Kudos to Sujee Park (Denver, '15). She recently accepted a position as a 9th-grade algebra teacher with a GT partner school, STRIVE Prep RISE, in Denver.
Why have you decided to teach?
SP: Teaching with GT was the first time I ever loved a job. I didn't know if I could handle jumping right into my own classroom next year, but STRIVE has many supports like GT (coaching and collaborating)-- I felt it would be a perfect first teaching job. It's funny because I didn't realize how much I want to teach until interviewing with STRIVE. When I was interviewing, I remembered how much I grew and how much passion I had for teaching last summer. I can't believe I was ever looking at data analyst jobs.
Why did you choose STRIVE? What support will you receive as a first year teacher?
SP: I chose this school because I really respect the principal. 2016-2017 will be the founding year of RISE. As part of the founding staff, I'll help create the culture of the school. STRIVE focuses on teacher collaboration, and I will be working with an experienced math teacher. I will get coached regularly and will definitely use my GT support system too!
What are you most excited about?
SP: I am so excited to be in the classroom again and have a positive influence on 9th graders! I'm excited to create a classroom environment where all students feel comfortable to try their best.
What did you learn from the job process? Were you asked to submit performance tasks, teach demo lessons, or answer unexpected questions?
SP: I went through two rounds of interviews. The first round was online. I was given questions and answered them on the spot while being video recorded. During the second round, I planned a lesson and taught in front of administrators. I then participated in a coaching session and final interview. I felt very prepared because STRIVE is similar to GT; I was able to impress them with my Do Now and Exit Ticket. What made me feel most confident walking into the interview was that I had a lot of questions for the principal. It showed how much I cared and how much I learned from GT.
Do you have any advice for your GT colleagues?
SP: I feel really lucky to have found this job, and I think a lot of it was timing. Meeting the principal before I applied made a big difference. Take advantage of opportunities like employment nights and GT coach/director connections. The GT directors and coaches will be a good resources when going through the interview process. When I encounter struggles as a new teacher, I'll will definitely use that support!
What is your favorite memory from GT?
SP: I still have all of the kudos notes my students gave me on the last day of academy. They're hanging on my wall and reading them really boosts my confidence! Remembering my first group of students will always put a smile on my face.