This Memphis Native Felt Called to Serve Her Hometown
January 13, 2020
This interview with Breunna Lovett (Memphis '18) is part of a series called Corps Questions. Each story will shine the spotlight on a Memphis corps member and dig into the lessons they've learned, advice they have, and what keeps them fighting for educational equity. Read more from the series—in this conversation, Spanish teacher Ali Della Volpe (Memphis '18) talks about how she uses language to build relationships with her students
What have you learned about yourself in your time being a teacher?
Breunna: In my time as a teacher, I've learned that everything is a learning experience and it is okay to take risks. As teachers we must do what is necessary to ensure that our students are confident individuals. I've also learned so much from just interacting with my students each day.
How do you involve families in your students' education?
Breunna: My classroom demographics are very diverse. Whenever a holiday or special events come up, I partner with families to infuse their own culture and traditions. We all look forward to these events and learn so much about each other's traditions. I emphasize inclusiveness so both my students and I can learn about all of the different types of people that make up our community.
If someone were to come into your classroom, what would they see?
Breunna: I’ve tried to create a space for my students that doesn’t just aid in their learning, but also makes them feel safe. My goal is that all of my students become confident readers, writers and speakers. We recite the "Goal Song" daily! It prepares them for the day and ensures they can tackle any obstacle.
I’m also looking for my students to become leaders. I believe that student leadership means taking charge. I give each of my students the opportunity to lead class activities, have a turn at leading our class goal song, and then reflect on how it felt to lead the class.
What is the biggest challenge facing your students?
Breunna: The biggest challenge I am facing is providing exposure to my students. A lot of my students have little to no awareness for life outside of their neighborhood. When possible, I look for affordable field trips to take them outside of their confined space, and I reach out to guests of different careers that can come to my school.
“I emphasize inclusiveness so both my students and I can learn about all of the different types of people that make up our community.”
What is the biggest advice would you share with people who are interested in becoming teachers?
Breunna: I suggest coming in ready to learn just as much as you are ready to teach. This adventure has been so rewarding as I have grown as a teacher. Allow yourself to invest in self-care. It's okay to say no to things that hinder your morals, motivation, and time.
What can we find you doing in your free time?
Breunna: Teaching can be a stressful job, so it’s important for me to practice self-care. I spend a lot of time with other educators reading, meditating, or just hanging out. I’m also a big fan of eating at Sunrise Memphis and taking advantage of all of the outdoor space at Shelby Farms Park.