“I had always loved school and teachers, but I was on the fence about a career in education. Joining Breakthrough was the catalyst. – Alexandra Chang, Founding Teaching and current Instructional Coach, Boston Campus

Breakthrough’s Summer Program was filled with the day to day challenges and rewards of teaching in an urban school, and made me realize that it was exactly what I wanted to do. As a founding Teaching Fellow at the Boston Campus, I and the other Teaching Fellows needed to stretch resources, manage tight schedules, and figure out how to engage with families. It wasn’t easy! But we did it together, and that’s what mattered. That was the summer I learned the meaning of teamwork – I knew that they would do anything for me, just as I would for them. Breakthrough really set the standard in terms of my professional expectations of a working community in a school.

Following my summers with Breakthrough, I joined the Boston Teacher Residency program. On my first day as a teacher of record, I realized that Breakthrough had fully prepared me for the realities of teaching in Boston; I knew the city and the students, and had the tools I needed to be successful. It was so affirming. Wanting to give back and share some of my wisdom with the new Breakthrough Teaching Fellows, I recently returned to Breakthrough as a coach. I found that I learned just as much from the Fellows as I taught them – and once again, Breakthrough gave me the support and guidance I needed.

That’s the really cool thing about Breakthrough – there are so many levels of support. Fundamentally it’s a program to propel highly motivated students to higher education, but it’s also teaching development – and helping current teachers to become coaches. I got coaching on my own coaching! The multilayered tiers of support that BTGB provides throughout your experience, whether you’re a student or a teacher or a coach – that’s so important, and so rare.

Alex is a sixth grade English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in Boston Public Schools, and an Instructional Coach for Breakthrough Greater Boston.