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“Getting To” Teach Students Every Day

May 7, 2012

Kevin, Currently as a Student Teacher

To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, we have a guest post from Kevin Dua, a two year City Year Alum.  He is currently residing in Watertown, MA. Originally from Virginia, he moved to Boston after graduating from the College of William and Mary in 2009 to voluntarily serve two years with City Year.

Today, he’s a graduate student at Boston College Lynch School of Education, where he is student-teaching to earn his masters in secondary education in history.

Five days a week, I teach high school juniors about Boston history in the morning and the Holocaust to freshmen in the afternoon. Gone are the days where students referred to me as Mr. Kevin on a name tag, or recognize me in daily red and khakis attire (though the Timberland boots have made cameos during New England winters).

The 12-hour days, curriculum planning, and uncanny enthusiasm still remains with a graduate student working in a one-year master’s program (in secondary history) at Boston College Lynch School of Education.  Granted, I have had prior familiarity with this setting with my two year services at City Year. 

As a 24-year old, African American male about to become a licensed high school teacher by August, to think that after graduating college in 2009 I would be at this juncture in life, would be unconceivable. I knew that I wanted instructional experience with children, but I did not know how to do so outside of immediately applying to a graduate program.

It was a friend’s recommendation—moving from a southern town to a northern city—that I venture into volunteer work. And it was at City Year Boston that I became more conscious of a reality outside my past childhood academia.

Kevin during his service as a City Year Corps Member.

Class and race, coupled with “the prison-pipeline,” an achievement gap, strapped resources, and embedded, negative mentalities that hindered a child’s perception of accomplishment—these were truths that I discovered as a corps member assigned to a fourth grade classroom.  But it is the ambition to be better for students, the commodity formed with other likeminded mentors, and the feeling after a student learns anything new—those never fade away.

It is where I am now, interning at the Boston Arts Academy, that I have grasped how adult roles in a classroom are imperative forces needed to replace failure with success in schools and communities.

The “have-to,” “need-to,” and “musts” were once terms that I associated with the pressures of educating children (i.e. having to lesson plan, needing to schedule a parent conference, must help a student pass, etc.).

However, it was being a corps member, and now a student teacher, that I get to lesson plan, I get to schedule a parent conference, and I get to help a student pass. I learned about that outlook as a corps member, I am tested to uphold this outlook as an educator, and I hope to share this outlook with anyone who feels honored enriching a child’s life.

How do you help positively impact students in your community?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashley Wakefield permalink
    May 8, 2012 11:14 pm

    Yeah Kevin Dua!! You’ll be such a fantastic teacher…

  2. May 8, 2012 11:28 pm

    @ Ashley – Cosign!

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