages and guides you during your first weeks and months in the classroom!
This year, almost 700 teachers joined the Success Academy network — and they’re ready to make this the best school year yet. We caught up with four new members of our community to hear about what brought them to Success, their passion for education, and their reflections on New Teacher Training. Thanks to all of our teachers who are already making a difference in the lives of their scholars!
Giving my students work — not just school work, but actual tasks — was an incredible time-saver but it also had other unexpected and profoundly positive effects. It fostered a spirit of community among my scholars, increased their focus and investment, and most importantly, gave me the space and confidence to let them take ownership of their learning.
“Right away, I want kids thinking about the construction of truth, and how history looks different when you change the lens.” Middle school history teacher Jess Johnson reflects on teaching a history curriculum designed to help kids become active, thoughtful citizens.
Amanda Levy loves teaching about the past — while preparing her scholars for their futures. As a ninth grade World History teacher at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts, she’s used to discussing everything from Mongols to majors with her scholars.
Mr. Brady is a biology teacher at Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts. He’s on a mission to bring out the best in his scholars — all while showing them just how relevant science can be.
When I finished my service with AmeriCorps in 2016, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to continue teaching. But when I moved back East, I came across Success Academy. The model seemed exactly what my former students had needed, but what attracted me even more was the dual mission. It wasn’t enough for the kids in my own classroom to learn well; I wanted to be part of an organization working toward bringing great education to all students.
When Tyreen Sims decided to change careers from psychologist to teacher, she hadn’t expected to work across the street from where she grew up — with a principal she’s known since elementary school. This is the happy accident that unfolded at Success Academy Harlem 2, where Tyreen started as a lead science teacher in 2015. She took us inside her school to show us exactly what makes it feel like home.
It was 2017 — Eni’s first year of teaching at Success Academy. After graduating from Harvard University, she joined Success in July, and from that moment on, it had felt like she was on the world’s craziest roller coaster. There were ups and downs, highs and lows, and it all happened at breakneck speed.
Last week, John Snowdy found himself back in the student’s desk alongside fellow educators from across the country. They were at Success Academy’s Robertson Center, a new center for educator training, to learn more about the network’s approach to teaching middle school reading.
This is Allison Bravo’s second year teaching fifth grade, and once again, teaching The Watsons Go to Birmingham is a highlight. This is the first novel scholars read and study together as middle schoolers, and it is an introduction to the kind of literary discussion and analysis they will do throughout middle and high school.
The arrangement of a Success Academy classroom requires thoughtfulness, strategy, and — most importantly — creative joy. With every change, no matter how small, the teachers of SA Fort Greene were enacting a vision of the learning environment they wanted their scholars to experience.
It’s often said that teachers wear many hats throughout their careers. In May, that saying took on a very personal meaning when we were told that our school, SA Lafayette Middle School, would likely not be allowed to open because of a bureaucratic technicality. I was determined to fight for our kids, so I spent the past few months growing not only as an educator and as an artist, but also as an activist and advocate.
When Nolan McDaniel and Malik Sahabi first unveiled their poem — a thought-provoking spoken-word piece that they coauthored — it was in front of an auditorium packed with scholars, teachers, and families. They electrified their listeners, who snapped their fingers and cheered with enthusiasm at what turned out to be one of the highlights of the Success Academy Harlem Central Poetry Slam. Since then, the entire school has been talking about “Black Boy, White Man”.
During one of the first Humanities lessons this year, the hands of my 7th grade historians shot into the air in response to my question: should statues honoring Confederate generals be removed from cities and towns across the U.S.? I’m always inspired by how much our scholars care about the world around them, and I’d been looking forward to this class discussion ever since summer T School, when I saw the topic on the history syllabus for middle school students.
Success Academy sent HSLA world history teacher Natasha Venner to the prestigious Gilder Lehrman Teaching Seminar at Oxford University this summer. History at Success is all about active engagement and using a rich variety of texts and techniques. The seminar was an incredible chance for her to bolster her skills and spark new ideas for the fall.
We want to ensure that every scholar feels included and in touch with their cultural background while at our schools. SA Prospect Heights launched an initiative promoting racial awareness in the classroom and among staff, and recently held two sessions focused on culturally responsive teaching.
Experience a day in the life of Daniel Santos who joined Success Academy in July 2016 as a Teacher Resident and was promoted to a Lead Teacher role within several months.
This past weekend, nine of my scholars from the Success Academy High School of the Liberal Arts traveled to Philadelphia to take part in the Penn Relay Races — a track and field event that has taken place annually since 1895.
Most people don’t know this, but there are leading math educators whose celebrity status rivals Hollywood’s favorite movie stars. At least among math teachers! When Success Academy provided our high school math team with the chance to attend the annual National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference in San Antonio, Texas— essentially the Oscars of math education — we could hardly wait.
I truly believed in the importance of hands-on learning in the classroom, but I could never have expected just how revolutionary the Success Academy approach to science really is.
Discovery is the name of the game, and associate science teachers like Tracy make the most of every opportunity to engage their scholars, all while growing in their own careers through our exciting and selective Teaching Residency Program.
Tonight, more than 50 scholars will transport an audience of families and friends to “Never Never Land” for sixty minutes, as they act, sing, and dance in Peter Pan — Success Academy Williamsburg’s first-ever musical performance.