Dashell Laryea, Breakthrough San Francisco

Dashell Laryea, Breakthrough San Francisco

Name: Dashell Laryea
Breakthrough Program: Breakthrough San Francisco
Subject Teaching: English
School Attending/Year: Yale, 2013

Like many a Breakthrough teacher, I was quite excited about my first “real” teaching position. However, this feeling was soon followed by uncertainty: do I have the knowledge and skills to be in total control of a classroom? What do I do when a student talks back to me? How am I going to meet all my deadlines? LESSON PLANS?! What is the best way to maintain discipline in my classroom? Will the students like me? As a first-year teacher, you have the exciting challenge of teaching students and learning what it means to be an effective teacher. College courses are filled with theory and a number of instructional and learning strategies that you can use to become a successful teacher but the big question is how to translate these ideas into practice and to slowly realize how practice teaches you the greatest lessons.

The most surprising lesson I’ve learned this first week of training is how not to teach. I don’t mean learning the DOs and Don’ts of teaching – yelling, not respecting your teacher voice, etc. When I say I’ve learned how not to teach, I mean it literally; my students have surpassed my expectations and have shown me that my job in the classroom is simply to guide them. The Breakthrough method of teaching/learning (intense structure) naturally allows for the retention of fundamental skills, leads to automaticity, and translates into empowerment. And here is where students begin to take initiative in their own learning. Has my week been perfect – of course not; am I still excited for the rest of the summer and eagerly awaiting what next my students can teach me - of course…