What inspired you to join the corps in 2011?
First and foremost, education is the primary reason why my parents immigrated to this country – they wanted their kids to be educated here. Growing up, education was a high priority and I always knew I wanted to serve underserved students. In college, I was in a psychology major track, and I heard about TFA from another student. At the end of the day, I decided I wanted to serve students of color and students from low-income families – students who were like me. I immediately said yes.
Why do you continue to teach at your placement school year after year?
I went to a hiring fair, and I remember that my placement school was an empty table. I spoke with my (now) principal and Assistant Principal and felt a real connection to them. The school serves a community similar to my own - I grew up in Sunset Park. I’ve helped grow our school. Our school community is over 40% of Arab ethnicity which is similar to my own background. I teach a wide range of students with various learning styles. This includes students who are in the IB program, English Language Learners, and of course my amazing students with IEPs.. Although there are various challenges that any educator would have, the reward is always better.
What advice would you give to current corps members?
Never give up. Each day is a new day. There are always going to be challenges that get in the way, but at the end of the day, perseverance is the most important. If you know why you are teaching, then let that help you wake up every day with a smile on your face.
What has revolutionized your teaching practice?
Professional development. Each year, I make it my duty to participate in a fellowship that allows me to explore a problem of practice in a community of learning. My first one was the New Visions Living Environment Fellowship. Then I was a Stanford Hollyhock fellow. Now, I’m part of NYU’s Science Education Innovators.
Tell us about the award that you won!
Someone from NYU’s Sci.Ed. fellowship nominated me for the National Science Teacher’s Association award, which is given to seven educators of color nationwide recognizing their service and commitment to science education in high priority urban areas.
What beliefs have deepened through your experience in teaching?
I believe education is an essential tool for flourishing. As a teacher, you can never stop learning. If I expect my students to broaden their knowledge outside of the classroom, I should maintain my integrity by doing the same thing. Each year, I participate in something to help me grow; and then each year, we can help other educators and students to grow.