Dewayne is a Cambridge student alum (class of 2017) and a current soon-to-be senior at Lesley University and will be joining us for his second year as a Teaching Fellow in Somerville.  

What are you looking forward to most about this summer?
I’m most looking forward to reconnecting with my kids this summer! It was so difficult throughout the school year to not regularly see them, so I am looking forward to continuing to build deeper bonds with them, especially during uncertain, stressful times like these. 

How will you work to engage students deeply in learning – and make it fun! – in a virtual setting? 
Online learning definitely poses many challenges. I think for my teaching, nothing will even change, except for not being in person. From the previous summer of teaching, I found that the kids are most engaged with just a positive vibe, with still holding them accountable, showing them endless love and support. That being said, memes will still very much be incorporated in my lesson plans, that’s not going anywhere! 

Why do you think Breakthrough is important for our students?
Speaking as a proud Breakthrough Alum, I saw firsthand how Breakthrough impacted me. 

The positive vibe is what strikes me. That’s what is important to the students. From the cheers throughout the day to the spirit twins blessing us with their presence at Community Meeting, Breakthrough is just a safe haven for students to push themselves through the power of education but also learn about their strengths and their individuality. 

What is the most valuable part of Breakthrough for you? 
To me, the most valuable part of Breakthrough, speaking both again as a student and an aspiring educatoris education. Education is powerful to me because it acts as a form of escapism. I find power in the desire to learn, the desire to grow not only my knowledge but myself through that. Now more than ever, Breakthrough is vital, even if it’s virtual since having that structure and escapism is a necessity during this time. 

Teaching Fellow

Mia was a Breakthrough Cambridge student, class of 2017; a junior teacher in 2016; and is now entering her third year as a Teaching Fellow in Cambridge.  

What are you looking forward to most about this summer? 
Being back in a Breakthrough setting… even though we don’t have program in person, being able to teach the students again and have space where I can see them and talk to them makes me very happy and excited! This will be my third consecutive summer as a Breakthrough Teacher, and I’m looking forward to being able to see a whole class of BTGB students through all three years of the summer program.  

How will you work to engage students deeply in learning – and make it fun! – in a virtual setting? 
I think having Breakthrough in a virtual setting this summer opens up the doors to a ton of online learning platforms that I would’ve strayed away from using when I was physically in the room with students. Things like using Kahoot, creating Jeopardy games, and using polls during class are a fun and engaging way to get students invested in their work. I also think reflecting on my own online learning experiences and thinking about what I thought worked for me and my learning will help me to create a positive and engaging online classroom!  

Why do you think Breakthrough is important for our students? 
I think Breakthrough is important for our students because it is a safe and comfortable environment for them to be in, both in an academic and social sense. The friendships these kids have with each other are some of the strongest and supportive I have ever seenBreakthrough gives them a space to be themselves and connect with one another in a way that they might not be able to do in a regular school setting. Breakthrough also creates a productive space in terms of learning inside the classroom and gives students a chance to positively explore their education in a way that gets them excited to learn.  

What is the most valuable part of Breakthrough for you?
As someone who has experienced all sides of Breakthrough, both being a former student as well as a teaching fellow, I think the most valuable part of Breakthrough are the relationships you build with the people around you. Now in my third year of college, I am still very close friends with people that I met my 7th grade summer at Breakthrough in 2011. I still am in contact with teachers I had when I was a student, as well as teaching fellows I met my first year teaching. Breakthrough fosters such a warm, caring, safe community that allows students, teaching fellows, and program staff to create lifelong friendships and connections.