Ashley Highsmith Reflects: Q&A With Past Teaching Fellow

Ashley Highsmith co-taught ninth grade at H.S. AII in Manhattan.

Q&A with Ashley Highsmith

1. Why did you apply for the fellowship, and how did your experience align with your motivations?

I applied for the fellowship because I have a passion to work with kids. I was already employed as a special education aide working with students with autism at my local school district but I wanted to see if I truly wanted to be a teacher. 

2. How did training/PMP prepare you for the classroom?

Ashley Highsmith, Teaching Fellow

PMP training and my experience as a Teaching Fellow helped me TREMENDOUSLY! At first, I thought that a week of training wouldn't be enough, but with my past experiences and the wonderful PMP instructors, it was more than enough. From lesson planning to enrichment activities, you get a feel for everything that you will need to excel in the program! It definitely serves its purpose! Coming back home, I still use some of the techniques and lesson strategies that I learned over the summer with PMP. 

3. What did you learn about yourself, the teaching profession, or the communities we serve?

I learned how STRONG my passion for teaching was. There wasn't one student that I didn't want the best for. I would find myself spending extra time talking to students about their day and what they needed to work on. I also learned the teaching profession is not for the weak: you have to dedicate yourself to it fully. If you are choosing this life, know that you will get attached! As for the communities that PMP served, I would say I learned to check my privilege at the door (Thanks to my instructors Lauren and Sarah!) Know that you are coming as a service to these amazing kids. Don't feel entitled; connect with them so that they can open up to you. 

4. What was the most valuable experience you had over the summer?

The relationships I built were the most valuable to me. I built amazing relationships with my Teaching Coach (Hi Ben!) and my FANTASTIC co-teacher, Max! Also, of course, my mentors and students. I couldn't ask for a better experience with the PMP program.

5. What are your future goals and plans?

After doing PMP this summer I am certain that my future goals and plans include helping students reach their maximum potential! 

If you’re interested in changing a life this summer as a Teaching Fellow, click here for more information and to apply!