How I Found Room to Grow [Part 1]

Five years ago: Light bulb moment. College-senior-me realized that what I really wanted was to teach elementary school, specifically English language learners.

Four years ago: I began a one-year Masters of Teaching program in K12 Literacy and ESL.  Those 12 months felt like three, but it was just long enough for me to start looking around for an alternative to the traditional district school.

My checklist went something like:

  • elementary (Early readers have my heart.)

  • multi-lingual and multi-cultural student body (Experience growing up in this community is what compelled me to teach in the first place.)

  • Metro Atlanta (see point above)

  • track record of high academic achievement for English language learners and students in the margins

  • supportive administrators who are first and foremost instructional leaders

  • teaching faculty who are committed to excellence and the advancement of the profession

  • strong behavioral systems and explicit character development

Three years ago: My google search for “elementary-charter-school-english-language-learners-refugees” sent me to Match Education, a Boston-based charter network. I applied and accepted a spot in their Match Teacher Residency (MTR) program. My dad’s raised eyebrows weren’t enough to deter me from a promised 70hr. work week. On a stipend. But it was too good to pass up: be a part of the founding year of an elementary school focused specifically on Boston Public Schools’ diverse community of English language learners.  That summer I made the 12hr+ journey from Atlanta to Boston in my Corolla -- trunk full of picture books, early readers, and potted plants (plants fared so-so).