ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Devon Tomasi
Why have you decided to teach?
I have decided to teach because it is a career that allows me to push myself and learn every single day from my students and colleagues. After my summer at GT, I realized that I have never wanted to be great at something as much as I want to become a great teacher. Every time I walked into my classroom, I strove to be the best I could possibly be for my kids, and grew immensely as both an educator and person as a result. The relationships I was able to form with my students while teaching, talking, and even from afar were some of the deepest relationships I have experienced. When you are a teacher, you put so much of yourself into your work and receive so much more in return. Seeing your students succeed, develop confidence, and enrich others’ understandings in their own unique way is worth every minute. I will never stop pushing myself to grow and be the teacher every one of my students deserves.
What position have you accepted and where?
I have accepted the position of an Associate Upper Elementary School Teacher at Brooke Charter Schools.
What stuck out to you about the program you picked?
Brooke offers the opportunity to spend a year observing, training, and learning from a wide variety of teachers and students. Over the course of the year, as you develop teaching and leadership skills, Associate Teachers gradually take on more responsibilities in the classroom. The goal of the program is to adequately prepare new teachers to lead their own classrooms at Brooke following their first year. Brooke’s philosophy is all about understanding, developing, and supporting great teaching in order to close the achievement gap. Much like Generation Teach, each Associate Teacher has a Mentor Teacher and frequent growth conferences. The school also encourages collaboration and support among teachers and is constantly adapting its methods of professional development to reflect the most current education research. I cannot wait to be part of a community that is so united in its passion for closing the achievement gap and giving each student the opportunity for truly deep and meaningful learning experiences.
What are you most excited about?
Devon: I am most excited to teach Math lessons at Brooke! I absolutely love how they focus on mutual discovery rather than the procedural programming that unfortunately occurs in so many Math classes.
Do you have any advice for your GT colleagues?
Devon: In every interview I had with Brooke, I was asked about why I was passionate about working in urban education, and specifically with a population of students of color or from low-income backgrounds. Additionally, I was asked what strengths and weaknesses I would bring to the profession as a middle class white teacher. I believe these questions were the most important to the hiring committee and I would encourage my TF colleagues to engage with them fully before interviews at any teaching program, as they are incredibly complex and pertinent. Having self-awareness about where you are coming from and what you can or cannot give to your students is the first step in becoming the best teacher you can be for them.
What is your favorite memory from your summer with GT?
Devon: I had one student this summer who confided in me on the first day of class that she had almost failed her Math class the previous school year, and had always hated the subject. My favorite memory was when she came up to me on the last day of Summer Academy, after a month of her hard work, and told me excitedly that she had changed her mind, and no longer hated Math, but loved it!