Jonny found his internship when talking to Dr. Spencer, the head of the Education Department. He referred him to Breathrough Collaborative, which is a nationwide program. Jonny looked at the different cities that the program was located in and narrowed his search down to what would be financially reasonable and most interesting to him. He eventually applied to the program in Atlanta, GA and was accepted. A typical day at Jonny’s internship involved getting to the school at 7:30 am, greeting the students, teaching English and Language Arts to 14-15 rising 9th graders. He also had a planning period, and later taught a high school readiness class to the same group of students. After lunch, Jonny ran an elective class, and would then attend an all-school meeting at the end of the day.
Jonny was able to directly apply the various ideologies and pedagogies learned in his Education courses at Ursinus. He also used skills from his English courses, as he was also able to teach and demonstrate his analytical and close reading skills to students. Although Jonny has one semester left at Ursinus, he has realized that teaching is one of his passions. He is interested in finding classes that will broaden his academic specialties and wants to learn various pedagogies from as many different professors as possible.
To Jonny, communication, teamwork, and quantitative skills were all important to his internship experience. He had to work with a co-advisor and co-taught the high-school readiness class and had to collaborate to design lesson plans. Another big learning point was gathering quantitative data in an educational setting, learning how to give formative assessments, meet Georgia’s state standards, and track progress for individual students as well as the whole class. Jonny noted that one of his internship goals was to be immersed in a new environment, especially a new cultural environment, since teachers do much more than just teach. It was important for him to show his culture, but also learn and immerse himself into a new culture and community as well.
Before his internship, Jonny had a rough idea of what he wanted to do after graduation, but it wasn’t until after his internship that his love of teaching was reinforced. He notes that the most challenging part of his experience was having independence. There was lots of lesson planning, meetings with his instructional coach and department, and balancing everything with his personal, social, and emotional needs. Despite this challenge, Jonny notes that the coolest part of his experience was at a field day during the last week of the program. He recalls that lots of the students were really into it, and he could tell that his energy and presence meant a lot to the students. For him, it was cool to see the connections that he worked hard on form into meaningful relationships.
A fact that Jonny learned during his internship is that Atlanta, GA is much hotter than people think.
Written by Alexa Alessandrini ’24