ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Kendra Cohen
Why have you decided to teach?
I love my content, and I love helping students understand the world around them! Social Studies does just that.
What subject(s) and grade level(s) do you teach?
I'm currently in my first year teaching ninth-grade Human Geography.
What inspired you to select the school or program you chose?
I chose my school because I wanted to work in an innovative school environment. DSISD (Denver School for Innovation and Sustainable Design) provides that environment. It also allows me a lot of creative freedom with my curriculum. I got lucky with my student teaching. I found such an innovative environment, and a full-time teaching role happened to appear the next year. Your student teaching placement is very important for deciding your full-time placement.
What did you learn from the job process? Were you asked to submit performance tasks, teach demo lessons, or answer unexpected questions?
Kendra: Most places will ask you to do a demo lession. This is super crucial, and it really should show off your strongest teaching abilities, as well as your ability to strengthen their model. Often, you will have to complete a writing sample and a few rounds of interviews. Sometimes you do interviews with students! These were the hardest for me.
Do you have any advice for your Teaching Fellow colleagues?
Kendra: It's always going to be a roller coaster. Even as a more experienced teacher, I can never prepare you for that first year. I would say Generation Teach prepared me more than most graduate level teaching experiences! Also, do what you love to do! If you don't like how you're teaching, you won't teach it well.
What is your favorite memory from your summer with GT?
Kendra: In the last week, I asked my students to do an extended writing prompt. They have never done this, and I was very nervous. They had to use FIVE vocabulary works. One student, who had demonstrated some challenging behaviors sat down and wrote the most funny, interesting story using TWENTY vocabulary words! I didn't even know that he was listening. That was amazing, to know that he was incredibly creative and was listening the whole time!
What's happening in your life beyond your exciting new role?
Kendra: I just bought my first house with my parents' help, and I'm planning my first solo vacation to India to reward myself after a long first year of teaching.