August 8, 2018

Meet E4E-New York’s 2018 Summer Residents!

Five E4E-New York members spent their summer working on exciting projects and moving the work of our chapter forward while school is out. Learn more below about our residents and how their projects in stakeholder relationships, community partnerships, fundraising, organizing, and social media are helping to elevate the teaching profession.

Juvanee Bedminister, a former New York City Teaching Fellow, recently completed her ninth year as a teacher.
Thomas Mets, a St. John’s graduate, is a second year Literacy and Social Studies teacher at M.S. 390 in the Bronx, N.Y.
Candra McKenzie is a former New York City Teaching Fellow, now in her twelfth year of teaching English as a New Language at City Polytechnic High School in downtown Brooklyn, N.Y.
April Rose is a former New York City Teaching Fellow and 16-year veteran elementary school teacher working at Springfield Garden in Queens, N.Y.
Brielle Welch, a recent Teachers College, Columbia University graduate, completed her first year of teaching second grade at Thurgood Marshall Academy Lower School in Harlem, N.Y. in June.
Check out a video of our Summer Residents!

What has been your biggest your accomplishment in the classroom?
Juvanee Bedminister: I would say my biggest accomplishment in the classroom is getting students to understand they can learn anything that they want. I like to empower them and get them to discover things on their own.

Thomas Mets: My biggest accomplishment in the classroom has been preparing students to be successful with their school work. One of the things I pride myself on is getting them comfortable with the types of questions and work they’ll be asked to do.

Candra McKenzie: My biggest accomplishment in the classroom has been when students struggle with a difficult book such as Shakespeare and can connect to its language and universal themes.

April Rose: My biggest accomplishment in the classroom, I would say, is being able to tackle handling various types of students.

Brielle Welch: My biggest accomplishment of the year were the very good relationships I built with my students.
Why did you join Educators for Excellence?
Juvanee Bedminister: I joined Educators for4 Excellence two years ago. I was looking for an organization that supported my vision and is aligned with my views on education, which is teacher voice and equity.

Thomas Mets: I joined Educators for Excellence because I think they have an important goal - getting the views of teachers into the hands of legislators and helping them move public policy.

Candra McKenzie: I joined Educators for Excellence because I was curious as to how a non-profit organization was helping teacher voices become more elevated in different spaces.

April Rose: I joined Educators for Excellence because I was at a burnout state of mind, and the information they were relaying to my staff and I seemed very relevant. Specifically, I was drawn to their belief in the strength of our teacher voice. I had not heard that approach to educators before.

Brielle Welch: I joined Educators for Excellence because they came at a point in my year, the spring, when I was bogged down, overwhelmed, and it was testing time. To see an organization that was working to not only give teachers agency amongst policy makers, but were really trying to engage the everyday teachers who have access to the classroom and then give them access to these decision makers was really powerful. I wanted to be a part of that.
So far, what has the summer residency taught you?
Thomas Mets: During the summer residency, I think it taught me a little about the resources at our disposal, at Educators for Excellence, and the ways to help connect Educators for Excellence with teachers.

Candra McKenzie: The summer residency for Educators for Excellence has taught me the inner workings of a non-profit organization and the hard work that goes into it.

April Rose: I’ve been with E4E since the beginning when we first started on 39th street. So just to see where the organization started from and where it has been, where it has gone, and where I feel it will continue to go, has just been really great for me.

Brielle Welch: So far the summer residency has taught me about how grounded Educators for Excellence is. I really appreciate the fact the people that work here have their own stories as educators from the classroom, and that they put a lot of emphasis on connecting and building relationships with other teachers.
E4E-New York is working on the impact of teacher training policies, any advice to new teachers who are still navigating the waters of the classroom?
Juvanee Bedminister: The advice I would give to new teachers is to know you are not going to be perfect your first year and it actually takes, at least, 3-5 years to become decent.

Thomas Mets: I think one bit of advice I would give is to find out immediately what resources are available.

Candra McKenzie: As someone who was once a Teaching Fellow, I know it can be extremely intense. I will also emphasize the importance of having a veteran teacher at your side. If it wasn’t for the veteran teachers, and I will say the veteran teachers of color I had, I would not still be in the classroom.

April Rose: DON’T GIVE UP! It takes hard work, but just stick with it because the fruits of your good hard work that you have done - you will see them eventually.

Brielle Welch: Advice to new teachers: this idealism, this drive, this passion that drove you to get into education--our society will try and take it from you because we are in a place where our society doesn’t value new ideas about equity or change or anything that seems scary and unfamiliar. The work we do everyday with our students is fulfilling enough and the idealism you have and the drive you have is enough.