Practice Makes Perfect is ecstatic that the hard work and dedication of one of our Teaching Fellows has paid off. Former Teaching Fellow, Benjamin Halter, and future graduate of Boston College, has been accepted to Teach For America where he will be teaching Secondary Humanities in the Greater Boston area! This summer was Ben’s first time leading a classroom, and the results from PMP were unanimous - he did a fantastic job as a teacher; which speaks volumes to his future career as a teacher with Teach for America. Program Director, Lauren Reilly, remembers him well, “I am excited for all Ben will achieve as a TFA corps member. From the very start of training, Ben dove right into learning the ‘secret sauce’ that makes a good teacher great. He was driven, willing to laugh at himself, and truly put his scholars first. We wish Ben good luck and know that he will change the lives of every student who steps foot in his classroom.”
PMP is very proud of Ben and his time with us, but we were very curious to know how Ben’s experience being a Teaching Fellow with PMP encouraged his decision to dedicate his career to educating and empowering youth. What’s a better way to find out than asking Ben himself? And here was his response:
Ben: “Practice Makes Perfect helped me fall in love with teaching and I know that it is one of the main reasons why I am where I am at today. I think one aspect that made Practice Makes Perfect such a powerful experience was that I was given my own classroom, which was incredible and an experience that I never had before, especially as a Film Studies major. I always thought about teaching as a profession, but I never truly knew what it would be like to to stand in front of a class and actually teach. I didn't know if it was something that I would actually enjoy, but PMP gave me the opportunity to figure that out.
During our Teaching Fellow training Lauren explained, "You have 5 weeks to give it your all -- helping scholars who would normally fall through the cracks. After this experience you will know for certain if you want to be an educator.” That resonated with me because I remember thinking that exact thing when I first got accepted into the program. That was the mentality that I went in with, I knew that PMP would be the deciding factor when trying to figure out my future, and ultimately, my life.
The training, the other teachers, and PMP staff were all critical parts of this experience. Getting my own classroom was incredible, but also terrifying. That's a lot of power and a huge amount of responsibility, but they do a really good job of preparing you in training. Lauren and the other staff were instrumental in that, but at the very core was the knowledge that there were four other Teaching Fellows at P.S. 55 who were going through the exact same thing that I was going through, that I could rely on for support and help.
It was much more than the classroom, of course, it was the school too. I worked alongside one of the best teachers at P.S. 55, Mrs. Santiago, she was incredible. I learned so much from her about what it means to be a teacher, and what a really good teacher looks like. The principal, Mr. Torres, also had a profound impact on me. I remember him saying the first day that we met with him, “there is no such thing as bad students, these are all beautiful students some just come from difficult situations,” this was a message that I carried with me throughout my experience.
Of course though, at the end of the day it's all about the scholars. It's funny because you always hear about how you'll learn more from them, than they will from you -- and it's true. They taught me and showed me just how much I loved teaching. It is not any easy profession and I hesitate to even say that because I don't even think that I truly experienced what it means to be a teacher. It was exhausting, but I'd get there and every morning and they'd all come in ready to learn and that gave me all of the energy that I needed.
Practice Makes Perfect honestly made me fall in love with teaching because it actually gave me the opportunity to fall in love, everything was there and in place it was just up to me to see if it was something that I truly loved. It sounds cliche and dumb and funny, but it's the truth.
Next year I am fortunate enough to be teaching with Teach For America in the Greater Boston Area which is an experience that I am so excited for. I will have the opportunity to continue doing something that I am truly passionate about, something that I love, and I will, hopefully, develop into an even better teacher. An opportunity that is rooted in my experience with PMP.”
Practice Makes Perfect believes that Teach for America and The Greater Boston Area are lucky to have Benjamin as a teacher, he’s truly going to make a difference in the classroom and within the lives of his students. We are excited to follow his career and see how much he accomplishes from here. PMP wishes the best for everyone involved in our program, from our scholars, to our mentors, to our Teaching Fellows and Coaches, and our PMP staff. We hope that there are many other success stories like Ben’s for the future members of our program.
If you want a great story similar to Ben's, apply to be a Teaching Fellow with PMP! practicemakesperfect.org/summer