Sheera is a City Year Seattle/King County alumna (‘11 & ‘12) currently living in California. She is approaching the end of her first year as a Teach for America Corps Member, and has been teaching 2nd grade at Richmond College Prep Charter School. Sheera took time out of her busy last week of school to fill us in on her life after City Year.
How did your time in City Year help prepare you for this year?
My time as a City Year corps member had a huge impact on my work as a teacher. It shaped a large part of the vision I had for my classroom; from how to incorporate small group work to cultural pieces like sharing joys and ripples. In City Year, you have the opportunity to experience the classroom from the student’s perspective and you are quite aware of individual moods, struggles, and strengths. Now, as a teacher in front of a full class of 28 students, it can be challenging to take it all in. I constantly think back to my time as a corps member, and it reminds me to stop and reflect on the individual needs of my students and how their perspective of a particular lesson or activity might look.
Reflecting upon another challenging/crazy year, what is it that inspires you to continue teaching?
One of the biggest joys for me as a teacher is when a student gains self-confidence in their abilities. In City Year and as a teacher, it was hard to see students doubt themselves or be scared of the possibility of failure. When you can help students find confidence in themselves it is truly rewarding, because they begin to see that their aspirations are within reach. I think my time in City Year helps ground me to the humanity of the work. When I get caught up in lesson planning, work for grad school, and copier machine problems, I can remember what was so inspiring in the first place: the relationships with my students and seeing them begin to believe in their own capabilities.
City Year Seattle/King County's 2014 corps just graduated on June 20, do you have a message for them?
Congratulations and thank you for your service! You have played an integral part in preparing your students for success. Whatever you choose to do in the future, take what you have learned in City Year with you, it truly is a memorable experience.