Our final interview for teacher appreciation week is with Sarah Szymborski. Sarah is City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member and serves at James Madison Academic Campus. City Year is an education non profit that partners with Milwaukee Public Schools. Corps members, like Sarah, provide high-impact individual, classroom and school-wide support to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college for career success.
Sarah graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with an English degree. After receiving her bachelor’s, she was hired on with City Year to work at JMAC. She had always wanted to become a teacher, but because she wasn’t ready to dive into UW-Parkside’s recently renewed education program, she stuck with an English degree to pursue a Masters in education later on in life. She knew working for City Year she would have an outlet she could use to gain the experience she needed in teaching without having that education degree.
Being an English major, Sarah works primarily with 9th-grade students within their English classes. She has a list of students who she works with individually to get them up to 900 minutes of “dosage,” or tutoring hours. She creates her lessons targeted towards what they are learning within their classes. She also focuses on teaching them strategies that will help them beyond freshmen year, like studying habits and ways to remember what they are reading.
The biggest challenge Sarah encounters within her position is instilling how important education is to her students. She is always reminding students why it’s critical to get an education and how far they can get in life if they have one. She told us that a lot of her job is motivating students to put their best foot forward within their educational careers.
When asked what her favorite aspect of her job was, the biggest smile came to Sarah’s face.
“My students are the best people. Whenever I’m having a bad day, they make me smile or laugh”, Sarah said, “I come to school for them, not me. This is all for them. My students are amazing”.
It was very clear how much Sarah loves teaching her students and building relationships with them.
Part of Sarah’s job is to run sessions where she is teaching her students from her focus lists, strategies to help them throughout high school and beyond. At the end of one her sessions, she realized how much her student comprehended what she was teaching, and the student was able to use it themselves to help with their schoolwork.
“When I can see my students apply what I have taught them, it’s insane,” Sarah said. “It’s a surreal feeling.”
Sarah’s favorite part about being an Educators Credit Union member is knowing that her money is safe and secure. She also noted that she has never had a bad experience and the employees are always courteous, respectful and knowledgeable.
Educators Credit Union encourages you to reach out to your teachers and thank them for all that they do. If you are looking for a creative way to show your teachers appreciation, head over to the Educators’ Pinterest page and check out the teacher appreciation board.