Caroline Dosky ’12, MAT ’13 and Jordunn Joubert ’13 have been accepted to the highly competitive and selective Teach for America program. After graduation, the William Smith students will be placed by Teach for America to work in high-poverty public schools throughout the country. In the past decade, more than 30 HWS students have been accepted to the program.
Chosen from thousands of applicants, the women underwent a rigorous selection process that included a lengthy application, a presentation of a lesson plan, a personal interview, a written test and a monitored group discussion with several other applicants.
Dosky, a dance education and psychology double major, will begin her two-year Teach for America term in Boston.
“I grew up in a town with great teachers and great schools, and I realized at a certain point that because of my zip code, I had a very different outlook on education than others,” says Dosky, who hopes to use her time with Teach for America to foster academic excitement. “I want to inspire these kids to have long-term goals – to dream big, and to see college as a real possibility.”
Although Teach for America doesn’t require applicants to have teaching experience, as part of the Colleges’ Master’s in Teaching program, Dosky has had not only technical knowledge of lesson planning, but also experience in the classroom. This semester, she spent seven weeks teaching at Geneva’s North Street School, and another seven at the Red Jacket Education Center in Shortsville.
While preparing for the application process, Dosky reached out to fellow alums who are currently serving with the organization for advice. “They were incredibly helpful and honest with me,” says Dosky. The alums gave her helpful tips, and also discussed the most rewarding parts of their work.
Already, Dosky has reached out to numerous colleges and universities, requesting brochures. With hopes of amassing enough pamphlets from across the country to fill a cardboard box, Dosky plans to keep the box as a permanent fixture at the front of her classroom.
“While my parents encouraged me to go to college, a lot of students don’t have that at home,” Dosky explains. She believes long term goals are important in inspiring a passion for learning. “I want them to know what it takes – what the requirements are – and also the variety of schools out there.”
Dosky also sees her time with Teach for America as a chance to gain new perspectives for her future goal working in policy. “This is a great opportunity to gain a better sense of what I want to do in education, to gain a sense of what problems exist in the education system – and figure out what I can do about them,” says Dosky.
Jouberta, also a dance education and psychology double major, will spend her next two years with Teach for America in Houston, Texas, instructing middle school students.
“Middle school is a very important time for developing better reading and writing skills,” says Joubert of her placement. “There are literacy gaps in schools in socio-economic areas like the school I will be serving in – and I want to bridge these gaps.”
While Joubert plans on studying education policy in graduate school following her Teach for America experience, she has a keen interest in the program and its mission. An alumna of Miss Porter’s Preparatory School as well an alumna of a KIPP school, Joubert has had the opportunity to work as a substitute teacher for students at the ninth grade level in a KIPP charter school. She sees hands-on experience as essential to understanding the struggles of students and schools alike.
Although she had initially planned to head straight to graduate school following graduation, Joubert decided to change paths when she considered the impact she was having on others. “I wanted to be able to say I was making a difference – without hesitation.”
Joubert is excited to work to make a difference in the lives of her students, instilling confidence and strong problem solving skills in order to prepare them for high school and college. “It can be intimidating to submit an essay, to essentially say ‘This is who I am’ on paper. In the case of something like an application, schools only have that one glimpse of you,” says Joubert. “I want my students to develop confidence as readers and writers.”
In preparation for her placement, Joubert has been in contact with Houston-area teachers and Teach for America members. “It’s incredible to see all of the people reaching out to support me,” explains Joubert. “Not only from Corps members, but from parents and other teachers – everyone is trying to make sure everything is going well. The support system is so strong – these are truly dedicated individuals.”
Both women will undergo a month-long training process this summer before beginning their terms as teachers. Another round of applications for Teach for America is now underway, with several Hobart and William Smith students submitting their candidacy.